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401(k) Plans – Compliance Solutions: Hiring and Monitoring Third-Party Service Providers

401(k) Plans – Compliance Solutions: Hiring and Monitoring Third-Party Service Providers Due to the complexity of compliance and potential costs of failure to be compliant, employers often hire outside professionals (third-party service providers) to augment their use of internal administrative committees and their human resources department. These outside experts are engaged to consult or manage

Addressing Employee Discipline Part 1

General Principles Discipline of employees often gives rise to employment litigation. The following general guidelines for managing employees with disciplinary problems may help employers avoid litigation. Employers must have clear disciplinary standards and evidence that employees were given notice of the standards. In implementation, the standards must be applied uniformly. Additionally, the organization should retain

Addressing Employee Discipline Part 2

Categories for Discipline Situations that necessitate discipline fall into the following three broad categories and require different approaches, for example: Misconduct. Employees are doing something they should not be doing. Poor Performance. Employees are not doing something they should be doing. Attendance Policy Violations. Employees are unreasonably or excessively absent from the workplace or tardy to the workplace.

Addressing Employee Leave

As life becomes more stressful and employees feel the pressures of balancing work and family concerns, time off becomes highly valuable to employees. Although conceptually, the practice of paying employees for not working is costly, time off from work is an employment benefit that far outweighs its costs. Among the many benefits for employees are

Alternative Dispute Resolution Overview – Part 1

Alternative Dispute Resolution Overview Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems are designed to resolve conflicts and avoid costly and time-consuming litigation. ADR is generally all forms of dispute resolution without a trial. A model ADR program is designed to immediately bring disputes to the attention of key decision makers in an effort to settle the issue

Alternative Dispute Resolution Overview – Part 2

Additional Dispute Resolution Procedures Conciliation Conciliation is a process in which a third party, called a conciliator, restores damaged relationships between disputing parties by bringing them together, clarifying perceptions, and pointing out misperceptions. The conciliator may or may not be totally neutral to the interests of the parties. Successful conciliation reduces inflammatory rhetoric and tension,

Common Law Invasion of Privacy

Common Law Invasion of Privacy Coverage The following states, including the District of Columbia, apply the common law invasion of privacy: Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Delaware Florida Georgia Idaho Indiana Illinois Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Michigan Mississippi Missouri Nevada New Jersey New Mexico Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Tennessee Utah Vermont Washington West

Developing a Workers’ Compensation Policy

When developing a workers’ compensation policy, employers must consider the workers’ compensation laws of the state in which they operate. However, there is much that is standard in all workers’ compensation laws — the no-fault aspect, the fact that workers’ compensation is the only remedy for workers injured on the job, and the fact that

Document Maintenance and Access

Self Auditing The employment relationship and required documentation is governed by many different governmental regulatory agencies, each maintaining different priorities and compliance requirements. Many laws, covering such topics as discrimination, safety, and immigration, charge governmental regulatory agencies with specific objectives and require certain documents when regulating an employer’s compliance with these laws. Consequently, an effective

Effective Training Characteristics

Effective Training Characteristics Effective training requires thorough planning and preparation. Planning requires that employers establish both training goals and strategies as the foundation to the training program. The following are critical elements of effective programs: Training classes should be conducted by qualified instructors. The qualification of the instructor not only extends to training ability, but

Employer Reporting Requirements (Forms 1094-C and 1095-C)

Quick Facts: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) added two employer reporting requirements to the Internal Revenue Code (Code): Code § 6056 requires applicable large employers (ALEs) to provide an annual statement to each full-time employee detailing the employer’s health coverage offer. Code § 6055 requires employers that provide minimum essential coverage under a self-funded (self-insured) plan to provide an annual statement

Federal Contractors

Federal Contractors This section covers the following wage and hour laws and executive orders that apply strictly to federal contractors: Executive Order 13658. The Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act. The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts. The Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. The McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act. Executive Order 13658 Executive Order 13568, signed by President

