Thursday, January 31, 2013

EEO Laws - ADA


Have you ever walked around your office space and wonder about your handicapped/handicapable friends?  Have you considered whether they would be able to do a job or how they might accomplish it.  This brings me to the topic of today’s post, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  As always, please feel free to comment about your opinions and experiences below.

EEO Laws - ADA

Building off of the previous Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the ADA was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, allowing those with disabilities to seek accommodation in modern life, especially in dealing with employment.  The law also makes hiring, firing, promotion, training, and other employment choices based upon one’s disabled status discriminatory and illegal.  The ADA defines a disability as, “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.”

Employment

Discrimination of disabled workers is illegal.  If a company has 15 or more employees, they must comply with the ADA.  However, any job applicant must meet the qualifications required of a job to be hired.  A disabled applicant without the necessary job qualifications will be treated the same as a non-disabled applicant without the necessary job qualifications.  In interviewing a disabled person, managers and HR reps should focus on the individuals match with the job qualifications and not the disability.  In the event the disability is obvious (example: Lifeguard candidate that only has one leg), a potential employer may ask the applicant to describe how they would be able to perform specific job duties.  When interviewing a disabled candidate, be sure to only ask job function related questions.  It is okay for an interviewer to explain the process for an applicant to request accommodation, if it is needed.

Medical Testing

Under the ADA, an employer may require that a disabled employee or job applicant undergo a medical test to determine the physical capability of the worker to complete their job-related functions.  However, they may require this of the disabled workers, only if all non-disabled workers are also required.  The Medical Testing is not allowed to happen prior to making a job offer, but it can be a condition placed on a job offer.  Employers that that do this will need to keep their medical records entirely private with three exceptions:

- Managers and Supervisors can be informed of any work restrictions placed on the employee and what accommodations may be necessary.
- First aid and safety responders can be informed if they may be required for emergencies.
- Government officials investigating ADA compliance may view records.

Some perceived medical conditions are not considered to be covered under the ADA.  Conditions such as Kleptomania, Pyromania, Compulsive Gambling, Psychotropic Flashbacks, and Illegal Drug Use is not protected under the ADA.

Accommodation

Disabled persons should be accommodated in the workplace so long as it does not cause any undue hardship to a company or organization.  The accommodations may not cause a threat to workplace safety, or the health and well-being of themselves and others.  Employers should allow applicants and employees to offer their own suggestions about how they can best be accommodated.  Some examples of reasonable accommodations that could be requested might include:

- Providing larger print so text may be read by those that might be vision impaired.
- Changing work hours to allow for a medical treatment
- Adjusting the height of a desk or workstation.
- Providing keyboards or phones with larger buttons for those with poor hand-eye coordination

The employer does need to be made aware of the need for accommodation.  They cannot accommodate for a disability if they have not been made aware, nor can they be held accountable in a court of law for not accommodating if it was not requested.  Employers may offer less expensive alternatives to requested accommodations, if the request accommodation is deemed too expensive.

The ADA has made it possible for those handicapped/handicapable to be able to work with dignity and respect. 

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful Links



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

OSH Act

Are you keeping your workers safe?
Don your hard hats and your rubber gloves!  It is time for us to talk about safety regulation.  I had my hands on experience with these regulations back when I was in the Navy.  Working within a nuclear power plant, everything we did down to the cleaning chemicals we used, was governed at some level by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  I know some of you have had experience with these safety regulations; please feel free to post your own opinions and comments below.

OSH Act

Today I would like to take a break from out discussion of EEO Laws to talk a little bit about worker safety through the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act and the General Duty Clause.  Prior to the enactment of this law, there were few rules governing the safety of workers.  There were many people that were killed or maimed in work related incidents.  The OSH act was signed into law by President Nixon in 1970 to allow for a safer labor environment for workers.  Since then, millions of people have benefited from the protections of these regulations.  The regulations formed by the OSH act are overseen by OSHA.  The Act itself looks to reduce hazards in the workplace.  Hazards can come in a variety of different forms.  There are those covered by the OSH act that are general in nature, such as fire protection, working surfaces, and first aid.  There are also those that are designed to be specific to an industry.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

It would take a very long time to go through all of the OSH act and other supporting regulations.  However, one thing that was really brought to the forefront as a result of the OSH act was the use of PPE.  PPE can include:

Respirators
Ventilation Fans
Protective Gloves
Boots and Foot Protection
Electrical Protective Devices
Eye Protection and Goggles
Ear Plugs...
And many more.

