The HR Specialist

Q. We hire seasonal temps and have them sign a policy that says their employment will end at a certain date. We’re aware of the unemployment responsibilities that come with being the last employer on record. If temps are hired with 1099 status, will our company still be responsible as the last employer on record and held liable for unemployment benefits? If we use a temp agency, are we liable? –B.B., New York

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Q. If an employee calls off intermittently for migraine headaches, how can we verify the real reason for the leave? Can we ask for information each time the employee is absent? —J.M., Illinois

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The so-called paperless society ushered in by the computer age may mean fewer file cabinets and storage rooms full of paper records, but storing company records on hard drives has its own set of problems …

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Whenever one of your employees files a discrimination claim, you now need to be ultracautious about making any changes to that employee’s job. That’s because almost any change—including lateral transfers with the same pay and title—can now be deemed an illegal "adverse employment action" by the court …

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Rather than print out paper versions for each new employee, some employers have begun creating electronic-only employee handbooks. With each new hire, HR simply points the person to the online handbook, and tells him or her to read it and sign an acknowledgment form. Online handbooks cut costs and make it easier to amend your policies. But such a strategy could be legally risky …

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Your organization’s investment in its mobile work force—from flight costs to technology to relocation fees—can far exceed the cost of an employee’s benefits package. Still, many employers manage mobile workers in a fragmented and inconsistent way, which hurts efficiency and expenses …

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Employee benefits are, in many cases, a lot like other pieces of an organization’s culture: They’re there because, well, they’ve always been there. But in these days of constantly rising health insurance costs, employers can’t afford to keep providing benefits just because that’s the way they’ve done things in the past, said Gary Kushner, president of Kushner & Co. benefits consulting firm …

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Former IBM Corp. chairman Lou Gerstner urged HR professionals to carve out time in their busy schedules to think about (and plan for) big-picture changes at their organizations …

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Employee discipline, above all else, must be consistent. When it’s not, mistakes put employers at risk of messy discrimination claims …

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Employers used to train their workers to prepare for upcoming promotions. Nowadays, more companies invest time and resources in full-scale succession planning for their high-potential employees …

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