HR: Industry Updates

The Health Care Reform – 8 Preparative steps to get ready now – Part 2

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

health care reform

Last week we discussed the first four steps for preparing your dealership for the health care reform. Continue on to learn more about the upcoming changes in health care:

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The Health Care Reform – 8 Preparative steps to get ready now – Part 1

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

health care reform

As the deadline for implementation of the newest set of rules related to the Affordable Care Act quickly approaches, dealerships are preparing. Kristin Kahle, of Benefit Exchange Alliance, provides eight steps to begin preparing for the upcoming health care reform.
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How Does the New Colorado Marijuana Law Affect Company Drug Testing?

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

With the legalization of marijuana in various states nationwide, both employees and employers alike are wondering what kind of impact the new laws will have on employment substance abuse testing and policies. The Colorado Court of Appeals recently stated that pot smokers can be fired for marijuana use despite state endorsement. What does this mean for employers?  You can prohibit the use of  marijuana in your workplace and may fire employee who test positive.  In the state of Colorado,  “for an activity to be lawful in Colorado, it must be permitted by, and not contrary to, both state and federal law,” the appeals court stated in its 2-1 conclusion.  Other states, such as Arizona, protect employee smoking rights, unless it would jeopardize an employer’s federal licensing or contracts.

Due to state and federal conflict, marijuana laws remain somewhat unclear. Keep state and federal laws, as well as legal penalties, in mind as you develop your policies related to substance abuse and substance abuse testing.

Retaliatory Firing: Don’t Fire Whistleblowers, No Ifs, Ands, or Buts

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Employees have a right to report alleged non-compliance to federal and state agencies without fear of retaliatory firing or demotion- no ifs, ands, or buts. A violation of an employee’s protected conduct of reporting potentially illegal or dangerous circumstances, the Department of Labor has made it very clear that retaliatory firing will not be tolerated.

A historical case of retaliatory firing landed one company with a $110,000 back wage payment, as well as fines imposed by OSHA, After an employee reported mechanical issues with his truck and was fired the next day, United Auto Recovery was required to rehire the employee, pay back wages and punitive damages, and was required increase trainings on employee rights, as well as to improve the workplace by posting employee rights posters.

Traditionally OSHA and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) have been the primary investigators of complaints of retaliatory firing. Other agencies, including the SEC and FTC, have become involved with strong whistleblower protections under Sarbanes Oxley for employees of public companies; new laws including The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009, which creates whistleblower protections for employees in the health care sector; and The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which provides expansive protection to whistleblowers in the financial services industries.

The bottom line is that you can’t afford to fire a whistleblower unless you have absolute, irrefutable evidence that the firing had nothing to do with the report of fraud, complaint of discrimination, or safety issues.

Let’s Make Every Day “Hire a Veteran Day”

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Today we observe Veterans Day. Make today more meaningful by committing your company to proactively recruit and hire veterans throughout the year. Our veterans have a consistently higher than average rate of unemployment, although they have the proven commitment, skills and training to make a positive impact on the private sector workplace.

Hiring a veteran is one way that employers can do well by doing good. The Veterans Job Bank can connect veteran job seekers and employers, learn more at https://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov/home/veterans_job_bank.

Thank you to all our veterans and to our active duty military personnel for your service to our country.

 

 

Seven States Raise Minimum Wage on Jan. 1, 2013

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The 2013 federal minimum wage will remain the same at $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees. However, the following states will raise minimum wages on January 1, 2013:

Arizona

Florida

Montana

Ohio

Oregon

Rhode Island

Washington

 

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has proposed a minimum wage increase.

Vermont and Missouri will have wage increases based on increases in the cost of living, but the states have yet to announce details.

 

Affected employers in these states will need to update workplace wage and hour posters. The poster requirement applies to most dealerships and service centers, even if the business does not actually employ workers at minimum wage rates.

NLRB Upholds Car Salesman’s Firing over Facebook Posts

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The NLRB is moving closer to defining a final position on when an employee’s social media postings qualify as protected activity. It has recently published a helpful report detailing the outcome of 14 social-media cases, including its first “Facebook firing” decision.

