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Social media

December 29th, 2017

For purposes of this chapter, social media includes all electronic social networking sites through which applicants and employees may congregate, such as Facebook, Twitter, various blog-hosting sites, and LinkedIn.  While there are hundreds, if not thousands, of such sites, the law regarding the use of social media in employment is still in its infancy.  As there have been very few reported court cases regarding it, this chapter is limited to discussing potential issues that may arise in using social media in employment decisions, rather than providing definitive answers regarding such usage.

Generally, it is easiest to think about the employment issues regarding social media in two timeframes

Federal complete

Comprehensive guidelines to An Employer's Guide to FMLA and ADA, Employee Benefits - An Employer's Guide, Employment Verification: Immigration, Form I-9, and E-Verify, Hiring, Firing and Discipline, Wages and Hours - An Employer's Guide and Workpl...

Learn more

Webinar

Thinking about cybersecurity for human resources professionals

March 29th, 2018 at 12:00pm CDT

We are pleased to present a webinar concerning cybersecurity with the author of both the Tennessee Human Resources Manual and the Virginia Human Resources Manuals, Andrew Wampler with Wilson Worley LLP.

In this presentation, we will cover:

1. Cybersecurity issues as they relate to business/employment law

  • BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – policies
  • Access and usage policies
  • Company-owned equipment

2. ...

Hiring interviews

December 29th, 2017

The employment interview is the most used and often the least valid selection device used by management.  Too often interviewers are ill prepared and may be influenced by irrelevant personality factors to determine who is best for the job.  That is why we suggest having more than one person interview each of the candidates.  Of course, each interviewer should be trained on the “hows” of conducting an interview.

Preparing for an interview
When interviewing candidates, it is helpful to remember the following four points:

Employee contracts

December 29th, 2017

In most states, employment is presumed to be “at-will.”  This means employees can be discharged and can resign at any time, with or without cause or notice.  Such discharge or resignation usually does not give the employee the right to sue unless the employee can establish that an exception to the general at-will rule applies.  The most commonly recognized exceptions to at-will employment include:

Arizona sick day policy

December 29th, 2017

Beginning on July 1, 2017, under Arizona law, all employees earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.  If a company has 15 or more employees, employees accrue and use up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.  If a company has fewer than 15 employees, employees accrue and may use up to 24 hours of paid sick leave per year.  Exempt employees are presumed to work 40 hours per week (unless their actual schedule is fewer hours, then their actual schedule can be used).  Unused sick leave rolls over from year to year unless the employer pays for the unused leave. 

In lieu of an hourly accrual, an employer may give employees all of their sick leave hours up front at the beginning of the year.  Additionally, . . .

FMLA - "leave" as in "leave the employee alone"

January 10th, 2018

FMLA contains "leave", as in "the employee isn't at work" but also as in "leave the employee alone or else". See what the boundaries are to avoid the "or else" from one of our authors @Ogletree Deakins.

Boundaries

Holidays

December 29th, 2017

The summer can bring up several employment issues, including discipline and dress code violations, but one of the biggest issues is just getting employees to show up! With holidays and vacations, warmer summer months often result in lower attendance, which can translate to a loss in productivity. Time off requests also pose a lot of administrative problems, and employers should be sure to enforce a clear policy to ensure fairness. 

The following sample policy can help you get started.

Bullying in the workplace

December 29th, 2017

A few years ago if you heard the word bullying, images of playgrounds and principals' offices might come to mind. It's true that many people felt that bullying only applied to children, but in recent years we've acknowledged the truth of the situation: adults can be bullied – and bullies – too. A 2010 survey showed that over 35% of adults admit to being bullied and another 15% admit to witnessing bullying. With these numbers on the rise, employers need to learn to identify and prevent bullying in the workplace, as it can lead to some very serious problems. Here are some questions you need answers to and a sample bullying policy:

Employment references

December 29th, 2017

Finding new employees can be stressful. Sure, an applicant will say they are a hardworking overachiever, but are they being honest? That's where reference checks come in. For most positions, it is beneficial for an employer to request and contact previous employers to check on perspective employees as it can protect the employer in any future negligent hiring claims. But what is the right way to get a reference? And what is the right way to give a reference for your own past employees?

