July 1, 2010
Assessing your job descriptions and making them compliant with FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) should be done on a regular basis. This will assist a company in not only protecting themselves, but also allowing the employee to know what is expected of their position. For example:
1. Job A Has no FLSA Job Description, and hiring of an employee that you believe can do the job, can cause issues down the line when it is not clearly and legally stated that the job requires certain things, such as lifting, bending, stooping, and the percentage of the time of each of these.
2. Job B Has a FLSA Job Description that is presented to the candidate or current employee so that they know what exactly is required of them. Is this a way to get rid of an employee? No. Would this be a safety mechanism for the employer, Yes.
3. Job C Has no FLSA Job Description, and the company states that pregnant women cannot work in this position due to chemicals that may cause birth defects in unborn children.
In and amongst these three jobs there are dangers, cautions, and positives. They are:
– Dangers FLSA allows for an employer to only write a job description that informs the employee, not restrict the employee (i.e. Cannot work inside of a building, Cannot work in a certain area) Under no circumstances should an employer re-write a job description in order to cause an employee to be either re-assigned or terminated.
– Cautions Perfect example is Job C, as writing in the FLSA that there is a possible danger to Pregnant Women who work around chemicals that cause birth defects. You cannot keep a pregnant woman from working in that position, but even a waiver is loose for protection of the employer in case of litigation. One of the numerous chemicals is Ethylene Glycol Ether, checking your properly written Safety Manual and MSDS will tell you which ones are dangerous to this protected class of worker.
– Positives If the FLSA job description states clearly that there is repetitive lifting of 50 pounds of more, then an applicant that cannot do that, could be by-passed for one that can. For instance, John Doe applies and John has no ability to constantly lift 50 lbs or more, and Jane Doe applies for the same position and she can lift the weight, Jane is the obvious choice.
FLSA Job Descriptions can be confusing and if not done correctly be pages and pages long, to where if done correctly after an audit of these descriptions, simple and clean. There should be no or very little grey area in the description because that grey area is where employers get in trouble.
Call People Wise of Missouri, Inc. to complete this task, it is something that can give you as the employer a safety net, or a benchmark for issues that may arise.
This question is one that several employers ask themselves. To answer this question simply, protection. An effective, correctly written Employee Handbook can assist an employer not only protect them, but also cover themselves in the event of an Employee issue.
The Employee Handbook lists not only what an employer expects of an employee, but also what an employee expects of their employer. This relationship between employer and employee allows for the equal exchange of information, whether the company has 2 employees or 25,000 employees. Some of the many items that are in an effective handbook are:
1. Key Employment Policies
2. Federal Law Commitments
3. Definition of Employment.
4. Harassment Policies
5. Disciplinary Definitions
This Employee Handbook can be done with both At-Will employers, as well as C.B.A. (Collective Bargaining Agreement) employers. The wording within the handbook may be different with the two types, but the meat of the sandwich remains the same. Even if you have multiple locations in a city, state, or national, the verbiage or meat of the sandwich may be applicable to one place, but may need to be changed in another locality.
You do need to ask yourself as an employer, Do I have an effective Employee Handbook? If you cannot truthfully answer it with a resounding Yes, then a Handbook Legal Compliance Audit is in dire need. Writing an effective Employee Handbook in itself is not an easy task for business owners, as they have to run their businesses, not research the ins and outs of the applicable laws.
So take a moment, look around your desk, and find your Employee Handbook, and look at it and see if you are confident in it. If you are not confident, or if there is a single doubt about your Employee Handbook, it is time for an audit. These audits are simple and easy with a turn-around of about a work-week.
Call People Wise to complete this task, it is something that can give you as the employer a safety net, or a benchmark for issues that may arise.
October 13, 2008
With immigration law heating up, it is imperative that businesses small and large alike understand their responsibilities. This video tutorial gives an overview of the history, proper completion, storage, and destruction regulations, of the Form I-9.
October 3, 2008
I recently came across an article titled “30 Interview Questions You Can’t Ask and 30 Sneaky, Legal Alternatives to Get the Same Info” on HR World, which caused quite a stir. Check out the article and the comments at http://www.hrworld.com/features/30-interview-questions-111507/.
Why all the outrage in the HR community? The article, although filled with good information, was presented as a way to use legal questions in order to try to trick the applicant into revealing information that we can only assume would allow the interviewer to make a hiring decision based on discriminatory criteria.
The bottom line is this, the EEOC does not mandate what questions can be asked in an interview. The interview (and its questions) is not the issue; it is what criteria you use to make the hiring decision that matters. You should hire the most qualified person for the position using only criteria that makes sound business sense for the position in which you are hiring.
Here are five quick tips to keep your hiring legal and to get the right person for the job.
- Take the time to create a detailed job description. This should include the physical requirements for the job, the hours and travel needs, the required skills, experience, and education needed to perform that job, and the personal attributes that are aligned with the business’s desired value and culture (to ensure organizational fit).
- Use the job description to create a structured interview. A structured interview simply means one in which every applicant is asked the same questions. This is a best practice because it ensures consistency which can help to keep the interviewer on the right track, and gives you consistent criteria to compare in order to make the best decision in the end.
- Take notes. These notes should be kept for one year. If you are ever questioned about a hiring decision it is imperative that you are able to look back at the notes from every candidate for that position to show why you made the decision that you made, again, based on business need. One word of caution – only write notes that have to do with the business criteria. Do not jot down things that could be construed as discriminatory such as; has three kids, will be ready for retirement in three years, overweight, etc.
- Don’t go it alone. Always have more than one interviewer present during an interview. This will not only protect you in a he-said/she-said situation but can also negate the affects of stereotyping or hiring from your gut. The other person will help to balance you out by giving you another perspective.
- Don’t stereotype. Everyone does it to some extent or another but in an employment decision it can get you in trouble and will not yield you the best employee for the job in the end.
Here’s an example: you are hiring an account supervisor who needs to be available to travel with very little notice. You interview Sue who mentions her six kids during idle chit-chat with the receptionist and you overhear. Next, you interview Bob who is a 20 something bachelor. You assume that Sue might have a hard time picking up at the drop of a hat where Bob will be available whenever you need him. However, the reality is that Sue’s husband is a stay-at-home dad and Bob is responsible for his elderly mother and can not travel overnight.
If a job has a particular requirement such as travel, heavy lifting, long hours, physically challenging environments, or whatever. Make them clear during the interview and ask (every applicant) if they can meet that requirement. When they answer, take them at face value.
Remember, interviewing is not easy. Even the most seasoned of HR professionals makes a bad hiring decision from time to time. However, by taking a systematic approach and using tools such as the job description, structured interview questions, pre-employment tests, and background and reference checks you can increase your chances of a good hire by up to 80%.