Do the Right Thing When it Comes to Hiring Summer Help
Are you considering hiring teens this summer? The US Department of Labor website provides useful information for compliance with state labor laws … it may be time to review child labor rules and regulations.
The Department of Labor monitors child labor and enforces child labor laws and under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These rules vary depending upon the age of the worker and his or her occupation. With the FLSA – Child Labor Rules Advisor one can view an introduction to federal child labor rules and link to discussions on the US DOL Wage and Hour Division State Labor Laws.
The US DOL Wage and Hour Division also provides a summary of Employment/Age Certification Issuance Practices Under State Child Labor Laws. The Federal government does not require work permits or proof-of-age certificates for a minor to be employed. However, many states may require them for workers of certain ages. These certificates help to protect the employer from prosecution for employing an under-aged worker. Having these age certificates constitutes a good faith effort to comply with minimum age requirements.
For employers in New York, in addition to the many resources available on the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division State Labor Laws site we referenced above, you can visit additional links specific to the New York State Department of Labor as they relate to Laws Governing the Employment of Minors.
Don’t make a mistake when it comes to hiring minors this summer – do the right thing.Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Employment Law , New York Law , Policies & Procedures , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection , Wage & Hour | Permalink
Can You Have an "Unpaid Intern" Under Federal and State Law?
Providing internship and training programs can benefit businesses as well as students. These programs can provide many great opportunities to young workers but are these interns doing it solely for the experience and working without pay? Some actually think so. The New York Times recently published an interesting article discussing the scope of the problem. And it should come as no surprise that the Federal and State Departments of Labor are out in force. As we approach the summer months, when internship levels are at their highest, these guidelines will help keep employers in compliance.
In order to explain the federal internship regulations, The US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division has provided an Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) fact sheet making available the information needed to determine whether interns must be paid the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for the services they provide. Some circumstances under which individuals who participate in internships or training programs may do so without compensation. This fact sheet provides the necessary criteria to determine whether an employment relationship exists and whether the intern is entitled to minimum wage and overtime compensation.
New York State also has rules concerning the use of interns. It relies on the factors used by the USDOL but also adds a few of its own factors. Follow this link to a recent NYS DOL Opinion Letter on this subject: http://www.labor.ny.gov/sites/legal/counsel/pdf/Other/RO-09-0189.pdf
When hiring an intern, carefully review federal and state law … and avoid labor law violations.
Follow this link to the New York Times article: The Unpaid Intern, Legal or NotPosted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Employment Law , New York Law , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection , Wage & Hour | Permalink
Social Networking Sites and Employment: Watch Out for GINA
There has been quite a buzz of late on the use of information found on social networking sites in employment. Often the concern arises when information that may become the basis of an adverse employment decision is found and relates to a protected characteristic. In other words, the employer didn't mean to stumble upon certain protected information when "google-ing" the applicant but did so. And the next question usually relates to how the employer might demonstrate that this newly found information concerning a protected characteristic did NOT play into the employment decision.
The Genetic Nondiscrimination in Employment Act makes the mere collection of the information illegal. In other words, and ably explained by Megan Erickson in her Social Networking Law Blog,
"With respect to social media issues specifically, GINA makes the mere acquisition of genetic information illegal. Because the Act broadly defines the term “genetic information” (including even medical conditions of family members), checking out an employee’s or applicant’s Facebook profile could easily result in a violation. For example, if an employer found an employee’s status update saying he is raising money for multiple sclerosis in honor of his father who is suffering from it – just getting that information could be a violation."
We are still awaiting the final regulations under GINA. In the mean time, be careful!Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Employment Law , Policies & Procedures , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
EEOC Issues Guidance on Use of Credit Checks in Employee Selection
In an advisory letter, the EEOC discusses the subject of disparate impact discrimination under Title VII and whether the practice of using the information obtained in a credit check as a selection criteria for job applicants would have an adverse impact on members of protected groups.
It is not at all unusual for employers to obtain a credit checks part of their hiring practices. The EEOC reminds us, however, if it's position on this subject. Specifically,
"If an employer’s use of credit information disproportionately excludes African-American and Hispanic candidates, the practice would be unlawful unless the employer could establish that the practice is needed for it to operate safely or efficiently. At an EEOC meeting in May 2007 on employment testing and screening, attorney Adam Klein testified that credit checks have not been shown to be a valid measure of job performance. Testimony of Adam T. Klein, Esq., EEOC Commission Meeting (May 17, 2007), http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/archive/5-16-07/klein.html. Some courts, however, have determined that credit checks are appropriate for certain positions, such as where an employee handles large amounts of cash. See EEOC v. United Virginia Bank/Seaboard Nat’l, 1977 WL 15340, 21 FEP Cases 1392 (E.D. Va. 1977) (even if the defendant bank’s credit check policy disproportionately screened out African-American job applicants, the bank had a business need to conduct pre-employment credit checks because employees handle large amounts of cash)."
