Who’s to Blame for Layoffs?

January 30, 2009 - by: HR Hero 6 COMMENTS

I was speaking with a friend recently. He had worked for a large financial services company and had lost his job the day before our conversation. My friend told me that he hadn’t been surprised by the announcement. In fact, he knew it was coming for some time and was just waiting for his “package.”

Business is down more than one-third and the job cuts were inevitable, he told me. What he said next just about knocked me over. The company he worked for was laying off more than 80% of its workforce! 80 percent? Business is down by a third and you lay off 80% of your people? That doesn’t compute. How does the company get two-thirds of the work done with 20% of its employees? How does it continue to serve its customers? Either it was grossly overstaffed, which could have contributed to the company’s downturn, or someone’s overreacting and in doing so is sealing the company’s fate because there is no way it can continue to provide a quality service.

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Categories: Commentary

Responding to This Week’s Job Loss Announcements

January 30, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The HR Hero Line you are seeing today isn’t exactly what we had planned. But by noon on what is now being called “Bloody Monday,” we knew we needed to address the fallout from so many job cut announcements, which were then followed on Tuesday by possibly the worst unemployment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in decades.

The numbers are so stunning it’s hard to comprehend them. They cut across all industry sectors and come from businesses that seemed to have solid business models and desirable, even necessary, products and services. To help put the numbers in perspective, picture one of the bigger college or professional football stadiums or basketball arenas you’ve ever seen. Fill it to capacity, and that’s about the same number of job losses that were announced on Monday alone — some 75,000.

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Categories: HR Hero Line

Obama Signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

January 29, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Thursday morning, President Barack Obama signed the first bill of his White House tenure, putting his campaign theme of change into immediate action by overturning U.S. Supreme Court precedent.The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will affect employers charged with pay discrimination by significantly expanding employees’ time for filing suit.

Specifically, the Fair Pay Act amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to declare that an unlawful employment practice occurs not only upon adoption of a discriminatory compensation decision or practice but also when the employee becomes subject to the decision or practice as well as each additional application of the decision or practice. In other words, the 180-day statute of limitations will now be extended on every occurrence of an unlawful employment practice, including issuance of paychecks.

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U.S. Supreme Court Issues Major Decision in Title VII Retaliation Case

January 26, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled today (Jan. 26, 2009) that the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to employees who voluntarily cooperate with an employer’s internal investigations, even if the employee didn’t initiate the investigation and has filed no formal charge.

In the case, Vicky Crawford was asked to participate in an ongoing internal sexual harassment investigation. During the investigation, Crawford alleged that she herself had been sexually harassed in the workplace, and months later, she was discharged. Crawford claimed she was fired in retaliation for her statements during the investigation and filed suit against Metro Nashville Schools.

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Reminder about OSHA Posting Requirement

January 26, 2009 - by: HR Hero 2 COMMENTS

It’s time to post your Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Form 300A, the summary of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred last year. Unless you have 10 or fewer employees or fall within one of the industries normally excused from the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSH Act) recordkeeping and posting requirements, you’re required to post OSHA Form 300A (not the OSHA 300 form/log) annually from February 1 to April 30. A complete list of exempt industries in the retail, services, finance, and real estate sectors is posted on OSHA’s website at www.osha.gov.

The OSHA Form 300A summary must list the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2008 and were logged on the OSHA 300 form. Additional information about your annual average number of employees and total hours they worked during the calendar year also is required to help the agency calculate incidence rates. Even if you had no recordable injuries or illnesses for 2008, you still must post the OSHA Form 300A, listing zeros on the total line. All summaries must be certified by a company executive.

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Categories: Federal Regulations / OSHA

Benefits survey shows many employers struggling with health insurance costs

January 16, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Each January, HR Hero conducts an online survey about health insurance and retirement benefits offered by our readers’ organizations. Most of the questions are similar each year and provide a good comparison to previous years. The one thing that changes is the essay question. And this year, boy did we hit a nerve with that one.

Read the survey results

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Categories: HR Hero Line

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed

January 09, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Update: U.S. Senate has passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and it has been sent to President Barack Obama. He is scheduled to sign the bill into law on Jan. 29, 2009.

In one of its first major employment law actions of the year, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that will significantly ease the time limits for employees to file wage discrimination claims.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (H.R. 11) passed the House January 9 with a vote of 247-171. The Act amends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to declare that an unlawful employment practice occurs not only upon adoption of a discriminatory compensation decision or practice but also when the individual becomes subject to the decision or practice, as well as each additional application of that decision or practice. In other words, each time compensation is paid.

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Benefits 2009 HR Hero Survey

January 09, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Each January, HR Hero asks its readers about the benefits their company plans to offer in the new year. With the changes in the economy and employers looking for ways to cut expenses, will they be reducing benefits or passing more of the cost of them on to employee?

Take the survey and we’ll report the results in next week’s HR Hero Line.

Categories: HR Hero Line

New E-Verify Rule for Federal Contractors Delayed

January 09, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Update: E-verify deadline moved to September 2009

Federal contractors have been given at least a temporary reprieve from the E-Verify regulations that were set to go into effect January 15. Under the plan, the contractors would be required to begin using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services E-Verify system to ensure that their employees are eligible to work in the United States.

Several business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed a lawsuit last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland seeking to have the court rule that the E-Verify regulations are unconstitutional. The court immediately ordered the U.S. government and the business groups to confer by next Monday to see if some compromise could be reached regarding the January 15 effective date. The parties have agreed to postpone the effective date to February 20. In the meantime, they will present their legal arguments to the court, which is expected to rule before February 20 on whether the regulations can withstand a constitutional challenge.

Employee Privacy Challenges & Solutions

December 31, 2008 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

M. Lee Smith Publishers and HR Hero have just released a new HR executive special report on employee privacy challenges for HR pros – Employee Privacy Challenges & Solutions: Electronic Monitoring, Health Information, Personnel Files, and More. The report is written by employment law attorney Katherine Novak Townsend.

Employee Privacy Challenges & Solutions, is a comprehensive guide for employers for monitoring employee activities and communications — without infringing on workers’ legal rights. In plain-English, it explains issues including: read more…

Categories: HR Hero Line

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