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Interview with author J. Hagood Tighe

January 5th, 2018

It’s time to get to know the author of the South Carolina EMployment Law Reference Guide, Hagood Tighe of Fisher Phillips.

 

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Non-compete agreements

January 5th, 2018

One of the most problematic parts of ending an employment relationship is what happens afterwards. While it is clear that the employee must go in a new direction, there can be some confusion as to what an employer can do to make sure its business interests aren’t negatively impacted. When an employee relocates or goes out on their own they may want to take clients, staff, information or ideas with them, but there are a few things employers can do to safeguard these valuable assets.  

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Workplace romance

January 5th, 2018

A recent poll shows that over 40% of Americans have dated a coworker, making the topic of inter-office romance pretty hard to ignore. While you may be glad that your staff is finding happiness, here are several serious issues that can be brought up when employees start dating and employers should be sure to protect themselves.

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Social media and employment

January 5th, 2018

Social media, or the process of interacting and sharing ideas in a virtual setting, has exploded over the past 5 years. The popularity of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is unquestionable. But how does this new mode of communicating impact employment?

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Performance evaluations

January 5th, 2018

Although they can be a bit uncomfortable for both you and the employee, evaluations serve as an important part of reviewing staff performance and making sure a business runs smoothly. Here are a few answers to some common performance review questions. You can call it a performance review, evaluation or just a check-in...just make sure you do it right.

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Interview with attorneys at Wilson Worley PC

January 5th, 2018

It’s time to get to know the authors of the Tennessee Human Resources Manual, the attorneys at Wilson Worley PC.

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Interview with attorneys at Knudsen Law Firm

January 5th, 2018

It’s time to get to know the authors of the Nebraska HR Library, Kevin R. McManaman and Jeanelle R. Lust of Knudsen Law Firm!

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Interview with Kathy Speaker MacNett

January 5th, 2018

We sat down with Kathy Speaker MacNett, author of Model Policies and Forms for Pennsylvania Employers and attorney at Skarlatos Zonarich!

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Firing, a job to do right the first time

January 5th, 2018

"You’re fired." On The Apprentice, Donald Trump made it look so easy! For the rest of us, a poorly done termination could be costly. Emotions run high, there is a lot of paperwork involved, and an employer can end up with a big mess on their hands. Taking the time to do a termination properly can keep an employer out off court, so here are a few best practices to consider. 

  • Give the employee the chance to speak. In terminations, as in most things, people like to feel like they are being heard. Letting an employee let off steam or plead their case can be enough to avoid further issues. Take a few minutes to chat about the reasons behind the termination, but make sure to listen.
  • Get a reference release. Type up the basic facts of employment that would be given if a future prospective employer were to call looking for a reference down the line. Have the employee sign to avoid any future confusion or possible defamation accusations. 
  • Determine how the final paycheck will be given. Some states require final pay to be given within a certain amount of time, a few even require it be given immediately. 
  • Explain how the employee can arrange to receive benefits, if any, including COBRA continuation coverage.  Provide proper documents when applicable. 
  • Consider having the employee sign a release form. Having an employee sign a brief explanation of the reasons behind the termination and explaining that they understand any non-compete agreements or waivers of rights can be extremely useful to employers in the case of litigation.

While firing is probably not your favorite HR task (at least I hope it isn’t!), it is something that comes up now and again. Take the time to terminate correctly, otherwise you might have to fire someone twice…talk about awkward!

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Interview questions: do's and don'ts

January 5th, 2018

Interviews are a key part of the hiring process, but asking the wrong questions can land you in hot water with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Interviews give employers the opportunity to get a feel for an applicant, and they give the applicant a chance to showcase traits that aren’t easily expressed on a résumé. While many employers know the areas they need to cover in the interview (experience, salary, company culture for example), they might not know there are several topics that should be avoided. Seemingly innocent questions, or even natural conversation, may lead an applicant to reveal information about themselves that could open employers up for discrimination claims. Here are a few examples of questions employers should avoid during interviews:

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Paternity leave

January 5th, 2018

Sometimes referred to as “family leave” or “parental leave”, paternity leave is an excused absence from work to care for and bond with a new child - whether by birth, adoption, or foster. This leave can vary in duration and may be paid or unpaid.

Are employers required to offer paternity leave?

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) employees of companies with a staff of 50 or larger are guaranteed twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth. This leave is job-protected leave meaning the employee must return to the same (or comparable) position and same wages upon completing leave. The FMLA also requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave.

Does paternity leave need to be paid?

The FMLA does not provide for any pay during leave, and there are currently no federal paid paternity leave requirements in the United States - making it the only industrialized nation in the world that does not require paid time off for new parents.

However, 25 states have amended the FMLA further to provide for longer leave or lowering the minimum employer size to below 50. Four of these states . . .

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The Form I-9 has changed… Again!

January 5th, 2018

Immigration enforcement is a major priority for the Trump Administration. Work site enforcement and I-9 audits and inquiries by ICE have been increasing and they will continue to increase. In addition to this, yet another new I-9 form was issued in 2017. All employers must use the new Form I-9 during the hiring process by September 18, 2017.

The newest version of the Form I-9 is dated in the bottom left corner, 07/17/17, with the expiration date of 08/31/2019 in the top left corner. On September 18, 2017, use only the Form I-9 that contain these two dates, and make sure the I-9 is fully complete. Section 1 must be completed on the first day an employee works for you.

The changes to the new I-9 Form do not stop with the form itself - there were changes made to both the Form I-9 and the Form I-9 instructions.  All employers should make sure to post the new Form I-9 instructions on the wall where you have your required employment posters and have the List A, B and C page available for employees when they complete the I-9 form.

Let’s look at the silver lining! This change in the form may be a good reminder to conduct an internal I-9 audit and I-9 training to help ensure proper compliance with the immigration, employment verification, and E-Verify requirements, unless you’ve already done so when the (last) new I-9 form was released earlier this year.  

It pays to take the time to ensure your I-9s are in compliance as the fines have increased significantly.  Companies who previously had one audit are likely on the list for a second.  Those companies who already experienced a second I-9 audit and violations were noted, are likely to see a third audit.

Whew! Who knew immigration requirements and paperwork could be so dynamic?

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Nepotism: favoring relatives and friends in the workplace

January 5th, 2018

It is not unusual for multiple members of a family to work for the same employer.  However, such situations can be troublesome if the family members are in a superior-subordinate relationship because:

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Dress codes: who, what, wear

January 5th, 2018

As an HR representative or business owner it’s your responsibility to make sure things run smoothly, and sometimes that means enforcing rules or standards that your employees may not want to follow. Dress codes and appearance guidelines are a good way for employers to not only ensure their workforce looks professional to customers and clients, but also can help avoid harassment claims and disciplinary problems.

When it comes to drafting an effective dress policy there are a few things employers should be aware of.

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Needy employees

January 5th, 2018

Needy employees and little kids – often bored, overwhelmed, need help or already peeing down their leg. @SHRM and @HarvardBiz have some non-diaper strategies https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools

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