Forewarned is forearmed.Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
Caution When Conducting Background Checks
All too often when HR professionals are looking to conduct background checks on applicants, they first delve into the issue of price and then, maybe but not likely, delve into the issue of competence, integrity and accuracy. An interesting post over at fellow Lexbloggers and friends at Bond Schoeneck & King's New York Employment Law Report demonstrates the concerns associated with complying with both the Federal and the New York Fair Credit Reporting Acts. Author, Kristin Smith, who notwithstanding her youthful appearance in her corporate mug shot (young enough to be my daughter, perhaps) reveals the sad truth in this area: "state law contains more restrictive requirements. For that reason, it is a mistake to assume a background check vendor has all the technical requirements covered."
I cannot tell you how many times I have had a client question me about background investigations. I look at the documentation and everything is written surreptitiously to protect the company doing the background investigation, not the employer. With all vendors, HR professionals must be diligent in ensuring that their company's interests are protected, that the responsibilities for performance for engaged services are met and that areas of potential liability are not dumped upon the employer in the small print. The CYA approach to doing background investigations puts employers at risk and it is important to fully and completely understand both the federal and state requirements that are imposed on employers. Don't expect your vendor to educate you and assume any risk - and be responsible!
For a more comprehensive discussion of state and federal law requirements in this area, see Kristin's post here: Avoid A Few Common Mistakes When Conducting Background Checks
For a detailed discussion on general employment law requirements imposed on New York Employers, see my latest book: The Employer's Guide to New York Employment LawsPosted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Policies & Procedures , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
Traveling Applicants: Catch-22
The scenario: an employer is conducting a search for an important position. Part of the interview process involves flying candidates to the corporate headquarters to meet the big wigs for the final interview. The interviews so far have gone well. The HR staff coordinates the travel arrangements and runs into a slight hiccup: how to ask the applicant for his date of birth so that staff can make travel arrangements without opening itself up to questions about inappropriate age inquiries.
Recently, the Transportation Security Administration implemented a rule that requires flyers to provide their date of birth and gender when making airline reservations. This half-brained idea is supposed to allow the TSA to compare reservations with no-fly lists.
As everyone knows, asking an applicant for his/her date of birth raises suspicion, regardless of the reason. In addition, let's not even address issues relating to privacy concerns which arise as a result of providing confidential information to the employer and then the travel agent. Who knows who will get their hands on this information.
Too bad this rule flies in the face of other rules that employers are subjected to. It would have been nice if the left hand spoke to the right hand. Gee, maybe that's why my passport card - which was touted by the government as a great idea - says it's not approved for flying. Lovely, I got one so that I can basically be forced to use other identification 99% of the time anyway.Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Policies & Procedures , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
USCIS E-Verify Guide Issued Specifically for Government Contractors
As everyone knows, government contractors are now required to use use E-verify. The requirement to use E-verify went into effect on September 8th. In an effort to assist contractors who have not previously used the system, USCIS has issued a comprehensive guide specifically for contractors. The guidance provides specific information with respect to how contractors must use the system, which employees are affected and when the verification rule applies. It also provides a time line for compliance for new contractors or those awarded new contracts.
Follow this link to: E-Verify Supplemental Guide for Federal ContractorsPosted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Federal Contractors , Immigration , Policies & Procedures , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
Hiring Summer Help: Doing It Right
For those considering hiring teens this summer, these links to pages on the USDOL website offer useful information for compliance with state labor laws relating to minors. The first is a Summary of State Laws Concerning Child Labor Standards Affecting Minors Under 18. In addition, this link provides a summary of Employment/Age Certification Issuance Practices Under State Child Labor Laws.
For those in New York, here is the link to the New York State Department of Labor's information on child labor law.
Now there are no excuses for making mistakes when hiring minors this summer.Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Employment Law , New York Law , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
EEOC Fact Sheet on On Employment Tests and Selection Procedures to Screen Applicants and Workers
Some of the assessments that employers use include cognitive tests, physical ability tests, sample job tasks, medical inquiries, personality and integrity tests, criminal background checks, credit checks performance appraisals and language fluency tests.