It is required that all businesses determine whether workers would benefit through the requirement of PPE protection.  Each company should consider any hazards present in their workplace, and design a safety program around it.  This program should include training for each employee in the proper use of safety equipment.  There should also be a method workers can use to report unsafe conditions and also a procedure that is designed to ensure any dangers are addressed by management.

General Duty Clause

The General Duty Clause comes from Section 5 of the OSH act.  Specifically, it states, “Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”  The clause goes on to state that it is up to each employee to follow the safety rules.  The importance of the General Duty Clause is that it makes the employer responsible for any “recognized hazard” in the workplace, whether it is covered by a standard or not.  A hazard is determined to be recognized if it is common knowledge in the industry and if it is detectable by the senses; or if it is a widely known industry issue even if it has not been detected by the senses. 

Failure to provide a safe environment to your workers can open an employer up to all kinds of lawsuits.  It should be part of a risk management program for every company to provide, maintain, and enforce safety standards.  The OSH act has had widespread implications, but it is up to all of us to be mindful of safety.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.



Useful Links



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

EEO Laws - ADEA


As people get older, some of them may wonder if they are being discriminated against in the workplace.  In 2011, the EEOC received over 23,000 official complaints of age discrimination, an increase of 35% increase over the last 10 years.  This brings us to the next part of my series on Equal Employment Opportunity laws.  Have you have ever been discriminated against due to age, or have ever seen anything related to it in your workplace?  Leave a comment down below.

EEO Laws - ADEA

Happy Sunday Morning!  I hope that you have your cup of coffee ready to go, because today we are going to discuss the EEO law known as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).  Employees do not stay young forever.  Job Searchers and Applicants hair may turn grey or fall out over time.  In the past, it was possible that people found it harder to get jobs and keep jobs simply due to their age.  When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was being debated in congress, some argued that age discrimination should be included.  At that time, it was determined that further study would be necessary, and it was not included as a protected group.  However, following studies that showed workers over the age of 40 were being forced into retirement, looked over for promotions, and having their job applications ignored.  Therefore, Congress passed the ADEA.

The law makes it illegal “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age”.  Any workers over the age of 40 may be able to make a claim of age discrimination.  At one time there was a maximum age, but that limitation was later removed. 

Workers or applicants that feel they have a case of age discrimination may place a claim with the EEOC.  They have a 180 day deadline to file from the time the discriminatory act occurs.  Workers under 40 cannot claim reverse discrimination, as employers are not prohibited from favoring older workers over younger ones.  Workers may not be forced to retire at a given age; although there are some exceptions to this such as age limits for air traffic controllers.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful Links



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Casual Friday: HR Crossword Puzzle


Welcome to another next installment of "Casual Friday," my lighter look at something in Human Resources, Management, or Business.  I know this post is going up a day late, but it took a little longer to put this one together.  Today, I have a Human Resources crossword puzzle for you.  



Casual Friday: HR Crossword Puzzle

Crossword puzzles can be a fun and useful way of building your HR vocabulary. Use the descriptions as a clue to the word in the corresponding blank spaces. Please enjoy completing the crossword puzzle below.


Click on puzzle to view full image.  
Scroll down below the disclaimer for the solution.


Across:
1. One to two pages is an ideal length for this job history document.
4. One of the statuses or classes protected under Title VII.
5. A diminutive name given by opponents of the PPACA.
7. Something that is set by giving employees clear goals and objectives.
9. For fear of the flu, hospital workers were recently terminated for failure to have this done.
12. This kind of animal may help a disabled individual overcome a handicap.
Down:
2. Under the PPACA, the Medical Loss Ratio governs the how premiums are used under this.
3. A technological tool that may assist when giving presentations.
6. An organization targeted at educating and promoting Human Resources professionals.
8. This kind of interview determines initial suitability and often takes place over a phone.
10. Prejudicial treatment of different groups or classes of people.
11. During the interview process, an HR rep might call one to confirm applicant information.
13. The Equal Pay Act protects against pay gaps due to this status.
14. These kinds of surveys help guide management decisions about pay ranges.
15. This is Bona Fide and allows for legal discrimination based on essential job functions.


