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Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits topics – whether it’s minimum wage, workers’ compensation laws, or employee pay – if properly handled, can help you retain workers and recruit new ones.

Use our advice to craft independent contractor agreements that keep independent contractors – and your bosses – happy.

Protecting yourself and your organization from lawsuits starts the minute you decide to hire someone. Potential lawsuit land mines line your path. To stay out of court, build your hiring process around these principles:

When President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act nearly a year ago, some employees got an additional chance to press their pay discrimination claims. That’s because the new law covers Equal Pay Act claims pending at the EEOC or in federal court as of May 28, 2007. Tip: If you haven’t already done so, now’s the time to review your compensation program to check for hidden sex bias.

HR Law 101: Workplace dress codes touch on a variety of issues, including workplace safety, freedom of speech, personal hygiene, customer relations, religious freedom, the minimum wage and racial and gender stereotypes. Employers have a number of legitimate reasons for imposing a dress code, but court rulings have limited their options...

The cost cutting and staff reductions may not be completely over, but as the economy begins its recovery, HR will be dealing with new challenges in 2010. Here are 10 trends to expect in the coming year, plus tips and tools to help you respond to each:

Small business owners usually aren't HR professionals. Figuring out how to effectively — and legally — manage your personnel records is often a daunting task. But, developing a records retention schedule will ensure that a small business keeps the records it needs for operational, legal, fiscal or historical reasons, and then destroys them when they're no longer useful.

According to a recent working-conditions survey, many employers are not doing the routine maintenance they should to keep their labor and employment compliance in tip-top shape. There’s no guarantee that tuning up your workplace policies like you do your car will avoid lawsuits. But, some routine preventive maintenance will go a long way to ensuring better compliance and fewer problems.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently announced that MT Supermarket, an Austin grocery store, has paid $186,624 in back wages to 34 workers. The payment comes after an investigation of the Asian grocery store found violations of the FLSA.

Unlike employees, independent contractors can’t sue under Title VII for alleged discrimination. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have legal options if they believe they’ve suffered race discrimination. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has just concluded that an old Civil War-era law still outlaws discrimination in contracting.

Q. What is the Illinois Employee Classification Act? I’m not sure if it applies to my company.

The GAO recently released a detailed report with a set of recommendations to address the persistent, widespread problem of employer misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The report urges the DOL and the IRS to step up enforcement efforts, so now's a particularly opportune time for employers that have classified any workers as independent contractors to carefully review those decisions.