The questions surrounding who is exempt and who is non-exempt from overtime obligations under the FLSA have spurred hundreds of class action lawsuits costing employers hundreds of millions of dollars in monetary damages. Employers must struggle with understanding the different types of exemptions as well as what actions can jeopardize those exemptions, and what the overtime ramifications of misclassification can be.
Besides their obvious purpose of identifying work to be performed, well-written job descriptions are integral in recruiting and interviewing prospective employees, rating job performance, classifying employees as exempt or non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), meting out discipline, and making promotion and compensation decisions.
Being in HR requires the ability to maintain confidentiality. This can be challenging if you do not have an office with a door that you can close and lock. Here are some ways you can overcome the challenges of working in a cubicle.
If they could choose one management function to avoid, many managers would choose disciplining employees. In today’s litigious society, individuals don’t think twice about seeking solace in court for perceived inequities, so many employment lawsuits are filed by employees who believe they were disciplined unfairly.
An employee complains that her co-worker’s inappropriate comments and behavior make her uncomfortable. You receive an anonymous letter from an employee accusing a colleague of misconduct. What do you do next in all these instances? Investigate. Investigate. Investigate.
When you think rewards that retain employees, you might see dollar signs—lots of them. But keeping morale high doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are plenty of low-cost or even no-cost perks you can offer to help keep employees engaged and committed.
Although the managerial mistakes that have created HR headaches and triggered employee lawsuits are countless, here are the most common managerial moves at the heart of employers’ legal woes:
Inclement weather brings with it all sorts of problems for employers, such as employees with child care concerns because of closed schools, tricky road conditions, office closings and cold weather safety. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst with these workplace pointers.
Company policies lay the foundation on which employment expectations are formed, and thus, workplace actions are taken. A missing phrase here, an undefined term there can spell policy disaster. There’s no time like the present to audit your organization’s policy handbook. Four policy writing traps:
The Human Resources department has a host of responsibilities. Juggling them is often overwhelming, to say the least. One small misstep could cost the company hundreds, thousands, and even millions of dollars. Knowing in which areas of HR’s numerous responsibilities the most common pitfalls lurk goes a long way to ensuring that you don’t fall into those traps.
Not all terminated employees go quietly. So when an employee seemingly accepts termination without protest, employers typically let out a sigh of relief. Not so fast. With nothing more than a few taps on the keyboard, a vengeful ex-employee can cause far more disruption to the workplace than some of your most vocal employees.
Most organizations create a dress code policy to ensure that employees come to work in appropriate, acceptable attire. But the way those business dress code policies are implemented can be the root of employee lawsuits, ranging from religious accommodation requests to different grooming standards for men and women.
Substance abuse in the workplace costs employers billions of dollars annually in lost productivity, absenteeism and theft, as well as workers’ compensation, health insurance and medical costs. Here are employer guidelines for creating a workable substance abuse policy.
“Out with the old, in with the new!” chant managers as they dispose of documents that have accumulated in their office throughout the previous year. In their quest to have a clean, organized slate, they sometimes dispose of documents they shouldn’t.
If managers had their way, most would not want to bother going through the formal performance appraisal process with each of their employees. Show them how to get positive results from their performance appraisal sessions by giving them formal training on conducting and documenting appraisals, and avoiding common appraisal traps.
Office romances can not only have an adverse effect on workplace productivity, but can engender claims of favoritism, sexual harassment and retaliation. So employers should consider implementing a policy covering this topic. However, it is important to assess the pros and cons of strict workplace dating policies.
Progressive discipline policies are not mandated by either state or federal employment laws. But legal issues often arise from the application of progressive discipline policies, including whether such policies can alter the employment-at-will status of employees; what happens when an employer promises progressive discipline but skips some of the outlined steps; and what employee discipline forms and checklists are necessary to maintain unbiased application of a progressive discipline program.
Insubordination can result when difficult employees intentionally disregard a direct order from a manager, or inadvertently cross the discipline line when company policy is involved. Knowing how to handle employee insubordination can go a long way toward avoiding legal consequences when discipline or discharge is necessary.
Workplace investigations infiltrate every facet of employer activity, from allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination, to concerns over safety, violence, theft, and fraud. Conducting prompt, thorough workplace investigations followed by appropriate discipline will help insulate your company from potential legal liability.
The ADEA protects employees age 40 and over from age discrimination in all aspects of employment. That means employers must be alert for signs of age discrimination in application processes, hiring and firing decisions, promotion and demotion assignments and all terms and conditions of employment, including the possibility of age harassment.