In this case, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) upheld an earlier decision that a luxury car dealership lawfully fired a sales person over a Facebook post. The employee had violated the company’s social media policy and a customer’s privacy when he posted negative comments and pictures of the customer, her son, and a car accident at a sister dealership. The employee uploaded snarky comments about the incident to his personal Facebook page and shared them with coworkers.

The decision also clarified that a second set of critical postings by the same employee about his working conditions at a sales event were “protected concerted activity.” Notably, these posting also violated the company’s social media policy.

It’s All About the Social Media Policy

The company’s social media policy should have worked to protect the dealership from lawsuits, but in this case, the policy was unhelpful. It was too broad because it did not provide specific guidance on what employees could and could not do and overly attempted to limit their online activity.

If you are managing the social media policy at your dealership, don’t make the same mistake. Here are some resources to help you keep the policy in line with the latest developments:

Say What! Social Media’s Impact on the Employment Relationship [webinar]

Marketing Cars & Hiring Applicants – More Similar Than You Think!

By the way, if have a question about writing a social media policy at your dealership, and you’d like to talk, email me at kcarlson@kpaonline.com.

51% Of Employers Have Hired Applicant With Criminal Record

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

According to a new survey by Career Builder, 51% of employers have hired an applicant with a criminal history. Since more than 92 million individuals have a criminal history on file in state databases, according to the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, employers will have applicants that have a criminal past. The key for employers is to run a background check so that they know about any criminal past activities and can make an informed hiring decision. Having a past conviction should not be a bar to employment but employers have the right to know and then to consider factors such as time since the offense, the age of the offender at the time of offense, efforts at rehabilitation and if the criminal offense is relative to the job. A background check is just one tool employers should be using to make sure they hire the right person for the right job but it is a very important tool.

Affordable Care Act Guidance Issued for Employers

Monday, October 8th, 2012

There is new guidance for employers that clarifies safe harbors in determining if they are a “large employer” and need to file under the “play or pay” mandate (IRS notice 2012-58). It was posted on August 31, 2012 by the IRS, in collaboration with the Department of Treasury, Department of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The guidance explains how employers can use a moving average to determine the status of full time employees, and answers questions employers might have about handling automatic enrollment of new employees, employer shared responsibility, and the 90-day limitation on waiting periods. The guidance provided by the Affordable Care Act also helps you forecast some of the impacts the new mandates will have on your workforce and/or your tax penalties under the mandate.

The new safe harbor guidance is effective through the end of 2014.

HR Managers- Get ready to be an HR Superstar

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Sometimes Human Resources is seen as just another drag on a dealership’s bottom line. But what if your HR department could be actually be a profit driver for your dealership? You’d be the HR Superstar! 

It’s possible. When we talk to HR managers, we find you’re typically swamped by compliance requirements, personnel files and payroll duties. You know – all that transaction stuff that has to get done but tends to be reactive, not proactive. We can tell you want to focus on contributing strategically to your dealership’s financial growth. But if you’re like many of your colleagues, lack of staff or lack of time may be getting in the way.

KPA believes that HR managers build a dealership’s profits by devoting themselves to hiring great people, training them and retaining them. For example, here’s how you drive profits:

  • Spot the best local talent for sales and marketing.
  • Have a great orientation program that makes your employees as productive as possible, as quickly as possible.
  • Create a a great corporate culture, which increases productivity.
  • Boost sales by showing managers how to coach — and keep — their top performers.

So here’s our pitch. KPA wants to make sure that HR managers like you have time to do all that. Our new HR Management Consulting service can take care of projects such as:

  • Audit personal files
  • Find gaps in your compliance programs and show you how to plug them
  • Write job descriptions
  • Complete that compensation analysis you started last year …

Basically, our consulting service takes a load off you, so you go from frazzled to focused on what really matters.

Email me at kcarlson@kpaonline.com, so we can schedule a needs analysis regarding the projects we can take on for you. We’ll make you more than an HR Manager – you’ll be the HR Superstar at your dealership.