Federal Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements

Federal Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements The following federal laws regulate drug and alcohol testing in the workplace: Americans with Disabilities Act. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Transportation employees and the Department of Transportation regulations. Drug-Free Workplace Act. Note: State laws also regulate drug and alcohol testing. See the Drug

Federal Immigration Requirements

Introduction Under immigration laws and regulations, employers may legally hire workers only if they are U.S. citizens or aliens authorized to work in the United States. This article addresses the federal rules that govern documentation of eligible employees, antidiscrimination enforcement, and temporary and permanent employment of foreign nationals. Per §§ 274A – 274C of the

Federal Meal and Rest Period Requirements

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employers to provide lunch or coffee breaks to employees. However, when employers do offer short breaks (usually lasting about 5 to 20 minutes), the FLSA considers the breaks as compensable work hours that would be included in the sum of hours worked during the workweek

Federal Payroll Taxes and Withholding

Employers are cautioned not to interpret this information as the complete text on payroll taxes and withholding. Tax rates are subject to changes annually. Employers should consult the many Internal Revenue Service (IRS) documents, other available resources, or an applicable legal entity on this topic. For example, the IRS’ Circular E, Employer’s Tax Guide, outlines the

Federal Posting Requirements

Private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions are required to post notices in compliance with the following acts: Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA). Equal Pay Act (EPA). Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Occupational Safety and Health

Federal Privacy Requirements

Introduction This article reviews some of the methods employers may use and some of the restrictions imposed on the use of these methods to gather information in the workplace on job-related concerns. The contrast between employees’ expectations of personal privacy and employers’ understandable desire to collect and use employee information for efficient management has increased

Federal Requirements for Employing Minors

Federal and state laws closely regulate the employment of minors, imposing special restrictions on the terms and conditions of their employment. These laws also impose additional administrative duties on employers. For instance, an employer may be subject to criminal penalties, civil liability, and a substantial penalty under workers’ compensation statutes if a minor is injured

Federal Wage Payment Requirements

While the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (Act) prescribes standards for the basic minimum wage and overtime pay, it does not govern how wages must be paid to employees. Payment of wages is almost exclusively governed by state law. The use of payroll card accounts by employers for wage payment purposes is one area that

General Safety Plan Template

Introduction This sample safety plan template must be customized for each company location to reflect the unique exposures related to your business. Resources to assist you, along with best practice tips, are noted throughout this template to help you accomplish this goal. Review the copy here, but we recommend that you download the customizable Word version

General Safety Plan Template

General Safety Plan Template Introduction This sample safety plan template must be customized for each company location to reflect the unique exposures related to your business. Resources to assist you, along with best practice tips, are noted throughout this template to help you accomplish this goal. Review the copy here, but we recommend that you download the customizable

Hiring Considerations

Many employers spend a great deal of time and money dealing with employees that should not have been hired. This problem exists because the only measure of a hiring program’s success is the speed by which an available position is filled. A truly efficient hiring program, however, hires people who do the job required without

Interviewing and Selection Checklist

Interviewing Steps Taking the following steps when preparing for interviews will help to ensure a smooth and accurate interviewing and hiring process. Identify critical knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) the candidate must possess in order to be successful in the position. Select key interviewers. Solicit interview questions from all interviewers based on the description of

Intro to Retirement and Pension Benefits

A retirement plan has many benefits for an employer, for an organization, and for employees. Retirement plans allow investing in the future now for financial security when an employer and employees retire. As a bonus, an employer and employees get significant tax advantages and other incentives. Employer Benefits There are several benefits to the employer

Introduction to Employee Benefits

Employee benefits play an increasingly important role in the lives of employees and their families and have a significant financial and administrative impact on a business organization. Most companies operate in an environment in which an educated work force has come to expect a comprehensive benefits program. Indeed, the absence of a program or an

