What do you believe about HR?

Overheard from the HRidiot: “Employees who complain about co-workers should be put in a catapult.” How is this NOT one of RenegadeHR’s core beliefs?!?

That’s not on our HR core beliefs list. And neither is it one of Chris Ferdinandi’s (author of RenegadeHR.net). Chris has put together “21 Random Ideas About HR,” a list of 21 core beliefs about human resources (and perhaps more specifically, managing people) and I think it’s really insightful. The list includes great tid-bits like:

  • Policies shouldn’t cater to the lowest common denominator (example: corporate dress codes).
  • If you treat employees like children, that’s how they’ll act.
  • The best performers don’t always make the best managers (in fact, they usually don’t).
  • Performance appraisals don’t work. Regular, ongoing feedback does.
  • More jobs than most managers are willing to admit can be done from places other than the office.

As I mentioned before, there are 21 items on the list. Read more than just those featured above by clicking here.

EEOC report: who is being sued and why?

The Boy Scout’s motto is “Be prepared.” Through careful training and preparation, a Boy Scout can save a person from drowning, light a fire for warmth when lost in the woods, or play the bugle (yeah, you get a badge for that!). So how can you “be prepared” when it comes to labor laws?

A good place to start is making sure you have your problem areas covered – and according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), disability discrimination and retaliation are tied for the most common claims, with sex discrimination (including sexually hostile work environment) coming in at a close third. And it’s not the big Fortune 500 companies getting hit, but mostly companies with 100 or fewer employees.

So what should you do? Find out more! Read “Among Recent Lawsuits Filed By The EEOC, Disability, Retaliation Claims Most Prevalent, Employer Size Varies” where you’ll get additional details on who is targeted and what you can do to prepare. Read the article by clicking here.


Massachusetts companies paying thousands for wage and hour violations

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s (AG) Office has been hard at work catching wage and hour violators. Just last month they caught two big fish in their net: Massachusetts Sportservice Inc. and its affiliate company, Delaware North Companies, Inc. After the settlement, $100,000 will be paid for problems that could have been easily avoided.

According to the report from the AG’s office, the AG received numerous complaints from employees from both companies. The Sportservice employees claimed deductions of a half hour of pay for unused meal breaks and inadvertent deductions from wages for employee union dues. At Delaware North, the employees complained that the company failed to pay wages for vacation earned prior to termination. After investigators went looking, these two companies were opening their pocketbooks and writing some hefty paychecks.

It’s easy to make these mistakes if you don’t know what the law requires. But lucky for you, you have a plain-English guide that will help you understand it all. Check out the Massachusetts Human Resources Manual and review the Wages and hours chapter. It could save you some major cash.

To read the press release from the AG’s office, click here.


What does your tattoo (policy) look like?

Overheard from the HRidiot: Our tattooed employees are scaring customers away! Better start firing employees with religious tattoos first, just to be safe.

No! Stop! Read this first!

For many years, tattoos were a symbol of rebellion (and for some people, they may still be this!), but there is a growing culture around “body art” being popularized by the Millennials. These younger workers are bringing this movement into your workplace – and sometimes not to the pleasure of you or your customers and clients. So where can an employer draw the line? Can you ban tattoos that have religious meanings?

The folks at WorkforceManagement.com have written a great article on the growing popularity of body art and piercings and what it means for your workplace, mostly from a manager’s perspective. To read their article, “Body of Work,” click here.

Another great resources (which has a more legal considerations – like the dos and don’ts) is “Piercing Through The ‘Body Art’ Issue” by our partners at Fisher & Phillips. It covers topics such as:

  • Protecting Employers’ Legitimate Interests
  • Developing An Effective Policy
  • Dealing With Religious Issues

Read the article by clicking here.

Healthcare reform: go ahead and change!

Remember in “Jurassic Park” when Dr. Grant and the children are being attacked by the T-Rex and Grant assures them that if they stand still, the T-Rex won’t see them (of course because the T-Rex’s vision is based on movement)? I think a lot of employers who wanted to maintain their grandfathered status with the health care reform have had a similar reaction. Staying the course will maintain grandfathered status. Moving or making changes will make that safety disappear.

Fortunately, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a new change that will allow employers to move more freely AND maintain their grandfathered status. Earlier this week, HHS announced a new amendment that says a change in insurance companies will no longer cause a plan to lose its grandfathered status. That means that even if you switch to a lower-cost carrier (or obtain a new policy with an existing carrier), you can still continue to enjoy grandfathered status.

For more information on this new change and to see a list of things that COULD cause you to lose your grandfathered status, read “Amendment to the Regulations on Grandfathering Allows Plans to Change Insurance Carriers” by our partners at Barran Liebman. Access the article by clicking here.

Iowa’s Drug Free Workplace webinar

In 1998, the Iowa Association of Business & Industry (ABI) was at the table when Iowa’s Drug-Free Workplace Law was passed. Now, each year, ABI provides training on this topic so you know what to do and how to do it – and you don’t even have to leave your desk to brush up on it.

ABI recently recorded a Drug-Free Workplace Law webinar which is now available online so you can watch it at your convenience. It includes information concerning:

  • the recognition of evidence of employee alcohol or other drug abuse
  • documentation and corroboration of employee alcohol and other drug abuse
  • the referral of employees who abuse alcohol or other drugs to the employee assistance program.

The webinar features guest speaker Gary Kendall, who is the Director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy. Mr. Kendall goes in-depth with the trends of alcohol and drug use in Iowa. It’s really interesting stuff and it will help you understand what you need to do to stay in compliance with this important law. To watch the webinar, click here.

Tips for keeping a small business in business

When people lost jobs during the recession, they didn’t lose hope. In fact, many new companies were born out of an out-of-work person with big ideas, a great product, and an even better work ethic. A great product and some hard work, and bam! You’re back on your feet and your own boss. But as the companies grow, so do their obligations, and many don’t realize they’ve missed a step until they’ve been knocked down.

Our partners at Fisher & Phillips have written “Six Tips for Small Businesses,” which is a great guide for smaller employers to ensure they have their bases covered. Their tips are a direct response to the problems they hear again and again from small businesses.

The six tips include:

  • Implement, review, and enforce employment policies
  • Comply with all posting requirements
  • Train, train, train
  • Don’t try to do it all yourself
  • Get outside help when you need it
  • Invest in tools that will help your company comply with the law.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be better prepared to avoid those trouble spots and keep powering along, doing what you love. To read the article, click here.