We are because it isn't.


Firing, a job to do right the first time

June 12th, 2018

hrsimple


"You’re fired." On The Apprentice, Donald Trump made it look so easy! For the rest of us, a poorly done termination could be costly. Emotions run high, there is a lot of paperwork involved, and an employer can end up with a big mess on their hands. Taking the time to do a termination properly can keep an employer out off court, so here are a few best practices to consider. 

  • Give the employee the chance to speak. In terminations, as in most things, people like to feel like they are being heard. Letting an employee let off steam or plead their case can be enough to avoid further issues. Take a few minutes to chat about the reasons behind the termination, but make sure to listen.
  • Get a reference release. Type up the basic facts of employment that would be given if a future prospective employer were to call looking for a reference down the line. Have the employee sign to avoid any future confusion or possible defamation accusations. 
  • Determine how the final paycheck will be given. Some states require final pay to be given within a certain amount of time, a few even require it be given immediately. 
  • Explain how the employee can arrange to receive benefits, if any, including COBRA continuation coverage.  Provide proper documents when applicable. 
  • Consider having the employee sign a release form. Having an employee sign a brief explanation of the reasons behind the termination and explaining that they understand any non-compete agreements or waivers of rights can be extremely useful to employers in the case of litigation.

While firing is probably not your favorite HR task (at least I hope it isn’t!), it is something that comes up now and again. Take the time to terminate correctly, otherwise you might have to fire someone twice…talk about awkward!

Job advertisement do’s and don’ts

June 12th, 2018

hrsimple


Finding the right person for a job can be tricky. You have to go through resumes, interviews, offer letters, the process can go on and on. A thing most employers don’t realize, is that they can be making costly mistakes from the first step: the job advertisement. A simple paragraph or two written by an employer can open a whole can of legal worms. Here are a few steps to take to make sure your job advertisement isn’t really looking for trouble.

Employee handbooks – getting a handle on your policies

June 12th, 2018

hrsimple


While there may be no state or federal law requiring an employer to have a handbook, there are a number or reasons why they are in an employer’s best interest. 

  • Usefulness. It is beneficial for there to be one definitive source on the terms of employment. If an employee ever has a question as to what is acceptable or not, they know where to turn.
  • Communication. An employee handbook gives an employer the opportunity to speak clearly on important issues. Handbooks can be a podium for employers to speak out against issues like sexual harassment, workplace violence, bullying, or drug use.
  • Clarity. Employee handbooks create consistency and uniformity in an environment where many people may be involved in the management process. Uniformly enforcing policies cuts down on discrimination claims by ensuring that all employees are treated equally.
  • Protection. In the case of a trial, jurors have been found to favor companies that have clearly communicated and enforced company policies ­– even if the employee didn’t follow them. The fact that the employer has communicated their disapproval shows an act of good faith.

A job worth doing is worth doing well

A handbook isn’t necessarily a get out of jail free card. Like any tool, if you don’t use your handbook properly it can end up hurting you.

  • Keep your employee handbook up-to-date. If your polices are outdated, they may prove inaccurate and useless. Say you have a policy that only prohibits talking on a cell phone while driving, but doesn’t mention texting. An employee has the right to assume that behavior is permissible, and you might be found at fault if an accident occurs.
  • Be sure to avoid promissory language. If your handbook discusses specific timelines, creates expectations of benefits, or doesn’t clearly outline that employment is at-will, courts can find that it acts as a binding contract.
  • Don’t make the handbook into an encyclopedia. Outlining how employees should file for unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation claims can do more harm to your business than good. Avoid discussing any internal practices, and just stick to the rules and regulations your employees need to know about.

Where to start

While there are any number of policies an employer can chose to include in their handbook, there are a few that are must haves.

  • Introduction to the handbook/at-will employment statement
  • Disclaimer
  • Equal employment opportunity policy
  • Harassment policy
  • Family and medical leave policy
  • Conduct policy
  • Acknowledgment form

Technology in the workplace

June 12th, 2018

hrsimple


It seems like not that long ago “technology in the workplace” referred to fax machines and floppy discs, but things certainly have changed in the last 10 years. Smart phones, email, and wireless networks have revolutionized the way business is being done, but with these advances in technology come a whole new set of problems . . .

Interview questions: do's and don'ts

June 12th, 2018

hrsimple


Interviews are a key part of the hiring process, but asking the wrong questions can land you in hot water with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Interviews give employers the opportunity to get a feel for an applicant, and they give the applicant a chance to showcase traits that aren’t easily expressed on a résumé. While many employers know the areas they need to cover in the interview (experience, salary, company culture for example), they might not know there are several topics that should be avoided. Seemingly innocent questions, or even natural conversation, may lead an applicant to reveal information about themselves that could open employers up for discrimination claims. Here are a few examples of questions employers should avoid during interviews: