HRS Fast News, April 2015

Action Items Only: The information specialists at HRS dedicate to delivering exactly what you need to know... and nothing you don't need. HRS eNews is released 4-6 times annually, delivering mandatory legal compliance and top informational updates; a concise "must know" compilation for busy C-suite and HR/OD leaders.

C-Suite Call to Action: Ambush Union Elections in Effect

As of April 14, unions are newly required to wait less than 2 weeks between a workplace election petition and the union election, itself; a rule which business owners have contested as being highly unfair to due process and necessary time for adequate employer response. Thus, the Ambush Election Rule received its namesake. Additionally, unions may also require that employers give out employees’ personal contact information for union purposes. These moves were highly contested as being a violation of right to privacy and right to free speech for both employees and employers. On April 1, the POTUS vetoed the opposition, and the rule is now in effect. The President states, “One of the freedoms of folks here in the United States is that, if they choose to join a union, they should be able to do so, and we should not be making it impossible for that to happen.” While employees deserve a fair and equal chance to enter a union under their own desire, opponents, including SHRM who filed a lawsuit against, question whether freedom of choice is really being afforded to workers, when employers are limited in ability to present education regarding options. Washington Examiner article. 

New Circuit Court Ruling Validates Overtime Exception

Just this month, in the case of Alvarado v. Corporate Cleaning Service, Inc., the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals punctuated an often-ignored exception to an employer’s obligation to pay overtime. With several conditions considered, include type of establishment, FLSA and advance agreement, the court concluded overtime pay was unnecessary and ruled in favor of the employer. National Law Review article. Inasmuch as we advocate practices which avert costly legal battles, one of the takeaways here is that keen understanding of the law is employer empowerment. Furthermore, it was the clear advance compensation agreement that tilted the scale in the employer's direction. Uniqueness of the situation prevailed and would have been missed by those employers who still believe that adopting another employer's policies is somehow adequate. Statistically, sample forms and handbook policy templates are fabulous... less than 15% of the time. Deploying clear, compliant and custom written compensation agreements in advance of work performance remain best cost control and risk management.

FMLA Definition of Spouse Revised for More than Just Same-Sex Partners

Effective March 27, 2015, the Department of Labor has issued a final ruling which revises the definition of “spouse” under the FMLA. The DOL has embraced a new “place of celebration” rule as opposed to the familiar “state of residence” rule. “Place of Celebration” definitions state that an employer or state must recognize a marriage that was performed legally in any other state (or country), meaning that an employee who was married under any legal definition any place in the world is now afforded FMLA care under federal guidelines. It’s time to make sure that your supervisors and HR team know the true meaning of this rule change! Still to come: The states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska have filed an injunction against the rule change. While the rule is still effective nationwide, to include these four states, and the Supreme Court made a prior ruling allowing the DOL to make such rule changes and interpretations, the case is expected to be heard and the rule contested.

Structuring HR: 7 Subdisciplines and the Challenges for a Department-of-One

At a minimum, an effective HR initiative addresses 7 subdisciplines, and many can break that into 10+.  Today's HR is by no means yesterday's "personnel department." For the smallest of employers, HR can be a part-time function, but still requires full-time access for time-sensitive concerns. For most employers, HR is best served by team approach. The HR Generalist holds an important role in seeing the big picture; yet, in today's age of specialists, recognizes that each subdiscipline requires specialty study. Savvy CEOs are recognizing to keep HR authority at C-suite level. Savvy CEOs also recognize that the department-of-one needs reinforcement through access to the subdiscipline specialists, whether internal or external, according to needs and infrastructure. While the components of HR swing heavily from right brain to left brain, and each require full-time research, a boardroom approach of experts best attains organizational mission, risk management and fiscal prudence. Meanwhile, employees take comfort in multiple HR contacts, unbiased third party resources, and the HR generalist not needing to wear too many hats.

The Skills Gap, Part II: Addressing Education

Earlier this year, our CRO Matthew Bare wrote an article questioning the very nature of the Skills Gap and how we actually got here. Due to lack of consensus understanding regarding root causes and definition, changed dialog can be a toolset to resolution. Now, we’ve got a proposal in how to address the skills gap through modified education. Matt's Article. Meanwhile "Upskill America" launches as a federal answer to the skills gap. HRS will be reporting as it unfolds. 

Amnesty for Star Performers on Public Tirades?

Multiple recent incidents of gross misconduct, highly publicized, spotlight what employers can do to prevent, while also establishing a proactive blueprint for resolution. Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson raises the question "How does an employer handle highly visible misconduct by a seemingly irreplaceable star?" ESPN's Britt McHenry may not be a top company performer, but the visibility of her misconduct is undeniable, and incident recency poses the question again. Will excusing the publicized misconduct set the organization up for failure anyway? Those most visible threaten an employer's "reasonable care" legal argument and cannot be given a free pass without substantial risk. A well-crafted compliant framework of relevant policies will address 75+ areas to include social media, anti-harassment, violence, mission alignment and upholding the law, especially according to job description bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQs). The same policies will address corrective action and/or progressive discipline. Mitigating factors to consider must include medical protections and may include willfulness of action. The answer in any unique case must consider the employer's policies and practices. We offer third party mediation, consulting and decision tools on this topic. 

