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PER Human Resources – June 2017

June 2017
Want to know the latest buzz in the HR arena?  Professional Employer Resources has a world of information in our newsletter. Not only is it fun it’s resourceful! Including, important changes to federal and state employment practices.Eighty five percent (85%) of all employment lawsuits can be prevented!

Rising Above the HR Investigation Nightmare
HR Stories From The Front Lines* 

Have you ever investigated a seemingly straight-forward issue only to learn the situation was more complicated than you imagined?
Where practically every person interviewed had a host of their own issues, complaints and problems? Discover how one HR Director rose above the chaos and confustion to complete her investigation.
Read more

(*These incidents really happened; but names and other details have been changed.)

 

Stay Up to Date on the Latest Employment Legal Updates

FEDERAL UPDATES
Could Your Organization Potentially be Accused of Employment Discrimination?
“He Didn’t Say Hi To Me!” The Reality Of Retaliation
Court Finds Employee’s 4-letter Word Facebook Rant is Protected Concerted Activity
HELP! My Employee Keeps Submitting Ambiguous Doctor’s Notes Extending Her Leave of Absence!
New EEOC Lawsuit Reminds Employers To Avoid Discriminatory Practices
Non-Union Employees Right to a Witness during an Investigation Finally Resolved

STATE UPDATES
Alabama: Workers’ Compensation Act Is Unconstitutional
Arizona: Proposed Regulations for Arizona Paid Sick Leave Published
California: Clarifies its Paid Sick Leave Frequently Asked Questions
California: “Day of Rest” Statute Clarified
California: DFEH Publishes a Revised Sexual Harassment Brochure For California Employers
California: Attention California Employers — The California Wage Orders Have Been Updated
California: Hot Off the Presses – New Workplace Guidance for CA Employers
Georgia: Coming Soon – “Family Caregiver” Leave
Georgia: Localities Requiring “Predictive Pay” Prohibited in Georgia
Indiana: Localities “Banning The Box” Is Banned In Indiana
Rhode Island: New Medical Marijuana Case Impacts Rhode Island Employers
Wisconsin: Wisconsin Employers Beware – Disciplining an Employee for Misconduct Caused by Disability Can be Discrimination


Do you have an HR question that has been keeping you up at night?
The following questions were submitted to our HR Professionals in the past month …
Question #1
We approve a lot of unpaid time off around here. In fact, we have approved over 1,100 hours of unpaid time off since 1/1/17. That’s way too much!

The flip side of our savings in unpaid wages is a loss of productivity as this practice puts a burden on other employees and on operations in general.

Can we impose a penalty for taking unpaid time off? Negative vacation accrual? No bonus at year end? What are we able to do to get a handle on this problem?

Question #2
We have an employee that has an old football injury. He said he did some research and he feels that a stand-up desk could be helpful to him.
He is inquiring as to whether the firm will buy this for him and, if not, if he can purchase one on his own. What would you recommend?

View the Answers

Religious Accommodation in the
Communal Refrigerator?

 

Brain Teaser

QTPi Production Company provides employees with a refrigerator to use in the employee break room/kitchen.

Except for the occasional complaint, (e.g. “My leftover meatloaf is missing!”) there have not been any significant issues – until now.

Samuel, a new employee has gone to Susie, the HR Manager, and requested that the company prohibit employees from storing non-kosher meats in the lunch room refrigerator.
When Susie asks why, Samuel explains his religious beliefs forbid him from storing his food with non-kosher foods.

Susie immediately recognizes that religious accommodations are required and jumps into action.
Susie assures Samuel that the company will make the change immediately. After Samuel leaves, Susie prepares a sign, “NO MEAT ALLOWED IN REFRIGERATOR – effective immediately” and sticks it to the refrigerator.

Within minutes, Susie’s in-box is full of emails from other employees complaining about the new policy.

What, if anything, should Susie have done differently?