Legal Duty to Train Employees

Legal Duty to Train Employees As the frequency of employment-related lawsuits and costs of defense continue to rise, investing in effective training of supervisors and employees can generate substantial savings for employers. Adequate and effective training reduces the number of claims, and assists in lowering the risk of an adverse outcome for the employer as

Managing Personnel Files

Scenario 1 It is 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. As Mr. Smith collects his things to leave, he receives a call from an Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Officer. The officer informs Mr. Smith that a complaint has been filed with his office and an on-site review/investigation will be conducted first thing Monday

Managing Technology in the Workplace

Technology provides many options for employers to streamline operations and increase efficiency.  Additionally, as the workforce continues to change, with Baby Boomers retiring and Millennials entering the workforce at a high rate, the impact and necessity of technology becomes vital to a business’ success.  Empirical evidence clearly shows that Millennials, who grew up in the

Minimum Essential Coverage for Health Care

Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) Minimum essential coverage (MEC) means and includes the following types of health care coverage: Employer-sponsored coverage (including self-funded [self-insured] plans, COBRA coverage, retiree coverage, or coverage under an expatriate health plan for employees). Coverage purchased in the individual market, including insurance purchased directly from an insurance company, a qualified health plan

Misuse of Technology & Preventive Strategies

Respondeat Superior (Vicarious Liability) Negligence Negligent Retention and Supervision Cloud Computing and Trade Secrets Potential Claims Against Employers Preventive Strategies Technology is a workplace necessity that unfortunately leads to employer liability for employees’ misuse under the theories of respondeat superior (vicarious liability) and negligence. Respondeat Superior (Vicarious Liability) An employer may be held vicariously liable

Negligent Hiring

Negligence, in regards to employment, is a claim brought by an individual seeking to hold an employer liable for the damages (injury) caused by an employee. The elements for establishing a negligence claim in employment are basically the same as for a standard negligence claim. As applied in the employment context, these elements are: That

OSHA Inspection Guide

Overview Preparing for an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection can be a daunting task for most employers, and the stakes can be high if you are not prepared. For the first time in decades, the penalties for noncompliance increased, along with steeper rates of prosecution for criminal liability in safety negligence cases. It

Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors

According to Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors, certain employers that contract with the federal government are required to provide employees working on or in connection with those contracts with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work and up to 56 hours of paid sick leave

Performance Appraisal Checklist

Schedule the performance appraisal well in advance. Let the employee know if he/she is required to prepare anything for  the appraisal meeting such as: Accomplishments of the past year/ appraisal period; Developmental goals for the coming appraisal period; Area of most improvement for the past appraisal period; Training needs or desires; Performance goals for the

Potential Legal Claims Stemming from Termination

There are myriad legal claims that may be brought by an employee who has been terminated. Understanding the legal basis of the claim can help employers avoid frivolous claims by former employees. Wrongful Discharge Wrongful discharge can be defined as a termination of an employee that violates public policy, a contractual agreement, or a covenant

Reducing Violence in the Workplace

Violence in the workplace is a serious problem. Homicides are a major cause of death among workers, but their impact and cost are considerably outweighed by the prevalence of near-misses, physical assaults, abusive behavior, and threats of violence. One of the most important ways to minimize violent incidents at work is to engage in preventive

Return-to-Work Guide

Accidents Happen It’s a fact of life that at some point employees will be injured or contract an illness while on the job. How you respond to getting them back to work significantly impacts their view of their job and the company. Studies have shown that companies with effective advocacy-based return to work programs have

Selecting a High-Performance Employee

Employers are continuously faced with the challenge of finding effective and successful employees. There are many different techniques and practices for the hiring process. The process outlined below is designed to serve as a guide for hiring a candidate who will be successful within the employer’s organization. Developing a Profile Developing a profile involves the

Social Media in the Workplace

Monitoring Social Networking Sites Social Media Privacy Laws Monitoring Employees in the Workplace National Labor Relations Board Federal Legislation Record Retention Merriam-Webster defines social media as forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as

Telecommuting

A growing number of employers are allowing their employees to choose whether to work at home or from an alternative worksite. Because the practice often involves computer and telecommunications technology, it is known as telecommuting (also referred to as telework, virtual, and working remotely). Reports indicate that almost 11.1 million employees telecommuted as far back as 1997.