And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Crossword Solution:  Click to expand














Thursday, January 24, 2013

EEO Laws - Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)


I hope that you are having a great morning.  Some time ago, it was not unheard of for a woman to be paid less for doing the same job as a man.  This may even continue in some places today.  This is illegal and brings us to the subject of my next post.  As always, I would love to hear your own experiences or opinions on the matter.  Please add to the discussion in the comments section below.

EEO Laws - Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

Today I would like to continue with our dialogue on EEO Laws.  We will now touch on the topic of the Equal Pay Act of 1963.  Signed into law by President John F. Kennedy, the law prohibits compensation discrimination on the basis of sex.  It effectively provides that a woman should be paid equally and fairly for producing the same work as if a man were in the same position. 

The act provides that the following are the reasons why the pay disparity was abolished:
-- Lowers wages and living standards
-- Prevents maximum productivity of workforce
-- Causes disputes in the workplace over pay gaps
-- Burdens commerce 
-- Unfair competition

Same Job?

There are a series of qualifications which may be tested to see if a job one employee is similar enough that they ought to be getting paid the same as another.  In the case of the EPA, specifically between a job a female is doing versus a male counterpart.  The qualifications looked at include Skill, Responsibility, Effort, Working Conditions, Establishment.  For Skill, consider what knowledge and aptitude is needed for a job; is it the same for both?  For Responsibility, you will want to look at the accountability one has in a job, as well as their ability to delegate work.  Effort looks at the physical and mental exertion needed to complete a job.  For Working Conditions, consider the risks and environmental situations that both employees are working in.  Lastly, consider where the work takes place, also known as the Establishment.  Are they both working in the same location?  If you can answer yes to these questions, you ought to consider the jobs equal and they should be receiving the same pay.

When correcting unequal pay, you must be careful to never lower the wages of the person currently receiving more money.  You are only allowed to raise up the person that was making less.

Lawsuits and Filing

Human Resources representatives and managers will want to take seriously any claims a worker makes on the basis of compensation and gender disparity.  Employees that feel that they are receiving less money for producing the same work as a member of the opposite sex may choose to file a lawsuit.  Under the EPA, employees can take their employer directly to court without first filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  All forms of compensation are covered under the EPA including stock options, bonus plans, reimbursement of travel expenses, and benefits.  The EPA does not have any time limit for filing a suit, but if an employee is also filing a claim under Title VII, they will likely follow that 180 day deadline per the EEOC.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.



Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Monday, January 21, 2013

EEO Laws - Title VII (Part 2)


Today I would like to continue our discussion of Title VII.  On both a legal and on an ethical level for Managers and Human Resources Professionals, it is important to treat individuals in “Protected Groups” in a non-discriminatory way.  As always, please feel free to provide your own thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

EEO Laws - Title VII 
(Part 2)

Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications (BFOQ)

There are occasions in hiring in which a company may be able to discriminate legally.  This discrimination is known as a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification.  The BFOQs relate to essential functions required to carry out a job.  There may be some jobs that may require personal features which are necessary to properly perform a job.  For example, astronauts in NASA currently are required to be between 62 and 75 inches in height.  This is because NASA’s equipment is designed to fit that specific range of heights safely.  Someone that is 79 inches tall might not be able to get their suit on for a spacewalk.  Therefore, it this situation, it would be okay to discriminate in hiring against those taller or shorter than the acceptable height range.

Per the Cornell University Law website:
Title VII permits you to discriminate on the basis of "religion, sex, or national origin in those instances where religion, sex, or national origin is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business or enterprise." This narrow exception has also been extended to discrimination based on age through the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). This exception does not apply to discrimination based on race.

If you think that a position may require a BFOQ as part of the job description, it is obviously essential that you discuss it with a lawyer.  You would not want to be drawn into a lengthy court proceeding.  Consider that since 1997, Hooters restaurant has paid out millions of dollars in out of court settlements because of their position that female sexuality is a BFOQ.  Be careful to ensure that your BFOQ is actually essential to being able to complete a job.

