Human Resources

From employment law to compensation and benefits, FMLA and hiring and firing and more, Business Management Daily provides comprehensive Human Resources updates.

Discover how your colleagues – and competitors – are dealing with discrimination and harassment, employment law, benefits programs, and more.

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Traditionally, there are four possible ways to classify people who perform work. But two classifications—independent contractors and employees—cover most work. Except, some say, in the emerging sharing or “gig” economy. Now two economists at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, D.C., have proposed a new category: independent worker.

Employer-sponsored wellness programs often collect medical data about employees and their families to identify risk factors and customize health and exercise programs. The Affordable Care Act health care reform law favors wellness programs as a way to manage chronic diseases and educate employees about their health.
Q. We have a long-time employee who will accumulate the necessary points under our retirement program to become fully vested in his retirement benefit on his next birthday, which is in April. At that time, the employee will be 63 years old. He has not talked about how long he intends to continue working or his plan for retirement with our management team, which is concerned about having enough time to transition the employee’s work in the event that he abruptly retires. Can we ask this employee about his retirement plans without creating a claim of age discrimination? (Of course, the employee is also having performance issues, and management would prefer that he retire upon vesting in the retirement program.)

About a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that under the Fair Labor Standards Act, time spent waiting for security checks after the end of a shift were not compensable minutes. California, however, has greater worker protections built into its version of the FLSA. That’s why a group of Apple store employees brought a suit over their own wait time at the end of their shifts, seeking compensation despite the Supreme Court decision.

Can you zero out the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide 95% of full-time employees—those who work at least 30 hours a week—with group health benefits by cutting their work hours, so that they’re no longer considered full-time employees? One employer that allegedly did so is now defending itself against a class action lawsuit.
Do you consider your commissioned salespeople independent contractors? If you pay them a draw, they may be employees for unemployment com­­pensation purposes.
Employees who quit generally aren’t entitled to unemployment compensation. Unless something occurred that would compel a reasonable worker quit, employees won’t get benefits.
Worried an employee may have an undisclosed mental disability that is causing problems at work? Don’t treat him with kid gloves or suggest he seek mental health care.
There isn’t a worse sound than someone scraping ice off their windshield at 6:30 in the morning. You don’t have to make employees choose between taking a snow day and working, if you allow them to work from home. While you’re crafting a telecommuting policy, don’t forget the Fair Labor Standards Act.
If your organization hasn’t yet been hit with a pay-related lawsuit, consider yourself lucky. A new report shows the onslaught of wage-and-hour lawsuits continues to rise at a record pace.