Telecommuting Legal Concerns

Legal Concerns A policy should contain guidelines to limit the organization’s legal risks and the employer should follow the guidelines if telecommuting is put into practice. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Employers are required by law to maintain a safe workplace for employees, even if it is at home. Based on recent policy announcements, the

Texas Holiday Leave

Texas Holiday Leave Holidays for State Employees State agency employees are entitled to a paid day off from work on a national, state, and skeleton crew holiday observed by the state of Texas. A state agency must have enough state employees on duty during a state holiday to conduct the public business of the agency,

Texas Independent Contractors

An employer may hire individuals as independent contractors or employees. The determination of whether a worker is an “employee” or an “independent contractor” is crucial when it comes to things like unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and wage and hour laws. The failure of an employer to properly classify a worker under each law may have

Texas Military Leave

Texas law contains several provisions related to military leave. The Texas military forces are comprised of the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and the Texas State Guard. All three branches are administered by the state Adjutant General, an appointee of the Governor of Texas, and fall under the command of the Governor. Public

Texas Minimum Wage and Overtime

Minimum Wage Texas’s minimum wage law is located at Tex. Lab. Code §§ 62.001 – 62.205. Covered employers must pay employees the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. Texas has not enacted a general overtime pay law; however, employers are still bound to the requirements set forth by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act

Texas Paid Sick Leave

Texas Paid Sick Leave Texas does not have a statewide paid sick leave; however, the cities of Austin and San Antonio have implemented paid sick leave ordinances. Austin Paid Earned Sick Time Important: On August 17, 2018, an Austin-based appeals court temporarily blocked the city’s paid sick leave ordinance from going into effect while portions of the law

Texas Recruiting and Hiring

Texas Recruiting and Hiring Voluntary Veterans’ Preference Pursuant to Tex. Labor Code §§ 23.001 – 23.003, effective as of September 1, 2015, private employers may adopt a policy under which the employer may give a preference in employment decisions regarding hiring, promotion, or retention to a veteran over another qualified applicant or employee. Such policy

Texas Termination

Texas Termination Employment-at-Will Texas is an employment-at-will state. Absent a statute or an express agreement (such as an employment contract) to the contrary, either party in an employment relationship may modify any of the terms or conditions of employment, or terminate the relationship altogether, for any reason, or no particular reason at all, with or

Texas Wage Payment

The Texas Payday Law is located at Tex. Lab. Code §§ 61.001 – 61.095. As used in the law, wages means compensation owed by an employer for: Labor or services rendered by an employee, whether computed on a time, task, piece, commission, or other basis. Vacation pay, holiday pay, sick leave pay, parental leave pay, or severance pay owed

Texas Workplace Smoking

Texas Workplace Smoking Smoking in Public Places According to Tex. Pen. Code § 48.01, smoking — which includes burning tobacco, smoking tobacco, and e-cigarettes — is prohibited in the following public places: Public schools. Elevators. Enclosed theaters and movie houses. Libraries. Museums. Hospitals. Transit system buses, intrastate buses, and public airplanes and trains. Child care

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is located at 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. with corresponding regulations at 29 C.F.R. Part 2509 et seq. ERISA is a federal law that sets standards of protection for individuals in most voluntarily established, private-sector employee benefit plans. Purpose of ERISA ERISA was intended to:

The FLSA: A Brief Introduction

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), located at 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements for full-time and part-time employees in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. According to Department of Labor statistics, the FLSA’s provisions affect more than 130 million

Top 10 FLSA Mistakes

Top 10 FLSA Mistakes Lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) continue to dominate federal court dockets. According to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the division recovered more than $240 million from employers on behalf of more than 270,000 workers during fiscal year 2014. Given the high cost of an FLSA lawsuit