Disparate Impact

One other special item to consider from Title VII is the area of Disparate Impact.  In the process of forming company policies and in creating job postings, be mindful that discrimination is not unintentionally supported.  Under Griggs v Duke Power Co., the Supreme Court ruled that a plaintiff only needs to prove adverse impact and not adverse intent.  A policy that appears to be neutral, but which results in a protected group being discriminated against, can still be held liable.   In the example of the Griggs case, the requirement of a High School Diploma and high IQ test scores were decided to be unfair, as these requirements were not directly affecting the ability of a person to complete a job.

Thank you for staying with me through this post.  I hope that you all have a happy and productive day.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Saturday, January 19, 2013

EEO Laws - Title VII (Part 1)


It is important on both a legal and on an ethical level for Managers and Human Resources Professionals to treat individuals in “Protected Groups” in a non-discriminatory way.  That brings us to today’s topic of discussion, Title VII.  Due to length, this will be a two-part post.  As always, please feel free to provide your own thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

EEO Laws - Title VII (Part 1)

The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.  This act ended the enforcement of “separate but equal” laws and made discrimination legal.  There are several titles under the act, covering areas such as voter registration, school desegregation, and jury make-ups in civil rights cases.  Title VII looked specifically at the laws regarding employment discrimination.  One of the earliest Equal Employment Opportunity laws, Title VII gave protection to defined groups that may have been vulnerable to unfair selection processes.

Protected Groups

So what are the Protected Groups?  According to Title VII, these are race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.  Later, other groups would be added through more recent EEO laws.  Courts use the definition of race provided by the Civil Rights Law of 1866, “any ethnic minority”.  A 1971 Supreme Court case determined that the definition of sex under Title VII could mean either male or female.  In 1912, Cortezano v. Salin Bank & Trust defined that Title VII covers ancestry but does not extend to citizenship status.  All of these protected groups have been determined to be unfairly targeted and in need of special safeguards. 

Safeguards

Under Title VII, Employers with over 15 workers must observe and safeguard these Protected Groups.  Job Descriptions cannot discriminate.  The employer cannot refuse hire or terminate on the basis of an individual’s status in those protected groups.  Within the company, employees cannot be segregated or barred membership from activities based on status.  Offerings such as training should be provided fairly and not unfairly required.  Title VII also extends to Unions, ensuring the Labor Organizations are also unable to discriminate.  Title VII also provides for fair compensation, making it illegal to provide different levels of compensation for a position based on an individual’s status.

Exemptions

There are a few parts of Title VII that do list exemptions.  Communists or those acting as a front to Communist organizations are not protected.  Religious organizations such as churches are allowed to discriminate on the basis of religion.  National Security can be an acceptable defense for refusing to hire or terminate a person based on national origin.

In my next post, we will continue our discussion of Title VII.  You can expect that we will discuss Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications and Disparate Impact.  Please feel free to leave a comment.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.

Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dance-Offs In The Office


Hang on to your dancing shoes as we welcome to another next installment of "Casual Friday," my lighter look at something in Human Resources, Management, or Business. Today I want to discuss the toe-tapping phenomenon of Dance-Offs.  Please take a moment at the end of my post to comment on any of your own experiences with Dance-Offs in the office. 

Dance-Offs In The Office

Typically spontaneous, Dance-Offs may happen in your office space.  If they do, you had better be ready to act.  From an effective management point-of-view, it would be best to stop these as soon as possible.  Remind everyone involved that they are on the clock and kindly ask them to return to their desks.  This is where it should end.  However, in the event that you are unable or unwilling to stop the madness, here are a few general rules you may want to consider:

1)  The first rule of Office Dance-Off, is you do not talk about Office Dance-Off.
2)  The second rule is you do not talk about Office Dance... Oh, who are we kidding.  The only reason to have a Dance-Off is so you can brag that you beat the guy in the cubicle down the hall.  Everyone is going to hear about this.
3)  Seriously though, who picked out this music?  An 80’s wedding singer?

Okay, this list is not going as well as I had expected.  Allow me to start over.  Here are a few general rules you may want to consider:

1)  Move it.  As there may be some people in the office on a call with a client or working on a deadline, you may want to move the Dance-Off to an area such as the Cafeteria or Break Room.

2)  Time it.  Try to limit the Dance-Off to no more than 30 minutes.  This should be an adequate amount of time to allow the participants to recharge their batteries with a mid-day diversion.

