Tagged compliance

Top 5 HR Headaches to Avoid

Minimize HR Headaches and Avoid Costly Litigation

Human Resources is an important part of the functionality of any company. If it is not managed properly it can create a lot of headaches and cost employers thousands in legal fees and fines. Business owners need to have the proper policies and procedures in place, and they must manage and enforce those policies accordingly.

In order to minimize HR headaches and avoid litigation, it’s important to avoid these common HR mistakes. The legal problems most business owners encounter tend to fit into the following areas:

Employee Misclassification: Employers who improperly classify workers can run into serious penalties with regards to taxes, withholdings and overtime wages. The federal government has set national standards, and some of the key factors to consider are whether the employer has control over the individual’s work and provides him or her with the materials or tools needed to complete that work. If so, the worker will likely be deemed an employee, rather than a contractor. Full-time employees are eligible for overtime pay. Overtime pay varies from state-to-state, in some states employees must receive overtime pay if they work more than 8 hours a day when most states set their limits solely on how many hours they work in a week.

Lunch and Break Time: Employers can run into trouble if employees choose to stick around the workplace during their breaks. The same rule applies to workers who prefer to eat lunch at their desks. Conservative solutions to the problem include creating break rooms where no work is allowed, requiring employees to leave the premises for their entire break and recording the time accurately on their time card.

Employee Handbook: All employers, regardless of size, should have an employee handbook to help ensure that employees receive important information about company guidelines, procedures, and benefits. A well-written employee handbook can set expectations with regards to performance and conduct, address routine employee questions and satisfy various legal and regulatory requirements by communicating certain information to employees.

Discrimination and Harassment: Discrimination and harassment complaints are on the rise and they can spring up in just about any workplace. Employers need to familiarize themselves with which classes of individuals have certain discrimination protections under the law. It’s vital that business owners prepare for such situations before they happen. With the proper training, employers can ensure that decision-makers prohibit workplace harassment and discrimination and shield against a hostile work environment.

Exiting Procedures: Many companies have firing procedures in place but not all companies follow them. Employers can make firing decisions based on gut reactions or emotions but employment lawyers can look back to see whether policies that business owners themselves put in place were carried out appropriately before a firing was executed. The employer is expected to follow the evaluation and review process rather than just fire someone despite the fact the employee has exceptional performance reviews. Employers should document all employment decisions to show that the employer had a legitimate, nondiscriminatory business reason for a possible adverse action and to prove that the individual was given the opportunity to correct his/her performance violations.

Don’t wait until a serious accusation has been made. Seek outside help from HR professionals before it’s too late. HR Synergy, LLC provides outsourced HR Solutions for businesses and nonprofits across the US, from policy development, to risk assessment, to labor law compliance and more. Contact us today for more information.

Comp Time or Overtime, What’s Your Opinion?

For years, I have advised private-sector employers in how to be compliant with the overtime rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Many families today consist of both parents having to work to support the family.  This brings forth some work/life issues that were not so prevalent in earlier years.  Children in daycare or school, elderly parents, etc. who become ill or are unable to attend their normally scheduled day, need someone to care for them. This could mean requiring the caregiver, your employee, to take time away from his or her job.

Legislation is presently looking at whether or not compensatory time (comp time) should be allowed in lieu of overtime pay.

This could be a beneficial alternative for both the employer and the employee.  The challenge for employers is which is more affordable? Paying employees 1 ½ times their hourly rate for hours worked in excess of 40 or providing the employee with additional paid time off in lieu of overtime pay.

How would this affect you as an employer?