Tracking Technology in The Workplace

Tracking technology is an area of technology that has a big impact on the workplace.  Through the use of technology, employers have the ability to track their employees doing many work-related tasks, including driving and computer keystrokes. Tracking Employee Location GPS devices installed in company vehicles or cell phones allow employers to track how and

Understanding Termination

Employment-at-Will In all U.S. states, with the exception of Montana, employment relationships are presumed to be “at-will.” This means that in an employment relationship for no specific duration, an employer may terminate an employee at any time, for any reason (except an illegal one), or for no reason at all. Similarly, an employee is free

Understanding Workers’ Compensation

Introduction Workers’ compensation is an employer-financed, no-fault insurance program that compensates employees who have been disabled because of a work-related injury or accident. Every state has enacted some form of workers’ compensation law to protect employees against loss of income and burdensome medical payments resulting from a work-related injury, illness, or disease. Compliance with these

Wellness Programs

Introduction Employers may sponsor wellness programs as a means to promote better health and higher morale among employees, with the hope that helping employees to embrace a culture of health will lead to higher productivity with lower health-related costs. Wellness plans may be included in health insurance programs, or they may stand alone. These plans

Working with Independent Contractors

It is critical that employers correctly determine whether individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors. Independent contractors are workers who have contractual agreements to complete jobs and who have complete control over their job performance. This article considers some of the advantages to using independent contractors, outlines ways to distinguish between employees and independent

OSHA Hazard Communication Standard | GBE&W

OSHA Hazard Communication Standard Chemicals pose a wide range of health hazards (such as irritation, sensitization, and carcinogenicity) and physical hazards (such as flammability, corrosion, and reactivity) in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is based on the idea that employees have both a need and a right

Same-Sex Relationships | GBE&W

Supreme Court Extends Same-Sex Marriage Rights On June 26, 2015, in a 5 – 4 decision, the Supreme Court decided in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires all states to grant same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages lawfully performed in other states as a fundamental right.

Texas Plant Closings | GBE&W

Texas Plant Closings Texas does not have a state law regarding plant closing. Employers having 100 or more employees (not counting employees who worked less than 6 of the last 12 months and not counting employees who average less than 20 hours a week) are subject to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act

Texas Victim Leave | GBE&W

Texas Victim Leave Witness Leave Texas’ witness leave law, located at Tex. Lab. Code § 52.051(a), applies to all employers. The law prohibits employers from terminating an employee because of the employee’s compliance with a valid subpoena to appear in a civil, criminal, legislative, or administrative proceeding. Penalties Penalties vary according to the source of

Most Frequently Cited OSHA Violations – 2015 | GBE&W

Most Frequently Cited OSHA Violations – 2015 The following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards in fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015): Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501) Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200) Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451) Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR

Question of the Month: What are the new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules for paying highly-compensated employees using incentive pay? | GBE&W

Question of the Month: What are the new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules for paying highly-compensated employees using incentive pay? Answer: The FLSA regulations contain a special rule for highly-compensated employees (HCEs) who are paid a total annual compensation of $134,004 or more (as of December 1, 2016). A highly-compensated employee is deemed exempt

Unfair Labor Practices by Employers – Conduct to Avoid | GBE&W

Unfair Labor Practices by Employers: Conduct to Avoid                     The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) defines the rights of employees to organize and join a union, and to bargain collectively with their employers through union representatives. In addition to providing rules for union elections and the collective-bargaining process, the NLRA also protects employees in

Texas School Visitation Leave | GBE&W

Texas School Visitation Leave School Visitation Leave According to Tex. Govt. Code Ann. § 661.206, state employees who are the parents of children in prekindergarden through grade 12 may use up to eight hours of sick leave each fiscal year to attend educational activities of their children. An educational activity is a school-sponsored activity, including

