The HR Specialist

Issue: You can use Adobe Acrobat’s PDF Creator to convert old typewritten forms to digital ones.
Benefit: Save time (for you, employees and applicants), save paper and impress the boss …

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If you treat employees as if they’re disabled, they’ll garner ADA protections even if they’re healthy as horses. Wait for skills testing and medical results to determine an employee’s condition; don’t make snap judgments …

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Each year, several respected organizations rate the top HR technology, software and Web-based products. But it’s difficult to know which products are best because no two rating systems are the same, and they’re often contradictory …

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Soaring health costs are forcing many small firms to shift more cost burden to employees or drop coverage. But be aware that many companies are taking a third option: offering a limited medical health insurance plan (or "mini med") that provides bare-bones health coverage …

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Q. Are we required to let terminated employees come in and view their actual personnel files, or can we copy the information and send it via mail? One of our fired employees has hired an attorney and wants to see her file. —T.M. California

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Q. An employee told us he has a bad hernia. He wants to wait a couple months to have the operation, since it requires six weeks’ recovery. He does some lifting in his job. Yesterday, he had to go home early because he was in pain. Now that we are aware of his condition, what’s our liability? And what should we do? —D.C., New Jersey

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Can you probe into employees’ conditions when they’re returning from medical leave? If you ask too many questions of such workers (or erect too many roadblocks to their return), you’ll risk a lawsuit. Use your right to medical certification appropriately, but don’t go overboard …

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More retail superstores are adding low-cost medical clinics to their in-store services. Employers can use these "doc-in-a-box" services for low-cost employee preventive and wellness care. Check to see if a local clinic is opening, then consider this as part of a cost-cutting solution, not a cure …

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If your evaluation procedures are too complicated, employees may question whether they’re being treated fairly. Mild suspicions can quickly grow into expensive discrimination lawsuits, as a new court ruling shows …

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Employers host employee-recognition events throughout the year, but the second Friday in March (March 10 this year) is the official Employee Appreciation Day, according to the Society for Human Resource Management …

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