  1. Nothing.
  2. Speak with Samuel about his religious beliefs to determine if there is a solution that will satisfy him and other employees.
  3. There is no reason to talk to Samuel any further. Take the sign off the refrigerator and buy him a small refrigerator where he can store his food.
  4. Send a reply to the complaining employees and explain that they should take up their issues with Samuel. After all, it was his request.

View the answer.

 

 Avoid These Top Mistakes in
Your Employment Application

HR Trends

Is your organization hiring in the near future? Do you plan to use a job application to vet your applicants? To assist you in the preparation of your employment application, we have compiled a list of the top 10 mistakes organizations make in job applications.
Review this list before preparing your next application.

Read More.


This information is provided by ePlace Solutions, Inc. which is solely responsible for its content. ePlace Solutions, Inc. is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. Federal and state laws are more complex than presented here. This information is simplified for the sake of brevity and is not a substitute for legal advice. ePlace Solutions, Inc. disclaims any liability, loss or risk incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this information.Opt out of receiving similar emails in the future.

PER Human Resources – May 2017

May 2017
Want to know the latest buzz in the HR arena?  Professional Employer Resources has a world of information in our newsletter. Not only is it fun it’s resourceful! Including, important changes to federal and state employment practices.

Eighty five percent (85%) of all employment lawsuits can be prevented!

Excuses Don’t Fly When It Comes
To Sexual Harassment
HR Stories From The Front Lines*

 

Employers that rarely encounter claims of inappropriate behavior or sexual harassment can be stumped on how to proceed or what to do when they receive this information. In some instances, these employers may consider “excusing” an employee’s conduct because, under the circumstances (e.g. the employee’s age, sexual orientation, etc.), the employee could not have intended to engage in sexual harassment. However, this tactic will likely result in a sexual harassment claim. Read ahead to learn how our HR Professionals saved two employers from a potential lawsuit.

Read more

(*These incidents really happened; but names and other details have been changed.)

 

Stay Up to Date on the Latest Employment Legal Updates

FEDERAL UPDATES
EEOC Reminds Employer that an Employee’s Request for Religious Accommodation is a Protected Activity Under Title VII
Even Mickey Mouse Isn’t Immune to Wage and Hour Missteps
Remember Employers – Religious Accommodation is Not Optional
An Expensive Seat at the Table for Abercrombie and Fitch Co. Inc.
The Verdict Is In — Sexual Orientation is a Protected Class Under Title VII
“Magic Words” Are Not Necessary When Requesting FMLA or Reasonable Accommodation
UPDATE – DOL Overtime Rule
Houston Manufacturing Facility Learns a $150K Lesson About Religious Discrimination and Retaliation

STATE UPDATES
California: DFEH Publishes a Revised Sexual Harassment Brochure for California Employers
California: Important California Bill to Watch – AB 1565
California: California Healthcare Employers – Are You Complying with the New Workplace Violence Safety Order?
California: Employers – Are You Complying with California’s Meal and Rest Period Law?
Connecticut: Employers – Do You Consider Your Delivery Drivers Eligible for a “Tip Credit”?
Connecticut: Clarification on Independent Contractor Classification for Employers
Iowa: New Law Prohibits Local Municipalities from Enacting Local Minimum Wage
Maine: High Times in Maine? Not Until February 2018
Michigan: New Michigan Civil Rights Poster
New Mexico: Good News for New Mexico Employers – No Increased Minimum Wage for 2018
Nevada: Good News for Nevada Employers – No Increased Minimum Wage for 2017
South Carolina: New Law Prohibits Local Municipalities from Passing Paid Leave Requirements
South Carolina: Employer Learns a $45 Million Lesson About Retaliation
Texas: Texas Roadhouse Learns a $12 Million Lesson About Age Discrimination


Do you have an HR question that has been keeping you up at night?
The following questions were submitted to our HR Professionals in the past month …

Question #1
We have an employee who will be returning from non-FMLA maternity leave. I have two questions regarding breast feeding breaks:

  1. How much time should be alloted, in terms of frequency and length of time, to accommodate the employee to breast feed?
  2. Would a doctor’s note be required for breast feeding breaks?