Creating and Managing Job Descriptions

Introduction Job descriptions play an important role in minimizing employee-related liability. Along with employment policies and employment contracts, job descriptions define the employment relationship. Job descriptions often become critical evidence in employment disputes. In particular, job descriptions play an important role in disability discrimination cases and the determination of which employees are exempt from the

Texas Recordkeeping Requirements

Recordkeeping Requirements Apprenticeship/Training Programs Texas employers who are involved in apprenticeship, on-the-job training, or other training or retraining programs must keep records reasonably necessary to carry out the purposes of the law, including a list of applicants for participation in the program, and a record of the chronological order in which applications for the program

Texas Drug and Alcohol Testing | GBE&W

Texas Drug and Alcohol Testing Texas Workforce Commission According to the Texas Workforce Commission, under Texas law, there is almost no limitation on the right of private employers to adopt drug- and alcohol-testing policies for their workers. However, public employers and contractors are more limited by law and judicial decisions. A private employer should only

The FLSA: A Brief Introduction | GBE&W

The FLSA: A Brief Introduction The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), located at 29 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements for full-time and part-time employees in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. According to Department of Labor statistics, the FLSA’s provisions

Texas Voting Leave | GBE&W

Texas Voting Leave According to the Texas voting leave law, located at Tex. Election Code Ann. §§ 276.001 – 276.010 and applicable to public and private employers, employees are entitled to take paid time off for voting on election days, unless the employee has at least two consecutive hours to vote outside of the his

GBE&W Incorporates Group Benefits Division of Johnson Financial Group

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    Agreement with highly-respected insurance and financial services firm showcases GBE&W’s expanding industry leadership as entrepreneurial employer and executive benefits agency DALLAS, TEXAS – July 20, 2016 – GBE&W, a noted entrepreneurial employee and executive benefits firm, announced that the group benefits division of Johnson Financial Group, a long respected independent benefits and

Texas Privacy in the Workplace | GBE&W

Texas Privacy in the Workplace Common Law Invasion of Privacy Texas employers should know that Texas courts recognize the following three of the four common law invasion of privacy claims: Intrusion upon the solitude or seclusion of another. Public disclosure of private facts. Appropriation of name or likeness. Although several lower courts and federal courts

Social Media in the Workplace | GBE&W

Social Media in the Workplace Merriam-Webster defines social media as forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos). According to a 2016 study conducted by several universities: There are approximately 1.32 billion monthly active users

Compensability of Training Time | GBE&W

Compensability of Training Time Employment Related Training Programs Employer-Sponsored Training Programs Generally, time spent attending employer-sponsored training programs is compensable for nonexempt employees. However, when the activity meets all of the following four criteria, an exception applies to required compensation: Attendance is outside of the employee’s regular working hours. Attendance is voluntary. The course, lecture,

Texas Whistleblower Protection | GBE&W

Texas Whistleblower Protection Whistleblower Protections Texas’ general whistleblower protection provisions are found in the Texas Employment Discrimination Law at Tex. Lab. Code § 21.055. The law covers labor unions, employment agencies, agents of employers, elected public officials, and any person engaged in an industry affecting commerce and employing 15 or more employees. The law also

Texas Meal and Rest Periods | GBE&W

With limited exceptions (discussed below), neither the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) nor Texas law requires employers to give breaks during the workday. However, if breaks are given, certain rules apply under federal law and employers may impose their own conditions on the use of break time. Rest or coffee breaks (defined as 20

GBE&W invites you to a ThinkHR webinar: Making Sense of the Department of Labor’s New Exemption Rules

George Belcher Evans & Wilmer invites you to a ThinkHR webinar: Making Sense of the Department of Labor’s New Exemption Rules Tuesday, June 14 and Wednesday, June 15 at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Register Today Join Robin Shea, partner at the national labor and employment law firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP and the ThinkHR team for

GBE&W Acquires Svoboda and Associates | GBE&W

Leading entrepreneurial employer and executive benefits firm expands its industry prominence with purchase of independent benefits agency

