You survived the holidays, and the (sometimes scary) holiday party. But now it’s 2017. What will you do differently? What goals have you set for your company? How are you going to deal with THAT employee.
No business resolution list is complete without an examination of your HR policies and employee issues. Specifically, here are the top five issues an employer should examine in 2017:
1. Are your employees classified correctly?
Even though the new overtime regulations seem to have died on the vine, it doesn’t change the fact that many of your employees may be misclassified and entitled to overtime anyway. And for those that you have classified correctly, are you paying them correctly? Yes, I am talking to you — the employer that banks an employee’s earned overtime instead of paying it out. To ensure good health, and good wealth in the new year, you should examine your workforce and make sure that those employees that are entitled to overtime are getting it.
2. Are your independent contractors really employees?
You know that contractor that has been working full-time with your company for years, or is now performing a function that is core to your operations? Perhaps they are not (or no longer) really independent. The Department of Labor’s crusade on this issue has not (and likely will not) die.
3. Has your employee handbook been reviewed and updated?
With all of the changes in the law in just the last year or two, it’s time to dust off that employee handbook, make sure it’s still accurate and that it says what you want it to say. Remember, if you have a dissatisfied employee, the first place they will look is your handbook. Do you know what it says?
4. Are you hiring in 2017?
Great! Hiring is a sign of growth. But, hiring has become its own landmine. Make sure you comply with the FCRA, the new I-9 regulations (effective Jan. 22, 2017), Ban the Box, and the anticipated regulations on asking about salary requirements. If you have no idea what I am talking about, time to talk to your trusted employment attorney.
5. And once you have them on board, it’s time to train them — and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to retrain your existing staff.
Did you know that the EEOC updated its guidance on National Origin Discrimination in November, and that it issued proposed regulations for Harassment Enforcement just last week? Time to update your training manuals and then give a crash course in what is now called “Civility Training” to all of your employees. What’s that? You don’t do any training,? Now is a good time to start.
So there you have it. I could go on, but that should be enough to keep you busy for quite some time.
Wishing all of you a prosperous and litigation-free new year!
Christina M. Reger, Esq. is a shareholder at Bazelon Less & Feldman, PC. She is licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Christina works with small and mid-sized business to prevent litigation from employees and applicants by ensuring that the employer has the proper policies and procedures in place, providing training and educating staff, and generally reviewing the operation to ensure compliance with the morass of employment laws. Christina offers a unique fee structure that provides predictability and accessibility to the legal services her clients need.