The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken a bold step to challenge standard and accepted provisions in severance agreements in a recent suit, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., CA no. 14-cv-863 (N.D. Ill., 2014). There are two particularly important elements in this suit.
Put a dozen human resources professionals together and ask them about problems related to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and you’re likely to hear many dozens of stories. The rules can be complicated and intricate, and unscrupulous employees manage to find creative ways to take more leave than they’re entitled to have.
Recently, attorneys accustomed to FMLA abuse were asked what to do about an employee suspected of abusing his FMLA leave. The employer felt that whenever the employee wanted to take time off and his request was denied because the company was struggling through a busy time, the employee would just call in and report his absence as FMLA leave. The employer wanted to know what precautions to take to avoid FMLA abuse.
by Peter Lowe
The concept of zero-tolerance policies is rooted in the criminal justice system, and over the last 20 years, the policies have spilled over into our schools and workplaces. Zero-tolerance policies usually reflect a strong institutional stance on specific types of misconduct (e.g., drugs, theft, and violence) and consistency and severity in punishments.
Career-minded human resource professionals interested in proving their worth to their employers devote time, energy, and money into earning certification. But now the credentialing system they’ve relied on for decades is up in the air, and a new system is still a mystery. HR pros were surprised in May when the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced it was creating its own certification system, throwing into question the familiar credentials administered through the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). Immediately, questions began to surface.
What are the new credentials, and how meaningful will they be?
SHRM says its certification system will include two levels: the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). The organization has posted more information at www.shrmcertification.org.
The news of a change in certification for human resource professionals struck a nerve this spring when the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced it was developing a new certification system that seems to be a threat to the familiar credentials offered through HR Certification Institute (HRCI). The heat has only built since the May announcement. Immediately, questions began to surface, many of which came to a head at SHRM’s annual meeting held in June in Orlando. In addition to questions about how the new system will work and what it means for the existing certification program, HR practitioners are wondering how the rancor surrounding the change will play out.
SHRM says it tried to work with HRCI on a certification program focusing on what it terms “competencies.” The goal of the competency model is to assess not just what practitioners know but also how they perform. In a June press release, SHRM said the program “is based on the SHRM HR Competency Model, which was validated by more than 30,000 HR professionals around the world.”
E-Verify is an Internet-based employment authorization verification system administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). After completing the Form I-9 process, employers create an E-Verify case and submit it to E-Verify, which electronically verifies work authorization by checking the information entered against DHS, SSA, and U.S. Department of State records.
by Joe Godwin
In 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated 93,727 charges of discrimination, which resulted in penalties totaling $372.1 million. Retaliation claims accounted for 41 percent of all the charges. The most frequent bases of claims across all statutes are related to discharge and discipline. Therefore, employers have opportunities to reduce the risk by thoroughly documenting and reviewing all practices before, during, and after any adverse action toward an employee.
Retaliation claims have increased sharply over the past 10 years. U.S. Supreme Court decisions, legislation, and case law have provided antiretaliation protections to a broader range of individuals, resulting in a lower threshold for establishing a claim and increased potential damages.
Employers are always on a quest for higher productivity. They examine what kind of technology, office design, organizational structure, time management training, etc. will boost performance and the bottom line. But no matter how careful an organization is, distractions can derail even the best laid plans. CareerBuilder recently released a study on what it calls the top 10 productivity killers at work. Ironically, measures intended to boost performance are often the very things killing productivity.
For example, mobile devices, the Internet, and social media are important tools to help employees get their work done, but those things often create distractions. Also, a culture of collaboration—an environment that encourages people to meet and talk face to face—is considered a plus, but all that collaboration is distracting when coworker conversations veer off track and noise levels rise.
Although employers may want to avoid the uncomfortable topic with employees, you can’t avoid your legal obligations to an employee’s former spouse postdivorce. For a period of time after a divorce, you’re required to offer health insurance continuation and conversion benefits to an employee’s former spouse and dependents. Here’s a summary of your obligations, deadlines, costs, and responsibilities after Cupid’s arrow loses its zing.