The EEOC makes several recommendations with regard to tests and assessments, some of which are more obvious that others. Here are a few that I often see overlooked:
Employers should ensure that employment tests and other selection procedures are properly validated for the positions and purposes for which they are used.
If a selection procedure screens out a protected group, the employer should determine whether there is an equally effective alternative selection procedure that has less adverse impact and, if so, adopt the alternative procedure. Many employers don't even know if this is the case.
To ensure that a test or selection procedure remains predictive of success in a job, employers should keep abreast of changes in job requirements and should update the test specifications or selection procedures accordingly. When was the last time you reviewed your job descriptions?
Employers should ensure that tests and selection procedures are not adopted casually by managers who know little about these processes. I am sure your managers know very little about the legal implications of all of this and my be implementing assessments or tests with good intentions. However, they should seek guidance before doing so.
EEOC Interested in Employer Testing and Screening Procedures
“Today employers commonly use a range of employment tests and other screening tools to make hiring, promotion, termination or other employment decisions,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “With the growth of technology, buttressed by post-9/11 security concerns, it is important that employers review their applicant selection procedures to ensure they are non-discriminatory.”Discussion topics included:
- written tests
- criminal and credit histories as a basis for selection
- medical exclusions in hiring
- employer best practices
- the increased use of personality and integrity tests.
"Following an EEOC determination that the city’s use of the examinations violated Title VII, the Justice Department conducted its own investigation and determined that the city’s use of the [written] examinations also constituted a pattern or practice of discrimination against both black and Hispanic applicants."Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Employment Law , Policies & Procedures , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
Where Oh Where to Post Those Jobs?
America's Job Bank will soon meet its demise. Seems the cost of maintaining it has gotten to be a bit too much for Uncle Sam. What's a Federal Contractor to do about its posting requirements? This article from BLR notes:
According to a letter and information sent by ETA Assistant Secretary Emily Stover DeRocco to state-run employment service officers in early 2006, the decision to discontinue AJB will not impact the ability of federal contractors to "immediately list all of its employment openings with the appropriate employment service delivery system." This refers to state job service offices, also known as state employment service or one stop service locations, and workforce development offices (in some states).
All jobs must be listed, including agreements to lease workers from "temp agencies," except executive or top management jobs, positions filled from within the organization, and jobs lasting 3 days or less.
As for posting requirements for Veterans, with the passage of the Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA) (which, by the way, will not go into effect until there are regulations implementing - sometime later this year), mandatory job-posting requirements for covered contractors will change. Under JVA, contractors can no longer meet the requirement by posting solely with AJB. Employers with contracts of $100,000 or more must "immediately list all employment openings with the appropriate employment service delivery system."Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
Time to Polish That Resume
Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection , Trends | Permalink
Truth or Fiction: Top Resume Lies
- Playing with dates to hide employment gaps
- Bogus college degree claims
- Fear of ageism and leaving off jobs, dates of graduation or other omissions
- Embellishments of previous accomplishments (what I call the "walk on water" candidate -how many times has a manager come to the HR department with the resume of a fairly new employee and said that the competence of the employee doesn't match the resume?)
- Embellishing salary
- Exaggerating the academic GPA or other honors, or claiming technical proficiency that one does not have
- Claiming foreign language proficiency
- Exaggerating titles (I guess to justify the lofty title he/she lied about)
- Providing fake addresses (most likely done by out-of-towners looking to relocate to a new city). While I've seen this one done, the fact that it could be so high on the list surprised me.
Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
Excellent Recruitment Advice
"Just about every organization has a receptionist. Sometimes, he or she is merely a guardian, a patrol designed to keep the riffraff in the lobby.It works the same way with the telephone. How many companies, especially law firms, have a policy that the phone must be answered by a person, not voice mail. The result, often a live person, with barely a pulse or any enthusiasm answers the phone, gives you the third degree, attempts to transfer you, finds that the party you are calling isn't available and puts you into voice mail anyway. Usually the person answering the phone is on another floor, doesn't know who you are or, most times, the person you are calling. So, my question is, why bother answering the phone? Just let me go to voice mail in the first place instead of asking me to prounounce and spell my last name three times.
Other times, though, a receptionist can change the entire tone of an interaction. If you've got someone answering your phone, greeting your clients--who have traveled a thousand miles to visit your office--or otherwise dealing with the outside world, I think it's time to do some simple cost/benefit analysis.
