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OCT
16

Politics Are Not A Protected Class – What You Should Know About Workplace Politics

We have all heard that it's not polite to discuss religion or politics with strangers at social gatherings; if someone insists on either subject, you should politely excuse yourself from their company if it makes you feel uncomfortable. But what about the workplace? You can't just politely walk away from a co-worker who sits next to you all day. And what if your boss supports a candidate you don't support and tries to convince you to vote for them. Can your boss, manager or supervisor do this to you at work?

What is, and isn't okay to discuss at work when it comes to politics or religion? With elections right around the corner, heated discussions will escalate. As an employer or business owner, do you have any guidelines regarding what or who can discuss these potentially volatile subjects and how to nip them in the bud before they can escalate into arguments. Harassment; race, religion, age, and freedom of expression regarding sexual orientation, to name a few, can all be tied into politicians' platforms and views and they may also be tied into discrimination when discussed at the workplace. 
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OCT
03

New Overtime Rule Issued by US Department of Labor Really is a Big Deal

As of January 1, 2020, employees making less than $35,568 annually ($684 weekly) will be able to earn overtime pay due to the new rule that was just issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This new rule will affect approximately 1.3 million U.S. workers: It's a big deal. 

The current salary threshold for exempt employees is $455 per week ($23,660 annually) and will be in effect until 1-1-2020, but it was almost doubled in the past during the Obama administration: A ruling was made against the DOL when it went beyond its authority during that time in a push to raise the salary threshold by double the amount but a federal judge blocked it and ruled it as being too high.
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SEP
18

Are you TAMRA Compliant with Your COBRA Services?

President Ronald Regan signed into law, passed by the U.S. Congress, a plan that would ensure most employees (and employees' dependents) be given the opportunity for continuing health care coverage after their employment ended with a company or organization within the private sector. This is known as COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985).

Generally, a company consisting of 20 full-time employees or more must offer COBRA to a qualifying employee at the time of separation. Because laws and regulations can change on the state and federal levels, if your COBRA plan is not TAMRA (Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988) compliant, you can be setting yourself up for costly penalties which could realistically put a small-business owner out of business. The current requirements under TAMRA encompasses all facets of COBRA to include time frames, consistency in administration, notice language and notifications. Is your company or organization familiar with the requirements under TAMRA?

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SEP
04

Weapon’s and Workplace Violence Policies are a Must-Have for Everyone’s Safety

More often than not these days, you watch the evening news and hear of another workplace violence incident involving a fatal shooting or a violent act against an employee. These acts of violence generally come without warning. The FBI has corroborating data that shows the incidence of active shooters has risen over the past 20 years. The scary thing about these occurrences is that you never know what is going to set someone off. 

According to OSHA, "Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide."

Employees have a right to come in to work each day and feel safe about being there. But how do you prevent violence in the workplace? There are several ways to ensure everyone is clear about your stance as an employer or business owner regarding the presence of weapons in the workplace and the company's policy against random acts of violence against fellow employees. 
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AUG
21

Is Your Company at Risk for Occupational Fraud?

As a business owner or Managing Partner with a large corporation, you want to trust your employees, and this includes upper management, as well. You interviewed, tested, and helped train the best candidate available who eventually became a part of your business. After roughly 16 months, you find yourself looking at a case of Occupational Fraud. How did this happen? Oversight. Weak internal security accounts for almost half of the fraud instances.

According to the "Report to The Nations: 2018 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse," publication, 2,690 real cases of occupational fraud were reported from 125 countries in 23 industry categories with $7 billion total losses. Small businesses generally suffer the brunt of monetary losses in an approximate period of 16 months per case. Employers need internal controls and a trained resource for prevention. An internal audit is generally a good place to start and this can be done by an independent third-party source such as Stellaris Group Human Resources in Roswell, Georgia, by a CPA firm, or by management.

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AUG
07

Encore Careers Help Older Workers to Take on a Second Act

It is said that the Depression-era generation was the greatest generation. While that is probably true, Baby Boomers, who range between the ages of 55 and 75, aren't ready to throw in the towel quite yet. In fact, many retired "Boomers" are taking a second act and getting back to work. If you look around, you will see that we still have familiar faces in Atlanta who are past retirement age reporting our news each day. Why? Work ethic—Boomers simply enjoy working and with 76 million in the U.S., there is no shortage of them. 

Many business owners are losing boomers to retirement these days or older employees are being forced into retirement for one reason or another. When this happens, Human Resources is left trying to fill the talent gaps with young talent or new hires who do not possess the knowledge and years of training the boomers had. But this could present a positive solution for employers to look at hiring those seeking an encore career or they could keep the boomers who want to retire and offer them less hours or approach them with the idea of taking on the role of training or consulting with your new hires. There is just something to be said about "old-school" working with young talent: it's a perfect match. 


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JUL
24

It’s Time to Rethink Performance Reviews

Employers sit down with employees once a year with an Annual Performance Review. Studies have shown that this method of sitting down with an employee and trying to evaluate everything he or she has done over a one-year period is now considered backward-looking, and it really does nothing to inspire or help an employee to become an even more valuable asset to your company. In fact, most employees find it berating, and employers find it time-consuming, with the overall process not necessarily cost effective. 

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JUL
10

Employers Beware of FCRA Based Class Action Lawsuits due to Technical Violations

 As a small-business owner or Human Resources manager of a large corporation, your job is to ensure the safety of your personnel while also finding a new-hire who has the qualifications of filling a position you have available. Gone are the days of simply having a potential employee fill out an application and then check a few references regarding his or her tenure with a previous employee. Things have gotten a bit more complicated these days, but only in an effort to ensure that both employee and employer's rights are not infringed upon.

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JUN
24

‘Ban the Box’ is Most Likely Coming Soon to an Employer Near You

According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), three-fourths of the U.S. population lives in a community that has banned the box. This leads to the question of "Can you legally ask an applicant if he or she has ever been convicted of a crime or involved in any illegal criminal activity," during a job interview?

The answer is both "yes," and "no." It's complicated. Can you legally include this question on a job application where an applicant has to click the box regarding having a criminal background? Currently you can—in *some states and municipalities, based on private or public entities.

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JUN
05

How to Prevent Receiving a ‘No Match’ Letter from SSA

Nobody ever wants to receive an NOI (Notice of Inspection) from the government, but with the Social Security Agency (SSA) helping to crack down on illegal workers in the United States, SSA "No Match" letters are on the rise again and these could possibly trigger a government audit. SSA in the past sent out a "Request for Employer Information," also known as No Match Letters, but stopped sending them in 2012. As of July 2018, due to the "Buy American, Hire American" Executive Order, No Match letters were sent out regarding 2017 W-2 mismatches, and as of spring 2019, No Match letters will go out regarding mismatched information for 2018 W-2s.

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