Federal New-Hire Reporting Requirements

Introduction All employers must report the hiring, rehiring, and return to work of all paid employees. A few of the many procedural goals of reporting are to detect fraud, help locate individuals for establishing paternity, and/or establishing, notifying, and enforcing child support orders. New-hire reports are matched against child support records at the state and

Hiring Considerations for Employers

Many employers spend a great deal of time and money dealing with employees that should not have been hired. This problem exists because the only measure of a hiring program’s success is the speed by which an available position is filled. A truly efficient hiring program, however, hires people who do the job required without

Q&A: Choosing when to terminate an employee

Question: What is the best day of the week and time of the day to perform a termination of employment? Answer: There are varying viewpoints as to the best time to terminate an employee; however, many HR professionals agree that the meeting should probably take place early in the week, and early in the day.

Q&A: Company Happy Hour Policies

Question: Aside from company holiday parties, do holiday party concerns apply to happy hour events? Answer: Yes. Very often employers assume that because an event is not onsite during normal business hours, the organization is free of any liability or risk. The holiday season is a great time of year to remind employers that any

Q&A From the Hotline: Power Outages and Pay

Question: If the company has no power and sends employees home for the day, how do we pay employees? And does it matter if the employee is exempt or nonexempt? Answer: In general, there are two sets of rules for paying employees depending upon their classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as it

Employee Performance Evaluations

Introduction Employers use performance evaluations to assess work performance. The evaluations also assist employees in providing information about deficiencies in work performance and the organization’s expectations for the future. Written performance evaluations are best because a written evaluation creates a tangible record, which may be reviewed and referenced in the future. The evaluation process generally

Performance Based Compensation Plan

Question: Can you provide guidelines for developing a performance-based compensation plan? Answer: Performance-based compensation plans vary by the “personality” of the organization. What follows is a set of guidelines for designing a plan, and you will need to think about what best fits in your company. We strongly recommend that you involve your executive management

Electronic Information and Communications

Introduction Technological advances have had a great impact on communication and the distribution of information in today’s business world. With internal voice mail systems, computer networks, and worldwide electronic mail, workplace communication is more extensive and faster than ever. As business moves toward the paperless office with the increased use of email, voice mail, and

Principles to Address Employee Discipline

General Principles Discipline of employees often gives rise to employment litigation. The following general guidelines for managing employees with disciplinary problems may help employers avoid litigation. Employers must have clear disciplinary standards and evidence that employees were given notice of the standards. In implementation, the standards must be applied uniformly. Additionally, the organization should retain

Is an inside sales position exempt or nonexempt?

Question: Is an inside sales position exempt or nonexempt? Answer: The answer to this question really depends upon the duties of the position, not the title. What the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) actually considers is the compensation paid the position, the education and training requirements for the position, and the specific job duties.

Rules and Guidelines for Pre-Employment Testing

Employers may administer nonmedical tests to applicants prior to extending an offer of employment. However, if any test tends to screen out individuals with disabilities, the employer must be able to demonstrate that the test is job related and consistent with business necessity. For example, the ADA regulations require that any specific abilities that a

Developing a Safety and Health Program

Professionals in the safety and health industry are concerned with developing what they call a safety culture in the workplace. Basically, this is a pervasive feeling, shared by each employee of an organization, that employees are responsible for their own safety and health and for the safety and health of every other worker in the

Noncompete Agreements and Trade Secrets

Introduction Whenever an employer hires a new employee, the employer provides that person with access to the organization’s most valuable assets: its people, its customers, and its way of doing business. Given that the average American will change jobs seven times over a work life, chances are high that some of that information will eventually

Analysis: Working with Independent Contractors

It is critical that employers correctly determine whether individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors. Independent contractors are workers who have contractual agreements to complete jobs and who have complete control over their job performance. This article considers some of the advantages to using independent contractors, outlines ways to distinguish between employees and independent

