• Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act

    Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act Tax Incentives to Spur Job Growth

    On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed into law a $17.5 billion dollar jobs bill entitled the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act. This bill includes a number of government incentives for hiring, including tax cuts, business credits and subsidies for state and local construction bonds, and moves an additional $20 billion into the highway trust fund for new spending on highway and transit programs. The HIRE Act is aimed at providing hiring incentives for employers to restore some of the jobs lost during “the great recession.”
  • Unpaid Overtime Information

    Five More Overtime Questions (Part 2 of 2)

    Eighty-eight percent of the employee back wages collected by the Department of Labor for wage and hour violations in Fiscal Year 2008 involved overtime issues. Make sure that you know when you have to pay overtime and what penalties you could face if you do not.
  • Overtime Pay Regulations

    Top Ten Overtime Pay Questions (Part 1 of 2)

    If you have fewer employees doing more work, you need to be sure you are paying them any overtime that is due. If you do not pay overtime properly, you could be exposed to wage claims and penalties.
  • Smoking in the Workplace

    Does Your Workplace Smoking Policy Cover All the Bases?

    If you could cut your break times and maybe even your health insurance rates by refusing to hire smokers, would you? While the idea is intriguing, these kinds of policies to stop smoking in the workplace may be illegal in so-called “smokers’ rights states.” Further, there are three practical reasons these preferences for hiring nonsmokers may not be such a great idea.

  • Framing Discrimination Claims

    EEOC Claim Statistics: Actions Necessary for Preventing Employment Discrimination Claims

    The EEOC recently reported that it recovered a record high of $294 million on behalf of employee claimants in FY 2009. How can you prevent becoming a target of an employment discrimination claim? Find out the six steps you can take. Your hint: The first tip involves training.

  • Absences for Exempt Workers

    Exempt Employees and Partial Day Absences

    One issue that comes up continually for employers is how to deal with exempt employees who take time off in less than full day increments.  The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations make it clear that employers generally cannot dock their exempt employees pay for absences of less than a day without jeopardizing the exemption.

  • Taking Care with Layoff Laws

    Employee Termination ChecklistFiring Employees: A Lawyer’s Advice

    The world of human resources has officially arrived to mainstream media. In his recent blockbuster movie, George Clooney tackles the death-defying world of human resources and employee terminations. His character racks up tens of thousands of frequent flyer miles travelling to distant lands to be a “hired gun” and terminate employees on behalf of their employers. As the movie suggests, terminating an employee is a very sensitive task. Poorly-handled employee terminations are more likely to breed lawsuits by the former employee, discontent among the remaining employees, and myriad unexpected legal issues. As an employment lawyer, I see the good, the bad, and the absurd when it comes to employee terminations. The stories you are about to read are true (sanitized to protect the innocent) and the lesson drawn from the story worth its weight in saved litigation costs.

  • COBRA Premium Reduction Subsidy

    Cobra Premium Reduction SubsidyA Summary of the COBRA Premium Reduction Provisions Under ARRA

    The period to sign up for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) subsidy that provides terminated employees and their beneficiaries with a 65 percent COBRA premium reduction in health continuation insurance costs has been extended through February 28, 2010. In addition, the subsidy period has been extended from 9 months to 15 months of the COBRA 18-month entitlement period.

  • HR Guide to Holiday Parties

    HR Guide to Holiday Parties 9 Tips to Limit Holiday Office Party Legal Exposure

    ‘Tis the season for holiday parties and the spreading of good cheer in the workplace. Unfortunately, though, too much cheer can cause liability. If your plans include serving alcohol at holiday parties or even sponsoring department “happy hours” at a local pub, your organization could be at risk for legal liability if a drunken employee harms himself or others.

  • Laws for Employee Breaks

    Laws for Employee Breaks Employee Work Breaks: Legal Issues and Worker Needs

    Surprisingly, federal law does not require employers to provide employee work breaks. Still, you should consider providing them. In addition to giving employees a necessary break from workday chores, they may also be required as accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or to satisfy state requirements.

