Alexander Hamilton Institute

The questions surrounding who is exempt and who is non-exempt from overtime obligations under the FLSA have spurred hundreds of class action lawsuits costing employers hundreds of millions of dollars in monetary damages. Employers must struggle with understanding the different types of exemptions as well as what actions can jeopardize those exemptions, and what the overtime ramifications of misclassification can be.

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Employee lawsuits often use personnel files as evidence of wrongdoing by employers. Among the critical HR record-keeping issues involving personnel files are what to include in an employee file, what to maintain in separate files, and how long to retain different types of information.

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Besides their obvious purpose of identifying work to be performed, well-written job descriptions are integral in recruiting and interviewing prospective employees, rating job performance, classifying employees as exempt or non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), meting out discipline, and making promotion and compensation decisions.

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Being in HR requires the ability to maintain confidentiality. This can be challenging if you do not have an office with a door that you can close and lock. Here are some ways you can overcome the challenges of working in a cubicle.

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If they could choose one management function to avoid, many managers would choose disciplining employees. In today’s litigious society, individuals don’t think twice about seeking solace in court for perceived inequities, so many employment lawsuits are filed by employees who believe they were disciplined unfairly.

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An employee complains that her co-worker’s inappropriate comments and behavior make her uncomfortable. You receive an anonymous letter from an employee accusing a colleague of misconduct. What do you do next in all these instances? Investigate. Investigate. Investigate.

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When you think rewards that retain employees, you might see dollar signs—lots of them. But keeping morale high doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are plenty of low-cost or even no-cost perks you can offer to help keep employees engaged and committed.

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Although the managerial mistakes that have created HR headaches and triggered employee lawsuits are countless, here are the most common managerial moves at the heart of employers’ legal woes:

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Inclement weather brings with it all sorts of problems for employers, such as employees with child care concerns because of closed schools, tricky road conditions, office closings and cold weather safety. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst with these workplace pointers.

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Company policies lay the foundation on which employment expectations are formed, and thus, workplace actions are taken. A missing phrase here, an undefined term there can spell policy disaster. There’s no time like the present to audit your organization’s policy handbook. Four policy writing traps:

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