Documenting and Managing Personnel Files

Introduction Scenario 1 It is 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. As Mr. Smith collects his things to leave, he receives a call from an Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Officer. The officer informs Mr. Smith that a complaint has been filed with his office and an on-site review/investigation will be conducted first thing

Federal Workplace Smoking Requirements

Introduction This article reviews federal laws relevant to smoking in the workplace. It also outlines ways to prevent or minimize the problem of secondhand smoke in the workplace and provides a checklist of considerations for implementing a company smoking policy. Additionally, employers should be aware that many states have enacted bans on workplace smoking. Federal

New Employee Onboarding Checklist

Take the following steps to ensure smooth onboarding of all new employees: Schedule new hire orientation. Prepare the following new hire documents: Form I-9. Form W-4. Confidentiality agreement. Emergency contact information. Benefit forms. Employee handbook. Offer letter and job description. Direct deposit form. Organizational chart. Phone list and office map. Safety instructions. Personnel action form.

Legal Traps in a Post-Facebook Work Environment

 Many well-meaning managers engage with employees on social media websites, and doing so provides a host of benefis: stronger relationships between employees and management; a sense of collegiality; instant updates on employees’ life changes. However, accessing employees’ social media pages could expose the employer to legal liability. Read more

Developing A Strategy for Equality

 The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 90% of respondents were harassed or mistreated at work for being transgender or hid who they were to avoid such treatment, and 26% had lost a job because they were transgender. Read more…

What is a multi-employer plan?

According to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: A multi-employer plan is a collectively bargained plan maintained by more than one employer, usually within the same or related industries, and a labor union. These plans are often referred to as “Taft-Hartley plans.” Most plans are jointly administered and governed by a board of trustees, with labor

Do We Have To Pay An Exempt Employee Additional Compensation To Travel On Weekends?

Federal and state laws exempt certain employees from wage and hour requirements, such as overtime pay. An “exemption” means that the overtime law does not apply to a particular classification of employees. Properly classified exempt employees are paid a fixed amount each pay period, generally based upon an annual salary, regardless of hours worked each

Can you provide guidelines for developing a performance-based compensation plan?

Performance-based compensation plans vary by the “personality” of the organization. What follows is a set of guidelines for designing a plan, and you will need to think about what best fits in your company. We strongly recommend that you involve your executive management team in the key decision points so that the design of the

Updates: Federal Law Alerts From August 2015

From: Federal Law Alerts Annual EEO-1 Survey Now Open The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has completed its mailing of the 2015 EEO-1 survey notification letters and the survey is now open. The EEO-1 is an annual survey that must be filled out by all private employers with 100 or more employees,

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George Belcher Evans & Wilmer invites you to a ThinkHR webinar: Making Sense of the Department of Labor’s New Exemption Rules Tuesday, June 14 and Wednesday, June 15 at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Register Today Join Robin Shea, partner at the national labor and employment law firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP and the ThinkHR team for

Creating and Managing Job Descriptions | GBE&W

Creating and Managing Job Descriptions Introduction Job descriptions play an important role in minimizing employee-related liability. Along with employment policies and employment contracts, job descriptions define the employment relationship. Job descriptions often become critical evidence in employment disputes. In particular, job descriptions play an important role in disability discrimination cases and the determination of which

OSHA Hazard Communication Standard | GBE&W

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Antidiscrimination Enforcement | GBE&W

Antidiscrimination Enforcement Employers are prohibited from discriminating when hiring or promoting on the basis of national origin or citizenship status. If an investigation reveals that an employer has engaged in unfair immigration-related employment practices under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices may take action. An

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Texas Background Checks

To protect against claims of negligent hiring, Texas employers are encouraged to perform background checks on prospective employees. In fact, Texas law requires background checks on individuals applying for certain state licenses and employees of certain industries. For example, Texas requires background checks on the following: Personnel at public and private schools. Employees of agencies