If the receptionist greets just 100 people a day, that's 20,000 people a year. Is it worth a dollar per interaction to transform all of those interactions into something spectacular? In other words, instead of hiring the cheapest person, or sticking with the existing person because it's easier, what if you invested in a truly remarkable experience?
For those who don't know of Seth, one click to his post on this subject regarding the receptionist who asked him if he needed a haircut and failed to notice his completely bald head will drive the point home. Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
A Step Backward for Telecommuting
The IT people at Hewlett Packard are taking a giant step backward by eliminating the option to work form home for all IT employees. The idea here seems to go back to the old "face time" requirement. If you aren't in the office, you're not really working. Seems to me that Hewlett Packard should be at least progressive enough to recognize the benefits of telecommuting (notwithstanding the fact that gas is running about $3.25 for regular here in my hometown and a recent survey shows an need for an increase telecommuting, not less). Also, they fail to recognize something vitally important - just because you are in the office doesn't mean you are actually working. I thought we were getting away from the idea of face time as a measure of productivity!
Thanks to the HR Marketer Blog for their thoughtful commentary.Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Policies & Procedures , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
How Private is Your Online Life
"Many companies that recruit on college campuses have been using search engines like Google and Yahoo to conduct background checks on seniors looking for their first job. But now, college career counselors and other experts say, some recruiters are looking up applicants on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and Friendster, where college students often post risqué or teasing photographs and provocative comments about drinking, recreational drug use and sexual exploits in what some mistakenly believe is relative privacy."And we thought that we had to warn people about tattoos and body piercings. As lives become more and more public with details being disclosed by individuals on the internet onto these networking sites, undoubtedly there ends up being a conflict between what an employer may view as poor judgment and an applicant, such as a recent college graduate, viewing as just fun. When was the last time you Googled yourself? Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection , Trends | Permalink
Periodically, I have discussions with clients on the subject of their turnover. An interesting study reveals an interesting conclusion: Employees who participate in a firm's retirement plan are less likely to turnover, than those who don't.
"Other studies have demonstrated that a variety of factors influence an employee's decision to leave his/her employer, so the link that we have identified between voluntary retirement plan participation and employee turnover is not likely to be causal....However, the lack of retirement plan (and other benefit participation) may possibly be a symptom of a lack of employee engagement with his/her employer, which may explain the increased turnover among non-participants."
I've often said, despite some belief to the contrary by others, that there is certainly a strategic element of benefits. If participation in benefits can be correlated with engagement, then maybe we should be looking at all of our human resources practices when looking at how to engage our employees.
For more information, see the article here: Study Links Employee Turnover, Retirement Plan Participation RatesPosted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
Hire Right the First Time or Face These Costs
In a survey of 444 companies throughout North America, Right Management found that..."it costs an average of 2¬? times an individual's salary to replace an employee who doesn't work out, including recruitment, training, and severance costs, and lost productivity, according to the survey. More than 4 out of 10 organizations (42%) said it costs at least three times the employee's salary."
According to the survey, the biggest consequences of bad hiring and promotion decisions are:
- Lower employee morale (68%)
- Decreased employee productivity (66%)
- Lost customers/market share (54%)
- Higher training costs (51%)
- Higher recruitment costs (44%)
- Higher severance costs (40%)
To replace an employee who doesn't work out, it costs - in recruitment, training, severance, and lost productivity:
- Two times the employee's annual salary (42%)
- Three times the employee's annual salary (26%)
- Five times the employee's annual salary (11%)
- Equal to the employee's annual salary (15%)
- Four times the employee's annual salary (6%)
Money or Opportunity: What Makes Executives Stay?
So you're considering giving a whopping pay increase to entice one of your executives to stay? Think again. According to a survey by Korn Ferry, the reason executives leave companies often has nothing to do with the money.
According to the survey cited in Workforce Management, "...only 5 percent of global executives say that inadequate or inconsistent compensation is the main reason they left their last job. Rather, they cite lack of challenges or opportunity for career growth (33 percent) as the top reason they left. Twenty percent of respondents pointed to ineffective leadership, while 17 percent said the attractive job market was why they left their last jobs."
The answer: give people more career development, work/life balance and empower them to make decisions.Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
The Hiring Nightmare
This cartoon should bring a chuckle!Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
You Think You've Got Staffing Problems?!