3)  Hands Off!  Whatever form of dancing is going on, it is highly recommended that you encourage participants to keep their hands to themselves.  The last thing that you need is a Sexual Harassment lawsuit.

4)  Fairness.  Anyone that wants to dance should be given the opportunity - do not discriminate.  Also, consider allowing every participant to have an opportunity to select some of the music.

5)  Groove it.  All for one, and one for all.  If you want to generate some office camaraderie, get out on the Cafeteria floor and show them how you used to get down on the Middle School dance floor back in 1992.

I will admit that I have never seen an actual Office Dance-Off in any of my workplaces, but conceivably it could happen under the right circumstances.  Perhaps you have seen a few.  Perhaps you have won a few.  I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments section below.  I would like to leave you now with this amusing dance I found on YouTube by Ricky Gervais from the UK’s “The Office”


And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

EEO Laws - Introduction

EEO Laws Make Discrimination Illegal
Whenever a Manager or Human Resources representative does anything, they should keep legality, ethics, and fairness in the back of their minds.  The next major topic I would like to tackle are discussions of the major Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and related laws.  As always, feel free to leave a comment.

EEO Laws - Introduction

There are 10 primary EEO and related laws that have been enacted to protect your employees.  These will govern an employer’s actions throughout the employment process.  These laws will safely guide a company through sticky issues such as discrimination in hiring, accommodation of the handicapped/handicapable, and what happens to reservists’ jobs when they are called up by the military.

The major laws that we will be exploring over the next few weeks with regards to equal employment opportunities are as follows:

--- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII)

--- Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

--- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

--- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

--- Rehabilitation Act of 1973

--- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

--- Civil Rights Act of 1991

--- Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974

--- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)

--- Executive Orders Covering Government Contractors and Sex Discrimination Guidelines

As some of you may already be familiar with these laws, please feel free to comment below.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.

Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn

Monday, January 14, 2013

Benefits of Performance Management


Today I would like to talk a little bit more about improving the effectiveness and accuracy of your employees.  Today I would like to talk about the benefits of Performance Management.  If you have any comments, please feel free to leave them at the bottom.

Benefits of Performance Management

If you have a worker that is not pulling their weight, do you do nothing, waiting for them to do something so egregious that you can fire them?  No, you try to fix the problem and improve on the situation.  You help your employees become better employees.  Here are some benefits of not giving up on Performance Management:

1)  Improved quality
2)  Improved communication
3)  Better Organizational Alignment
4)  Increased Organizational Output
5)  Reduced Management Time
6)  Increased employee independence
7)  Increase employee satisfaction

All 7 of these add up to one big benefit - Increased potential profitability for the company.  When your employees are all working at their peak, you will be able to do more with fewer resources at a lower cost, therefore generating higher revenues and higher profits.  So does it not make sense to help your employees out in their jobs.  If your company does not have a formal Performance Management program in place, they may seriously want to consider starting one.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans. 



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

PPACA, the Supreme Court, Contraceptive Pills, and Employers

Some issues surrounding the Patient Protection Affordability and Care Act (PPACA) are still being hammered out in courts and workplaces.  One employer, Hobby Lobby, disagrees with a contraception requirement and is facing potential excise taxes as a result.  As this may be a controversial topic, please feel free to leave a comment about your own experiences and your own opinions.

PPACA, the Supreme Court, Contraceptive Pills, and Employers

As of January 1st, resulting from passage of the PPACA, arts and crafts retailer Hobby Lobby faced a $100 per participant per day per plan excise tax for failure to offer their employees the “morning after pill” as part of their health benefits package.  Hobby Lobby maintains that they should be protected from offering this due to the religious objections of the company’s owners.  Overall, this will result in approximately $1.3 million per day fines for the company.

On 12/26/2012, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor rejected an appeal on the case, as it still had not been heard in a Court of Appeals.  Following her decline to grant an injunction on the mandate for contraception protection, the company faced the steep fines.  However, the company claims that they have discovered a loophole in the IRS regulations behind the fines.   Lawyers for the Hobby Lobby are going to take advantage of a “grandfather clause” which will postpone the date in which they will be required to comply with the contraception mandate.  According to general counsel Peter Dobelbower, "Hobby Lobby does not provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs in its health care plan.  Hobby Lobby will continue to vigorously defend its religious liberty and oppose the mandate and any penalties."