  • Temporary Employee Laws

    Temporary Employee Laws Legal Smarts: Hiring Temporary Employees

    The holidays are coming up, which can mean hiring temporary workers in retail and other industries. Do you know how to protect yourself against claims of unfair pay, benefits requests payments, and other temporary employee legal issues? Temporary employee laws abound so it’s important that you’re well informed. Here are some of the A-B-C’s of law relating to temporary employees that will help keep your company off of Santa’s “naughty” list this season.

  • Employers and the National Labor Relations Act

    Employers and the National Labor Relations Act Does the National Labor Relations Act Impact Non-Union Employers?

    How are employers affected by the NLRA? For most non-union employers, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or Act) is probably not the federal statute that has been at the top of their watch list in recent years. With union membership at a historical low point, employers in the US concern themselves with other state and federal laws that impact their HR policies and HR practices more so than the NLRA.

  • Definitions of Employee Classifications

    Definitions of Employee Classifications Understanding Employee Classification Issues

    How do you determine whether an employee is classified as full-time, part-time, or temporary? It is really up to you.

    Since federal and state laws generally do not define these terms, employers usually have a lot of flexibility when categorizing employees. Employee classifications are often based on the number of hours worked and job duties performed and typically determine eligibility for benefits.

    The following outlines issues you need to consider in classifying employees.

  • HR Advice for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

    HR Advice for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Expert Advice on Responding to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

    Back on January 29, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (“Act”). Although signed in early 2009, its effective date was May 28, 2007. The significance of the President’s signing was that he carried through on a campaign promise and that it represented one of his first official acts after taking office.

    The significance for HR professionals and business owners is that there is some work to do now to protect yourself from claims of pay discrimination. Below you will find my legal advice for getting your pay practices and documentation up to date.
  • HR Guide to Social Networking Policy

    HR Social Networking Policy The Facebook Policy You Never Knew You Needed

    Right now, someone at your office is posting a message on their Facebook wall or sending out a Twitter tweet. You may write off these internet-based social networking tools as innocuous but they can pose serious legal risks if left untamed without an iron-clad employee social networking policy. Don’t believe me? Sit down and I will tell you a tale of a restaurant chain.

  • What Does the Employee Free Choice Act Mean for Employers?

    Employee Free Choice Act Fast Politics: Latest News on the Employee Free Choice Act

    Labor union membership numbers have changed in the last few decades and so have the union’s political efforts. As an HR professional, it’s important that you stay up-to-date on union activities since these politics can affect your company’s bottom line.

    The two different, but linked, pieces of legislation to learn about and prepare for are the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and the Re-Employment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Tradeworkers Act (RESPECT Act).

  • FLSA - Exempt Employee Guidelines

    FLSA Exempt Employee Guidelines Guidelines for Managing Exempt-Status Employees

    In the world of HR, one area that has produced a significant quantity of writing, thought, and opinion is that of employee exemptions within the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This area, however, is not particularly flashy or trendy. In fact, it is the boring material that HR professionals must learn and internalize in order to add value to their organizations.  But, while not flashy, this knowledge area is one where millions of dollars can be saved by sound HR practices.
  • HR Guide to the Employee Free Choice Act

    Unionworker Employee Free Choice Act 101: A History for HR Professionals

    If you have spent time on HR or labor relations issues, you’ve likely heard of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), often referred to as the “card-check bill. When I first heard about it, I wondered, “How could something with a title like that be controversial?”

  • HR Guide to the Fair Labor Act

    HR Guide to Fair Labor Act Fair Labor Standards Act: A Basic Overview for HR Professionals

    In order to be an effective human resources contributor, it is of fundamental importance to have (at a minimum) a basic understanding of the more critical employment laws. While I am not pretending to provide legal advice here, I think it will be helpful to take a few moments to assess one such law.


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