The HR Specialist

Unions are dead. You may have been hearing that for years. But radical reforms by the labor movement have added new energy to its organizing efforts …

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Don’t write off employee training just because your training budget is somewhere between slim and none. You might think affordable (or free) training is hard to come by, but that’s not true, says Linda Newell, director of learning and development for Policy Studies Inc. …

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When the threat of an employee lawsuit looms, most employers are advised to take a tough stance, fight the charges and never admit guilt. But some attorneys now advocate that an often-overlooked option of simply saying "I’m sorry" in certain situations may actually soothe feelings and even defuse legal action …

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Even though some provisions of the new landmark pension law don’t take effect for 16 months, HR professionals need to start educating themselves immediately. The changes amount to the most sweeping reforms of pension law in more than 30 years …

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With more organizations reaching their tentacles into far-flung places, HR is being called to respond. Key indicator: Employers are spending more time searching for talent, specifically people who can and will work and succeed in other countries …

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A reader of our weekly e-mail newsletter, The HR Specialist Weekly, recently posed this question: “How do you let other employees know when you’ve fired someone?” Following are some of the responses from other readers …

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Companies led by CEOs with military experience have outperformed the S&P 500 Index over the past three-, five- and 10-year periods by as much as 20 percentage points, according to a study by executive search firm Korn/Ferry International …

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“If I had known I was going to be in HR so long, I would have started to get serious about the profession sooner.” Noted HR expert Michael R. Losey says he’s heard this story a number of times. His advice: Get serious about your career now, before it’s too late.

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The EEOC has provided more legal cover for employers that actively recruit older applicants and offer better perks to their older employees. New proposed EEOC regulations, which reflect a 2004 Supreme Court decision, say you won’t violate federal age-discrimination law if you favor older employees over younger ones …

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Q. Many of my employees request FMLA leave to return to their native countries to care for sick relatives, or they request personal medical leave due to a “sudden illness” that occurs while visiting those countries. In some cases, these countries don’t have regulated physicians. Documents can be easily obtained from any street vendor. Are U.S. employers required to accept these documents? —L.W.

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