The Hobby Lobby case is due to be heard in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in the near future; a date has not yet been set.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans. 

Relevant Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Pets in the Office

Will your office allow pets to roam?
Welcome to another next installment of "Casual Friday," my lighter look at something in Human Resources, Management, or Business. Do you love the idea of fur on your keyboard?  Have you heard barks coming from your neighbor’s cubicle?  If so, you may have pets at your workplace.  Let the fur fly?  Please take a moment at the end of my post to comment on any of your own experiences with animals in the office.  

Pets in the Office

Allowing pets in the office can be a great non-monetary benefit that you could offer your employees as part of a Total Rewards package.  It can also help foster creativity and encourage worker socialization.  So, what is your company’s policy about having animals at work?  How will you handle an employee that brings their cute Tabby into work?  Will your policy be any different for the employee that brings in a Doberman, a Bunny, or even a Boa Constrictor?  These are a few things to consider.  Should your company ban pets outright?  There are a number of things that should be weighed when developing a pet policy for an office workplace.

Service Animals

For any number of reasons, some individuals require the assistance of an animal to overcome a handicap or medical situation.  These working animals are considered “Service Animals” and not pets.  Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.”  Interestingly enough, the ADA also says “In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.”  Under the ADA, unless the service animal creates undue hardship in the workplace, reasonable accommodation should be made to allow for the worker using a service animal.

Pet Policy

Having lovable creatures at work can lower stress and possibly lead to higher productivity.  However, some workers might not appreciate pets in the office or they may be allergic.  If your company decides to allow, or even encourage, people bringing their pets to work, what should your policy look like?  Here are a few ideas to include:

Pet size - Consider limiting the pet based on weight or height.  This will help ensure that none of your workers bring in a giant bear.

Pet type - Consider limiting the pets to a specific type such as cats or dogs.  This will help to avoid rodent situations should a worker want to bring in an army of pet gerbils.  The last thing that an employer wants to deal with is rodents loose in the office.

Pet Zones - Consider creating pet-free zones so those that do not appreciate the animals have a place to retreat to.  This should include areas where there might be food, such as the cafeteria.

Cleanliness - Consider a requirement that pets be housebroken and any messes they make must be cleaned up immediately by the owner.

Space - Consider a requirement that pets remain in a crate or within the confines of the owner’s cubicle.  A leash requirement could also assist with keeping pets from entering pets from entering neighboring cubicles.

Safety and Noise - Consider a notice that employees with unruly pets may be sent home without pay.

Pets in the office can be a great non-monetary incentive to bring talent into the workplace.  It can increase happiness and cheer among the workers.  If the work environment is appropriate, employers may want to consider adopting a pet friendly policy.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful Links:
http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/30/how-bring-your-dog-to-work-days-could-lower-stress/
http://www.hrhero.com/hl/articles/2008/03/21/pets-in-the-office/
http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm
http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
http://askjan.org/media/servanim.html



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Women In The Boardroom


One of the things that should be important to Human Resources Departments and Management Professionals everywhere is diversity; and not just at the bottom, but at the top.  According to a 2012 survey by Catalyst, only 16.6 percent of boardrooms have directors that are women.  This is something decision makers should keep in mind during the nominating process.  A board with more diversity can more effectively govern a diverse working body.   

This represents the seventh consecutive year with no progress in the representation of women on public boards of directors—a notable finding in a country where women make up more than half of the population and have a higher level of educational attainment than men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.” - Rebecca Hastings, Getting Women Into The Boardroom

When you look to your Board of Directors, how many women are filling the posts there?  The next time a place opens up on the board, perhaps it would be beneficial to encourage the nominating committee to invite more women into the process.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful link:
http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/Diversity/Articles/Pages/Getting-Women-In-Boardrooms.aspx



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Expectation Communication


Sometimes your employee may appear to be missing all of their goals.  However, they may simply not understand what is expected of them.  I would like to take a moment to discuss communicating expectations.  Please feel free to leave a comment about your own experiences with HR and manager expectations.

Expectation Communication

In order to properly manage your employees’ performance, you need to provide them with a clear set of expectations.  If the employees are not informed of your goals and requirements for their position, how can they be expected to do it right.  It is suggested that you provide expectations in three phases:  Job Description, New Employee, and Familiarized Employee.

