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Symmetry Video Series


Motivating Employees: HR tips for getting employees motivated and engaged with your company.

Overtime Rule Temporarily Blocked

A federal district court in Texas temporarily blocked the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime rule on November 22, just days before it was scheduled to take effect. The judge who issued the order called the regulation “unlawful” and said such actions should be left to Congress. The temporary stay was granted an emergency injunction halting the regulation, which would have required employers to pay overtime to employees earning less than $913 per week ($47,476 annually) beginning December 1.

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How do we explain the need to change the FLSA overtime exemption?

This summer, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) indicated that under new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations issued in May, it might be necessary for various employers to change some workers’ overtime exemption. In a blog post on the DOL website, the agency also indicated that employees would be thrilled with the exemption change. The post appears to have been written by little pink fairies who were primarily interested in scattering pixie dust on the problem. However, it was an interesting counterpoint to news coverage with a clearly post-apocalyptic vision of the changes, more like a scene from Mad Max than your standard business environment. It is possible that employees could be thrilled, and it could all be cupcakes and roses. But it’s also possible that they could be incredibly upset about losing the “flexibility” that goes along with being an exempt employee. Time will tell. Regardless, here is what you should do to implement the changes.

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Dealing with Political Discussions at Work

As election season heats up, we thought it would be worthwhile to remind you about important issues to consider when you’re dealing with discussions about politics in the workplace. We hope our readers will relate to the experiences of Penelope, the fictional small business owner featured in this article.

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Late Time Cards & Reports Giving You Headaches?

You’d think employees would be eager enough for their paychecks that they would make sure to turn in time or reports submitted promptly. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, and employers may be tempted to withhold pay as a not-so-gentle reminder for workers to submit on time. That’s temptation best avoided as it could spell trouble for your business and you personally.

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Tips for protecting your most valuable assets – Your clients!

Significant time, money, and resources often go into developing client relationships, so it is only natural that businesses take steps to protect those intangible assets. Many employers require employees who have significant contact with clients to sign nonsolicitation agreements. However, executing and enforcing nonsolicitation agreements are two different matters. Like traditional noncompetes, nonsolicitation agreements are considered restraints on trade, and most courts will enforce them only if they are “reasonable.” In considering reasonableness, courts will typically assess three factors: (1) the employer’s interest in protecting its business, (2) the employee’s right to earn a living, and (3) the public’s interest in competitive markets. This article provides practical guidance to increase the likelihood that your nonsolicitation agreements will be enforced.

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Smell trouble? How to Deal with Fragrance Complaints

Perfume, air fresheners, even soap and shampoo are supposed to make the world more pleasant. But that’s not always the case, and those scented products can even present legal risks in the workplace. With many employees claiming an allergy or some other sensitivity to scented products, you may be tasked with solving an invisible, yet serious, problem that threatens the ability of employees to work together and, even more importantly, implicates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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Plan Now for Changes to the New Overtime Ruling

A regulatory change expected to make some 5 million more employees eligible for overtime pay will take effect on the 1st of December, but employers are urged to plan now how they will cope with the change. Employers are wondering how they will be affected by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed new rule dramatically altering which employees can be classified exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) guarantee of overtime pay.

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Tackling Exempt Workers’ Tardiness and Poor Attendance

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.

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Don’t Just Document, Document Correctly

If you’ve ever spoken to someone on our team you will have heard: Document, document, document. But just writing things down isn’t enough. We all need to recognize and avoid common documentation mistakes. Although the purpose of documentation is to minimize risks, it can come back to haunt if it’s done wrong. And if it’s not done at all, the employer is almost certain to be seen as the “big, bad employer” and a litigating employee is likely to be seen as the “poor, innocent employee.

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Unlimited Vacation Policies - Good Idea or License to Slack?

Employers have long used paid vacation policies as a compensation benefit and a means of enhancing employee productivity. To keep pace in a competitive hiring market, many start-ups offer employees the right to take “unlimited” paid vacation. While “unlimited vacation” policies do offer certain benefits, the law on such policies is currently undeveloped, and employers must pay careful attention to implementation and administration to minimize legal risks.

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