Hands Off! Dealing with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

October 16, 2018 / by TeNita Bryant posted in Lawsuits, Compliance, Human Resources, Internal & External Human Capital

The definition of Sexual Harassment has evolved over the years. It is a form of sex discrimination that has its roots in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This federal law made it illegal for employers to qualify or disqualify a person, within an employment setting, based on their sex. This could be either male or female; discrimination is not gender specific. Sexual Harassment is taking sex discrimination a step further. It is making unwanted advances toward a person with the expectation of specific behaviors. It can mean:

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Hip, HIPAA, Hooray!

October 09, 2018 / by Kellee Perez posted in Lawsuits, Compliance, Employers, Removing the Stress of It All, Determining Opportunities & Threats

So, the title of this article is a tad misleading. While I don’t have any news that’s worth throwing a parade over regarding HIPAA, I do have some really great information, tips, & tools that will provide some clarity and direction for HR professionals and executives that manage HR, regarding HIPAA. 

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Some Things You Just Can't Deny...like FMLA

September 11, 2018 / by Kellee Perez posted in Lawsuits, HR Consulting, Human Resources

For employers that are subject to FMLA, there are truly only a handful of instances in which one could automatically and legally deny an employee’s request for FMLA (i.e. the employee hasn’t met eligibility requirements, the employee has an unqualified need for leave, or the specified health condition does not qualify).  Outside of those instances, which is where most of your FMLA requests will fall, as an employer you are required to grant “eligible employees 12 workweeks of unpaid leave a year” (Nestor-Harper 2018) AND ensure that “the employee’s job is protected, allowing him/her to return to work at the same or similar job with similar pay and benefits. FMLA guidelines for employers also require the continuation of health benefits, if any, for employees on FMLA”. (Nestor-Harper 2018) So, while you can’t just say no or avoid the matter altogether, there are some key steps you can take to ensure you don’t land yourself an FMLA lawsuit, experience FMLA abuse, and/or that your staff doesn’t get bogged down by FMLA administration (intermittent leaves can be a pain!).  Here are my top 3:

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I-9s, Audits, and ICE, Oh My!

July 31, 2018 / by Kellee Perez posted in Lawsuits, Compliance, Human Resources, Determining Opportunities & Threats

With every change in the oval office, we typically see some change in employment law as well. We, HR folks and business owners, must stay abreast of and in compliance with all of them!  Agendas for our major agencies (the Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Homeland Security, etc) are drastically affected by the standing administration’s goals and objectives. Our latest change in administration is no different. One recent major focus has been combating the hiring and ongoing employment of workers who are ineligible to work in the United States. According to Acting Executive Associate Director for HSI, Derek N. Benner, “Our work site enforcement strategy continues to focus on the criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly break the law, and the use of I-9 audits and civil fines to encourage compliance with the law.”1.  Here’s everything you need to know to do just that:

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Protect your business: The cost of employment lawsuits and how to avoid them

November 17, 2017 / by Kellee Perez posted in HR Outsourcing, Lawsuits, Employers, Removing the Stress of It All

Employment lawsuits have risen more than 400 percent in the past 20 years, according to Bloomberg Law Reports. The publication also found that if an employment lawsuit is filed against the employer in federal court, statistically there is a 16 percent chance that the employee will win more than $1 million and an almost 70 percent chance the employee will win at least $165,000. The average lawsuit award is in the area of $500,000.
 
“It is essential that employers have good policies in place that protect the company against lawsuits,” says Kellee Perez, an Account Executive at BIG-HR . “Ownership and management needs to have a clear understanding of how to apply these HR policies so that the company can make informed decisions when a situation arises. The impact of a single lawsuit on a business can be devastating.”

Smart Business spoke with Perez about best practices to avoid being hit with an employment lawsuit.
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