A friend from New Orleans sent me this picture. I had seen this when I was there a few weeks ago with the Turnaround Management Association's TMAssist Initiative, but was unable to get a picture. Look closely.Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Miscellaneous , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
Attracting and Keeping Employees
According to a World at Work Survey which was reported in Workforce Online, retention bonuses topped the list of programs used by employers to retain employees. They surveyed over 2700 companies and here are some of the stats:
- Sign on/Hiring Bonus - 64%
- Employee Referral Bonus - 63%
- Market/Base Salary Adjustments - 60%
- Individual Spot Bonus - 43%
- Stay Bonus - 30%
- Stock Option Programs - 25%
Workforce Online also reported the top reasons for job cuts in July (according to Challenger Gray & Christmas):
- Reorganization - 31,699 job cuts
- No Clear Reason - 15, 771 job cuts
- Fluctuating Demand/Sales - 12, 798
- Acquisition/Merger - 10, 311
- Closing - 10,004
- Cost Cutting - 9,687
Costco: Defying Perception that Warehouse Stores Pay Poorly
A recent article in the New York Times (free registration required) discusses how Costco has become the Anti-Walmart. The article discussed how Costco has given Sam's Club a run for its money. What's really interesting about the article (and perhaps more important) is the discussion of how Costco treats its employees, much to the dismay of Wall Street. Specifically:
1. Costco benefits for employees are not just a little bit better than average, they are substantially better than their competitors.
2. The average Costco employee earns $17/hour, 42% more than employees at Sam's Club.
3. Turnover is virtually non-existent.
4. Jim Sinegal's (president of Costco) salary is 10% of what CEO's earn at comparable organizations.
5. 401(k) matching contributions range between 3% and 9% depending upon length of service.
The lesson here is that when an organization takes care of its people, it can be wildly successful. Although some on Wall street argue, according to the article, that it's better to be an employee of Costco than a shareholder or customer, it's performance over the years has been quite good. But, I think the question for Wall Street is how good is good enough, and is the balance of stakeholder interests appropriate? As many organizations whittle away salaries and benefits it's refreshing to see a demonstrated commitment to employees.Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Employee Relations , Staffing, Recruitment, Selection , Trends | Permalink
MBTI - Myers-Briggs
I've been taking a Myers-Briggs Qualifying Course through the Center for Applications of Applied Psychological Type in New York this week (I'm an ESTJ). It's made me think if the concept of "testing" in the workplace and a few key points.
It's amazing how many people administer the MBTI who don't know what on earth they are doing! See, Michael's post on George's Employment Blawg here regarding the inappropriateness of the MBTI for selection. I've seen it used hundreds of times in corporations and academia by people not even close to being qualified to administer it. Having said that, it's amazing how many tests are administered in the workplace that have not been validated, aren't even job related and administered under the worst conditions. How many times have applicants been sent off to some psychological testing center for some, presumably, related test? I remember I was a candidate for a VPHR job several years ago (for a company that will remain nameless). Just as the CEO and I were about to firm up a deal, I got a call from some administrative person who told me to expect a call from the psychological testing service. I spent two hours on the phone with a dimwit asking me crazy questions. When he got to the one about which color I'd like to be if I had to choose one and which animal I'd like to be if I had to choose one, I really thought he was crazy. Hey, I'm not a psychologist, but I can't see the correlation between asking someone if they wanted to be green or orange and job performance!
I hope that the HR folks and other selection professionals out there reading this will think twice about the tests they are using. There are a ton of other issues - we could talk for hours about legal issues in test validity, but I have a class tomorrow!Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection | Permalink
Trends in Employment of Older Workers
There have been a number of recent articles noting an increase in the employment of older workers. The New York Times ran this article (worth the registration) a week or so ago which provides some interesting facts and statistics. This isn't just about older workers looking for part time jobs to supplement their retirement income. Apparently, employers are starting to bend over backward a bit in an effort to recruit older employees. The article notes that AARP features employers on its website - those that are offering perks, health benefits and flexible schedules. Here are some other interesting statistics from the article:
- At Borders, 16% of its employees today are over 50 as compared to 6% six years ago.
- About one-third of men and one-fourth of women between the ages of 65-69 were working in 2004.
- The percentage of men in that age group still working rose to 33% from 27% in 1994 and the percentage of women in that age group rose to 23% from 18% .
- AARP predicts that one in three workers will be 50 or older within five years.
In light of the recent discussions concerning guidelines on phased retirement, the dwindling of retiree healthcare, the fewer defined benefit plans available to retirees, this is clearly a trend that will continue.Posted By Diane Pfadenhauer In Staffing, Recruitment, Selection , Trends | Permalink