Job Description - The first step in ensuring a worker is able to meet your expectations is to get the right person in the job.  Be sure to include any base level requirements such as “Must be able to lift 20 lbs” or “Must be available weekends” in the job description.

New Employee - After an employee has been hired, a set of early expectations should be provided to them.  Give them a list of things that they will be expected to complete.  Be sure to include orientation tasks such as “Complete benefits paperwork” and “Arrive to work on time” in the list of new employee expectations.  You will want to be careful not to overload and overwhelm the new employee.  Until they are on their feet, you should wait to give them the full list of their job’s requirements.

Familiarized Employee - After a period of 2 to 6 weeks, you should be able to provide the full list of job requirements to the employee.  At this point, they may not be adequately trained to perform the job completely yet, but at least they will know what their goal needs to be. 

Providing workers with their expectations will enable them to meet or exceed them.  Be sure to clearly communicate your expectations.  Do not be vague.  Put it on paper, then sit down and discuss it with them.


And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

PowerPoint For Training


How many of you have sat through endless training, made even more endless through the use of PowerPoint?  Scott Adams has referred to this as "PowerPoint poisoning" in hid Dilbert comics.  More effective use of PowerPoint can help reduce this problem.  Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion down below about your own experiences with PowerPoint in a training environment.

PowerPoint For Training

Today I would like to talk briefly about using PowerPoint For Training.  Human Resources departments, Training Departments, and Management are frequently required to produce presentations.  PowerPoint was rolled out by Microsoft on May 22, 1990.  Prior to that day, presentations may have relied on a speaker’s knowledge and speaking ability, along with how ambitious a trainer wanted to get with photographic slides or large paper pads.  Due to the effort of putting together these low tech solutions, speakers perhaps used them less frequently and were more focused in their presentations.  Now with PowerPoint, you have a powerful tool that can be relied on too heavily sometimes.  First, you should ask yourself whether PowerPoint is really necessary to get your information across to your audience.  If decide that you are going to use PowerPoint, there are a number of things you can do to make your presentations more effective.

Shorter is Better

In PowerPoint, it is easy to create slides.  You can even copy and paste your existing slides to double the length of your presentation.  You can make a slide for every sub-feature of your current product line or service, and you can break that down into its individual components.  However, should you?  The length of your presentation should only be as long as it needs to be to get the point across.  No longer.  Quality over quantity.

Transitions and Animation

I would suggest using these features sparingly.  A simple fade from slide to slide can be useful at keeping a presentation flowing.  Many of the other transition effects can come off amateurish and unprofessional.  I am not saying that you can never use a Vortex or a Cube to move from slide to slide, but really consider the context.  Animation works the same way.  As a general rule, keep it simple.  With animations, you only want to use a few simple motions to illustrate a point.  Too many transitions and animations will leave your audience dazed; forgetting the content of your presentation and just remembering all of the graphics flying out at them.

Structure

Most presentations follow a linear, hierarchical structure.  Slides and bullets move from point to point.  PowerPoint has some very useful templates built into it to help beginners with building a slide show.  It enables a presenter to create points, followed by supporting points that fall underneath of the main point.  Again, it is easy to get obsessed and create a spiderweb of branching sub-points.  Just focus on delivering quality content, not quantity.

Interaction

Try to incorporate elements into your presentation to draw out your audience.  Ask questions in your PowerPoint, but make the students provide the answers.  Adding surveys, riddles, or games between major portions of your presentation can help engage your workers.  Also, consider asking for volunteers from the class to come to the front to describe their opinions about something on a slide.  A presentation is about the people you are training; about how you can best engage them and drive knowledge retention.  Interactive elements can make the presentation more memorable.

Voice Inflection

This applies to all presentations, and not those just given by PowerPoint.  Use the full range of your voice when presenting information.  It can be far too easy to drone on in an endless run-on sentence reading from PowerPoint slides talking on and on and on while your students drift away into sleep but you won’t notice because you are too busy reading from your slides... which can go on and on... forever and...

STOP IT.

Think about how you would want to hear the information given.  Then present it that way.  Use your voice to go up and down.  Stress various words and numbers.  Add pauses.  Stretch words.  Speak in a high pitch.  Engage the audience.  Use eye contact when speaking to them.  Do anything but be monotone, while reading directly from your slides.