Breaktimes

December 29th, 2017

Meal breaks and rest breaks continue to be some of the biggest grey areas in employment. Whether its understanding how much time needs to be provided, what limitations an employer can place on the employee during that time, or timekeeping issues, break time can be a very confusing topic. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with employee breaks.

Employee handbooks – getting a handle on your policies

December 29th, 2017

While there may be no state or federal law requiring an employer to have a handbook, there are a number or reasons why they are in an employer’s best interest. 

  • Usefulness. It is beneficial for there to be one definitive source on the terms of employment. If an employee ever has a question as to what is acceptable or not, they know where to turn.
  • Communication. An employee handbook gives an employer the opportunity to speak clearly on important issues. Handbooks can be a podium for employers to speak out against issues like sexual harassment, workplace violence, bullying, or drug use.
  • Clarity. Employee handbooks create consistency and uniformity in an environment where many people may be involved in the management process. Uniformly enforcing policies cuts down on discrimination claims by ensuring that all employees are treated equally.
  • Protection. In the case of a trial, jurors have been found to favor companies that have clearly communicated and enforced company policies ­– even if the employee didn’t follow them. The fact that the employer has communicated their disapproval shows an act of good faith.

A job worth doing is worth doing well

A handbook isn’t necessarily a get out of jail free card. Like any tool, if you don’t use your handbook properly it can end up hurting you.

  • Keep your employee handbook up-to-date. If your polices are outdated, they may prove inaccurate and useless. Say you have a policy that only prohibits talking on a cell phone while driving, but doesn’t mention texting. An employee has the right to assume that behavior is permissible, and you might be found at fault if an accident occurs.
  • Be sure to avoid promissory language. If your handbook discusses specific timelines, creates expectations of benefits, or doesn’t clearly outline that employment is at-will, courts can find that it acts as a binding contract.
  • Don’t make the handbook into an encyclopedia. Outlining how employees should file for unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation claims can do more harm to your business than good. Avoid discussing any internal practices, and just stick to the rules and regulations your employees need to know about.

Where to start

While there are any number of policies an employer can chose to include in their handbook, there are a few that are must haves.

  • Introduction to the handbook/at-will employment statement
  • Disclaimer
  • Equal employment opportunity policy
  • Harassment policy
  • Family and medical leave policy
  • Conduct policy
  • Acknowledgment form

Technology in the workplace

December 29th, 2017

It seems like not that long ago “technology in the workplace” referred to fax machines and floppy discs, but things certainly have changed in the last 10 years. Smart phones, email, and wireless networks have revolutionized the way business is being done, but with these advances in technology come a whole new set of problems . . .

Employee personnel files

December 29th, 2017

As an HR professional you are no stranger to paperwork. It seems that for every employment action – applying, interviewing, hiring, disciplining, on and on – there is a specific form that needs to be filled out. Making sure you complete the paperwork properly is only half the battle though. Once you finish completing a form, you are faced with a whole new issue: what to do with it.  Being the smarty that you are, you know that proper documentation is key in protecting your company in the unfortunate case of a lawsuit, but knowing what needs to be kept where and for how long and who can see it can be kind of tricky. Let’s take a minute to go over the basics.

Permissible post-accident drug testing

December 29th, 2017


The impact of OSHA’s recordkeeping revisions on permissible post-accident drug testing.

 

Punch clock

December 29th, 2017

Dear @Littler: If we replace our punch-card timeclocks with a biometric system, are we obligated to provide a punch-proxy for employees? https://www.lexology.com/library/detail

Punch clock

Year-end or holiday incentives

December 29th, 2017

 

Year-end or holiday incentives – you need to know the rules: rules: … First rule: make the winner penguin-happy.
 

Penguin sweepstakes small