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Pat DiDomenico

As the economy slowly gains strength, so do pay increases doled out by U.S. employers. Employers, on average, anticipate increasing employee salaries by 2.9% in 2014, a marginal boost from 2.8% this year. But more employers are focusing bigger raise dollars on their top-performing employees.

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The HR Soapbox hit the road again this summer for the annual Society for Human Resource Management conference, this year in Chicago. Here are some lessons learned …

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If your organization uses interns—or plans to do so—take note of this month’s ruling in the closely watched “Black Swan” case. A federal court in New York said Fox Searchlight Pictures violated wage-and-hour laws by failing to pay interns who did menial tasks during production of the Oscar-nominated movie “Black Swan.” The case is a timely reminder that, in almost all cases, employers must pay interns at least the minimum wage, no matter how basic their work is.

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Studies show that as the temperature rises, the potential for employment law problems heats up in the workplace. What should employers do? Here’s a five-point to-do list for summer …

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When some older workers hear the word “slow,” they may immediately assume that’s a code word for “old.” But as a new court ruling shows, if you have employees who can’t meet the job’s required—and preferably written—performance levels, you’re not required to keep them on staff, regardless of their ages.  Here’s how to handle this legally tricky situation …

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Why do your employees leave? Amid the typical 3M reasons—money, motivation and manager quality—employers often miss out on a simple, no-cost way to keep employees happy and on the farm. How? Communicate your promotion policy and announce when workers are promoted.

Unless employees can see and understand the path to promotion at your organization, they’re more likely to seek advancement outside of your walls. Use these 5 guidelines to create announcements that provide concrete examples of what employees must do to get promoted …

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First impressions are important. But when it comes to preventing employment lawsuits, it’s typically the last impression that employees have at work that matters most. “This is why 90% of people come to our office. It’s the way they’re treated on the way out the door,” said noted plaintiffs’ attorney, Randy Freking, of Freking & Betz in Cincinnati, during last week’s LEAP conference.

As Freking puts it, a lot of juries seem to live by the motto of “If it seems unfair, there must be something there.” Here are the most common errors he sees employers making in the termiantion process …

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Have you ever been frustrated that your CEO doesn’t seem to care about the FLSA, FMLA, ADA or any other of those magic compliance acronyms? What if the boss gets tired of your helpful suggestions and decides to send you packing? As the following court ruling shows, if you are fired for insisting that the company comply with anti-discrimination laws, you can likely sue for retaliation or whistleblower violations …

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Annually on March 15 (the “Ides of March”) we are reminded of the betrayal suffered by Julius Caesar at the hands of Brutus. But backstabbing didn’t end with the fall of the Roman Empire. Less dramatic (and less fatal) versions of betrayal play out in workplaces across the country everyday. Here are four characteristics that typify the common office betrayer, plus tips on how to handle the silent killer, gossip …

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That old stalwart of HR paperwork—the I-9 Form—got its much-anticipated facelift. On March 8, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new version of the Employment Eligibility Verification Form. The USCIS is giving employers 60 days to put the form in action, until May 7, 2013.

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