Question #2
My employee has been out of work since February 9, 2017. Yesterday, she brought me a doctor’s note stating that she will need to be off work for another 4 weeks at least, which will be around May 10, 2017 at the earliest.
At this point we need someone to do her job. This employee is not eligible for FMLA, what are our options?

View the Answers

Double Dipping

 

Brain Teaser

Suzy, the payroll manager at Dot’s Ice Cream, came across an interesting problem while reconciling the company’s bank account after the last payroll. She noticed that one of the employees, Joe, had cashed his paycheck twice.

The first time, the check was cashed through a mobile banking app; and the second time, the check was cashed at a check cashing store. After speaking with the check cashing store and reviewing their surveillance footage, Suzy confirmed that Joe had cashed the check.

Suzy then asked Joe about the transactions and he could not provide a reasonable explanation. His only response was “Oops!”

Based on the evidence, Suzy concluded Joe had intentionally cashed his paycheck check twice and recommended that Joe’s employment be terminated. While the owner agrees with Suzy’s recommendation, he also wants to deduct the “overpayment” from Joe’s final paycheck?

Can the company recoup the double payment?

  1. No. The bank made a mistake by allowing Joe to cash his paycheck twice. Joe cannot be penalized for the bank’s error.
  2. No. The company should file a police report and recoup the stolen monies from Joe using the legal system.
  3. It depends on the location of the business. Before making any deduction, Suzy should check the laws in her state to see if such a deduction is permissible.
  4. Yes. By cashing his paycheck twice, Joe stole from the company and the company may recoup its losses.

View the answer.

 

Handling Suspected Drug/Alcohol
Use in the Workplace
HR Trends

To date, 29 states (plus Washington DC) have legalized marijuana use for medicinal and 8 states (plus Washington DC) have legalized marijuana use for recreational purposes. In light of this trend, employers are concerned about em-ployees reporting to work under the influence of marijuana and looking for ways to handle this growing problem. Read ahead for best practices on handling suspected drugs and/or alcohol use in the workplace.

Read More.


This information is provided by ePlace Solutions, Inc. which is solely responsible for its content. ePlace Solutions, Inc. is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. Federal and state laws are more complex than presented here. This information is simplified for the sake of brevity and is not a substitute for legal advice. ePlace Solutions, Inc. disclaims any liability, loss or risk incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this information.

Opt out of receiving similar emails in the future.

PER Human Resources – April 2017

April 2017
Want to know the latest buzz in the HR arena?  Professional Employer Resources has a world of information in our newsletter. Not only is it fun it’s resourceful! Including, important changes to federal and state employment practices.

Eighty five percent (85%) of all employment lawsuits can be prevented!

Help! My Company Has Fallen
Victim to a Workplace Scam!
HR Stories From The Front Lines*

On almost a weekly basis, a report of the latest workplace scam hits the airwaves. From W-2 email phishing schemes (where cybercriminals posing as company executives request copies of payroll data) to the CEO scheme (where a cybercriminal calls the company pretending to be the CEO and requests that payments be redirected to another account), these scams are becoming more commonplace and companies are more often falling victim to this type of attack.

Is your company prepared for the latest scam? Read ahead to learn how a lack of preparedness caused one company to fall victim to one of these schemes.

Read more

(*These incidents really happened; but names and other details have been changed.)

 

Stay Up to Date on the Latest Employment Legal Updates

FEDERAL UPDATES
Frequently Absent Employees Require Careful Management under the ADA
A No Dogs Allowed Policy Might Not Work For Emotional Support Service Dogs (or other animals)
Another Costly Lesson about Sex Discrimination
2016 EEOC Litigation Data Released
What Employers Can Learn From This “Textbook” Disability Discrimination Case Involving Post Offer, Pre-Employment Medical Examinations
Sometimes It Only Takes One Comment To Create A Hostile Work Environment
Warning To Employers – Do Not Ignore Reasonable Accommodations During the Hiring
Process!