I will probably return to the topic of Powerpoint in a future post, but for now, I need to sign off.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.

Interesting Links
http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/09/army-colonel-fired-for-powerpoint-rant-090210w/
http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2010/08/a-long-time-ago-before-death-by-powerpoint.html
http://www.edrev.info/brief/jan08.html#7



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

SHRM Annual Conference


Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend, but SHRM has their upcoming annual conference in Chicago from June 16-19. If you are interested in going, I suggest signing up now.  Prices go up on 1/11/12... that's just six days from now!

https://shrmstore.shrm.org/annual/index/register/



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Fruit in the Office


Welcome to my next installment of "Casual Friday," my lighter look at something in Human Resources, Management, or Business.  Today I want to talk about an experience I had some time back with fruit in the office.  Please take a moment at the end of my post to comment on any of your experiences with fruit in your own workplaces.

Fruit in the Office

Several years back, when I was working in Center City Philadelphia, the company had just been merged with a new parent out of Australia.  That company took great pride in the health of its employees, and it offered free fruit as a way to encourage healthy eating habits.  This at first seemed a little strange.  Every morning, a local vendor brought in several pounds of apples, pears, oranges, and bananas and deposited it to each floor in the building.  I was very cautious at first, but eventually I enjoyed a few of the apples.  It was a perk; a non-monetary incentive. 

Ultimately, the fruit was a great success.  It was great!  It encouraged all of the workers to eat healthier, including me.  I think that I lost several pounds after that happened.  For the company, long term, I imagine that it reduced their workers use of insurance as people unintentionally fell into healthier eating habits.  It was really quite something to behold.  I also think that the free fruit helped the workers accept the merger, as there was a clear benefit to the employees that was immediately realized.  Looking back, the fruit was a wonderful incentive and I wish I saw other employers encouraging healthy eating like this.

What are your experiences with Fruit in the office?  What kind of eating is your workplace promoting?

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.



Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes.  Do not take what I am writing as advice.  Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions.  The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.


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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Flu Shots: Legal Termination


Can a company terminate employees that refuse to have their flu shots?  This is a contemporary and somewhat controversial issue that I will be discussing in my post today.  As usual, I want to hear what you have to say.  Feel free to give your own comments or opinions below.

Flu Shots:  Legal Termination

The subject of whether a company has the right to terminate their employees over a flu shot came to light recently, as a group of 8 workers in Indiana were terminated.  The employees, out of IU Health Goshen Hospital, refused to get the shots on the basis of their religious beliefs and medical allergies.  Hospital policy had recently changed to require all employees to have their shots for the protection of the public they serve.  The employees had filed for exemptions, which were rejected.  Per hospital spokeswoman Melanie McDonald, “"The EEOC's guidelines specify that just because there are beliefs that are strongly held does not mean that they are protected by a religious blanket, so social, political and economic philosophies and personal preferences, those are not religious beliefs”.

The terminations may be legal.  The Joint Commission, which certifies health care organizations, has updated their requirements.  For hospitals to retain their certification, they are required to have a program in place to educate staff about the influenza virus and about the vaccine itself.  Hospitals must have a strategy in place to meet a 90% flu vaccination by 20/20.  Several states also have recently added laws requiring all health care workers have flu shots.  In response to these requirements and laws, hospitals have felt pressured to update their hiring and retention standards to include this flu shot requirement.  As laws are changing, some health care employers are legally obligated to make these terminations.  Many workers and unions are fighting these organizations in court.  In Washington state, for example, hospitals are now required to include mandatory flu shots as part of their collective bargaining agreements.

What do you think?  You may want to review you own state laws and company policies.    

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.

 

Links:
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/01/01/indiana-hospital-fires-8-workers-who-refused-flu-shot/
http://www.jointcommission.org/
http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/safetysecurity/articles/pages/flushotprogramsrequired.aspx
http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/safetysecurity/articles/pages/requiredfluvaccination.aspx
http://www.shrm.org/LegalIssues/StateandLocalResources/Pages/RI-Flu-Shots-lHealth-Care-Workers.aspx
http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/health-unions-sue-over-mandated-flu-shots/2012-12-10



Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes.  Do not take what I am writing as advice.  Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions.  The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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