Don’t Wait – Determine If They’re Exempt Now!

The number one area for all California employers should be the proper classification of their employees. Too often, employers don’t know the guidelines for determining if an employee is exempt or non-exempt from overtime provisions.

You’ve probably seen the headlines – Wells Fargo recently settled for $12.8 million…IBM ponied up $65 million, and many small businesses have written large checks as well – all because they misclassified their employees.

This article is a good attempt and trying to simplify a very complicated issue. Get your labor attorney or HR consultant to review all of your job descriptions to avoid writing that big check.

Sex Harassment – All is not Lost

Sexual harassment lawsuits justifiably worry many business owners and managers. But if you do the right thing – that’s prevention, investigation, resolution, and non-retaliation – you can prevail.

This article shows that – dispite a supervisor’s improper behavior – the company did the right thing: before, during, and after the incident.

E-Mail Etiquette in the Workplace

There’s way too much overuse of e-mail in the workplace. And many managers are using e-mail for the ultimate no-no: reprimanding employees. That should only be done in person (or, if necessary, by phone).
E-mail is a wonderful tool for disseminating information quickly to a group of people. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, though, make sure your one-on-one communication is in person.
Here’s a typical story of how e-mail can be abused, and some good tips on preventing its improper use.

Time to Add Flexible Work Schedules?

More businesses are looking at ways to reduce employee turnover. They’re evaluating compensation and perks as the panacea to their problems. However, a less costly and potentially more effective method is to evaluate flexible work schedules.

As our workforce continues to age, the benefit of a flexible work schedule may be more important in keeping (or recruiting) an employee than salary or benefits.

FMLA Abuse

Yes – it happens. Although the FMLA is in the best interests of employees, it can (like anything else) be abused by employees.

This article (courtesy Constangy, Brooks & Smith via Ceridian) shows how you can take steps to prevent abuse by employees who take FMLA intermittent leave.

Harassment – Same Sex

The EEOC reports that there’s a sharp increase in men filing sexual harassment charges.

Harassment of the same sex is prohibited; make sure your handbook is updated (and your employees are aware of this policy as well)…

Preventing Violence in the Workplace

Not only should there be a policy in your handbook on violence in the workplace, you should reinforce with your employees that awareness and reporting is the best possible prevention of a violent act. An employee may think they’re doing the right thing by not reporting potential behavior, but they’re not.

Stupid Managers – Part 85

The tragedy of this story is that it’s likely the business owner – the one who had to write a check for $85,000 (plus attorney’s fees) didn’t know one of his managers was acting so irresponsibly.
Yet the business owner is responsible for all of his/her manager’s actions.
Get your managers trained, get a grievance procedure in writing.
Oh, and make sure not to promote people who don’t have the faintest idea on how to manage people.

HR Checklist

This is by no means a comprehensive audit checklist, but it’s well written and focuses on the major issues California businesses needs to know.

I particularly like their focus on the single most important area you can do to improve our Human Resources and Employee Relations issues – communication.