Congressional Plans Affecting Employers

Last newsletter, we discussed the proposed congressional budget for the upcoming year. At that time, things were brewing, and now we know what. Included in this week's budget proposal are provisions that HR and C-suite leaders will want to note: plans for a "reconciliation" of Obamacare (Reuters article). Meanwhile, the adoption of mandated paid sick leave (New York Times Article) is on the table for our California clients and still in discussion federally. Keep an eye out for more upcoming changes in employment law. HRS highly recommends a custom-crafted Paid Time Off practice which sweeps sick, personal and vacation leave into consolidation that makes sense for unique employers. As with all items herein, contact HRS today to learn how to stay ahead of the curve!

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)... 

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And... News About HRS...

HRS Selected for Showcase in Fortune Magazine

The writers of "Leading Milwaukee Businesses" have invited us to be profiled in Fortune magazine this summer. HRS will be featured as "The Pioneers of HR Management and Research" due to our historic, current and predicted future success in local, national and global arenas. Due to magazine interest and supporting advertisers coming on board, the feature has also been picked up for publication in both Bloomberg Businessweek and Money magazines. Similar features are in development for other high profile cities around the country, and our profile will enjoy a nationwide digital feature. We send heartfelt thanks to our treasured clients and supporters who grant us the opportunity to deliver positive impact! 

Best Practices in Leadership Development 

Today's best assessments profile individual leadership styles, while stretching beyond to measure implementation effectiveness through in-basket technique and role play. Leaders then enjoy lifelong learning through our client site workshops, deploying kinesthetic hands-on learning and precision custom curriculum. Assessment is ongoing through training exercises to benchmark progress and to pinpoint learning needs. Veracity by HRS programs are so widely applauded by employers and learning participants alike, even our Anti-Harassment workshops are consistently reinforced as meaningful and engaging. 

The Employee Handbook: Time for Another Revision

Employers are relying upon external experts for handbook assistance more than ever before. HRS Handbook Review and Design services have incurred more than 300% increase in demand over the past 24 months. More employers are recognizing the problems with appropriating another company's handbook and the pitfalls of boilerplate solutions. Changes to federal and state employment laws make updating the resource even more critical, yet legal advice from attorneys is not enough to craft an effective instrument. Today's best handbook delivers not only up-to-the-minute legal compliance, but also employer reasonable care in education, pro-active communication, culture shaping, performance management, employee engagement and cost cutting through operations efficiency. 

Veracity Corporate Education Programs Deliver Extraordinary Outcomes

Adding to a recent tour of CEO groups, HR professional organizations, media briefs, radio talk shows, employers of choice and top ranked universities, today's most popular programs include Anti-Harassment,  Legal Compliance Balancing Talent Engagement, Performance Management, Getting More Out of Meetings, Organizational Change Management,  Organizational Communications and More. Our flagship programs remain private employer-site workshops including group roundtables or Individual Learning Sessions (ILS).  

Businesses Take Flight on the Wings of Angels... HRS Initiative Finds New Height 

Fueled by HRS, HRS Gives Back and community support, extraordinary solutions are delivered via "Angel Wings" subsidy to employers who deliver extraordinary impact. Such employers include start-up and non-profit organizations whose missions and methodology promise positive economic, community and/or charitable impact. 

Subscription Bundles Soar!

Subscription bundles for turnkey solution delivery are enjoying immense popularity! In response to evolving legal, talent management and reasonable care demands, these bundles mix and match education, compliance, assessment and/or third party operations in cost-cutting packages. Check out the eStore

Thought Leadership Blog Enjoys Wildly Popular Syndication

Highlights of recent and popular articles...

  • Old School Meets New School with "Social HR"
  • Is The Talent Gap Overstated?
  • Predicting the Downfall of Apple?
  • Hit the Curve: Business Diagnostics Through Baseball
  • Building a Rock-Star Employer Brand with Glimmering Engagement Tactics
  • Can Employee Engagement Techniques Conceal Intrinsic Demotivation?
  • A "No References" Policy is a "Welcome" Sign for Employee Bad Behavior
  • Is Balance Between Gen Y and Baby Boomers Key to Skills Gap Solution?
  • FCRA Compliance Blueprint for Employer Background Checks
  • Catch Someone Doing Something Right
  • “If I’m a Self-Starter, Why Aren’t You?”... Team Members High in Initiative are Challenged as Coaches
  • P3 Compliance and Constructing Policies That Hold Up in Court

  • The information specialists at HRS are available to assist with each and every topic mentioned herein. Please consider us for your HR/OD and legal compliance needs.  Time, human capital planning, cost containment, risk management and talent engagement are more important than ever before.


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