STATE UPDATES
Arizona: The Fate of Arizona’s Proposition 206 Has Been Decided
California: Coming Soon to a California Workplace Near You — Indoor Heat Regulations
California: Rules Governing the Inspection of Personnel Files in California
California: Employers – Are You Separately Paying Your Commission-Only Employees for Rest Breaks?
California: Court Takes A Surprising Stance On Healthcare Meal Waivers
Massachusetts: Handling an Employee’s Request for Indefinite Leave in Massachusetts
New York: Employers – Are You Ready for Paid Family Leave?
Oregon: Employers Breathe a Sigh of Relief With Court’s Rejection of BOLI’s Overtime Guidance Materials For Oregon Manufacturers
Vermont: Employee Drug Testing in Vermont


Do you have an HR question that has been keeping you up at night?
The following questions were submitted to our HR Professionals in the past month …

Question #1
We may have a weird situation (although probably not all that uncommon). A few months back an employee got injured (off the job) and required a medical leave and then work modification.
In the course of completing that paperwork it came to our attention that the employee was using a false name and social security number.
When confronted he admitted this and refused to give us proper documentation and thus was terminated for falsifying his employment records and his application.

Now, a few months later, there is talk that a few more employees may have alternative social security numbers than those provided upon hire.
Assuming they are willing to provide us with the correct and current information, what is the proper policy here?

We think the best course of action would be to fire and rehire them under the correct documents but I am not sure what our liability there is or what to do about the fact that we have in some cases possibly
5-10 years of employment records and payroll taxes using a different social security number.

Question #2
I have a salaried employee who has taken an excessive number of full days off. To date (3/10/2017), he has taken 8 full days off.
Can we tell him any more personal full days off taken now to June 30, 2017 will be without pay?

View the Answers

Could Buying a Lunch for a Customer
Result in Sexual Harassment?

 

Brain Teaser

Over the past several weeks, Mitch, the manager at Salad Xpress, has noticed that one of the restaurant’s regulars causes quite the stir when she comes there for lunch.

This particular regular is a very attractive, buxom, young woman who is a receptionist at a nearby law firm.
Whenever she comes into the restaurant, several of the male employees drop what they are doing and vie for her attention.
There have even been several instances where a male employee has paid for this customer’s meal.

The customer does not seem to have a problem with this attention, but Mitch believes that this type of behavior could expose the company to the claim. What, if anything, should Mitch do?

  1. Mitch is overreacting. Since the customer has not complained about the male employees, there is nothing that Mitch needs to do at this time.
  2. Mitch should talk to his employees about their behavior towards this customer and encourage them to stop, as their conduct could easily be interpreted as sexual harassment.
  3. Mitch should keep a close eye on the employees when this customer comes into the restaurant and terminate any employee who buys a meal for this employee, as that conduct is inappropriate.
  4. This customer is causing a disruption in the workplace, Mitch should approach her and tell her that she can longer eat at the restaurant.

View the answer.

 

 

10 Things to Do Before
Terminating an Employee
HR Trends

“You’re fired!” These are the words employees dread hearing and HR Professionals hate uttering. It comes as no surprise that termination continues to be one of the most dreaded employment actions for HR Managers. Read ahead to ensure you follow our termination checklist.

Read More.


This information is provided by ePlace Solutions, Inc. which is solely responsible for its content. ePlace Solutions, Inc. is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. Federal and state laws are more complex than presented here. This information is simplified for the sake of brevity and is not a substitute for legal advice. ePlace Solutions, Inc. disclaims any liability, loss or risk incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this information.

Opt out of receiving similar emails in the future.

Testimonials

As the president of two companies I have relied on PER for a number of years for our HR and payroll needs. PER offers excellent service, very accessible staff that are knowledgeable and extremely professional.

Kim - President - Repping Firms - Florida and Georgia

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