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Many federal employment laws can apply to the hiring process. Even if you are a small business, it’s always recommended that you follow legally compliant policies from the start. When hiring an employee, you should consider both your application and your interview process.
There are two ways to classify an employee: exempt or nonexempt. Nonexempt employees are typically paid hourly (though it’s not required) and are eligible for overtime. Exempt employees are usually paid on a salary basis and are not eligible for overtime. Many employers like to classify their employees as exempt, pay a set salary, and avoid overtime. However, it is not that easy. In fact, classifying an employee incorrectly can result in massive fines and penalties for the employer.
Misclassifying employees as independent contractors is the subject of a growing list of court cases, government agency investigations, and legislative initiatives. Numerous state and federal agencies have been cracking down on misclassification, and for good reason: Misclassification is blamed for putting worker rights in jeopardy and for being the source of billions in lost tax revenue. So what should employers do?
No business is immune from employee turnover. Losing an employee, whether the separation is voluntarily or not, can be costly in claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. The financial impact may not be felt right away because an unemployment benefit is not money that an employer pays directly out of pocket (except for a non-profit organization). But rather, employers must pay both state and federal unemployment taxes that are deposited into the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund from which benefits are awarded and those rates can be affected.
It seems somewhat evident on what you should do when an employee steals – but is it really? Employee theft is an unpleasant reality in the workplace, but when the employee is still on the job, at least the employer can easily confront the worker. But what’s an employer to do if the theft is discovered after the employee leaves the job and moves out of state? Does the errant worker get off scot-free?
One of the most misunderstood and misapplied sections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) deals with overtime and comp time. To illustrate the confusion, consider this example: you have a nonexempt salaried employee who will be working an extra six hours each week for additional training for her position. The extra hours will result in overtime hours each week. The employee is requesting comp time instead of overtime pay. Can you let her track the hours she works (including the training time) and ask her to sign a form indicating her desire to waive overtime pay and instead receive comp time? If so, should the comp time be given to her at time and a half?
Attendance problems can lower workplace morale and significantly disrupt employee productivity as all employers depend on employees arriving for their scheduled shifts. Failure to arrive to work may present an especially difficult problem if the employee with an attendance problem is an otherwise excellent employee. Nonetheless, employee attendance is an issue that must be dealt with and following the guidelines below will make the process much easier, and help to ensure that all employees are treated equally.
With all the talk of moving the exemption status, we are seeing an up-tick in calls about managing issues with those employees who are exempt who struggle with employees straggling in late or not coming in at all is often at the top of the list of employer frustrations. The problem can lead employers to devise creative solutions, such as requiring management employees to clock in and even docking their pay when they’re late. But a solution that’s legal is more important than one that’s creative.
Want to avoid lawsuits? Make your own case in advance so you can be more confident a law firm won’t want to take your ex-employee’s case. Plaintiff attorneys assess the opportunity before choosing to represent a client: your company’s policies and practices can discourage their interest. You can make sure it would be a bad investment for the attorneys.
How many times have you encountered these mistakes: • Employees disciplined for doing something they have a legal right to do-like take intermittent FMLA or make an EEO complaint • Inconsistent discipline that appears to be discrimination • Discipline without hearing the employee's side of the story • Overly harsh discipline to show "who's boss" • Overly lenient discipline for a well-liked worker • And-just as bad-failure to discipline when it is clearly called for. All these mistakes are understandable in untrained supervisors, but that doesn't mean the mistakes aren't expensive. Here are some basic tips for supervisors that make discipline easier to manage from day one.