Sunday October 22, 2017
 

Spotlight on equal pay: What your peers are doing to prevent a Google situation

Employers are well aware pay discrepancies between genders could come back to haunt them. As a result, many are taking proactive steps to make sure they prevent or address any problems before it’s too late. 

A recent WorldatWork report revealed that 60% of HR pros currently monitor their processes for pay equity issues. What’s more, 43% of HR pros spent more time on equal pay issues this year than they did the previous

The report also identified the various steps employers were currently using to address pay equity.

From regular analysis to internal committees

These steps included:

  • Conducting regular analyses to identify possible gender biases (cited by 54% of companies from the study)
  • Requiring managers to explain all pay decision (20%)
  • No longer asking about job applicants’ slary history (15%)
  • Utilizing software or algorithm to determine pay that controls for gender, race, ethnicity, etc. (11%)
  • Eliminating slary negotiating based on merit increases or promotions (3%)
  • Creating an internal committee to review all pay decisions (3%), and
  • Eliminating salary negotiations during hiring (1%).

Eleven percent of companies also cited “other,” 20% didn’t have any formal formals in place to address pay equity and 1% didn’t know if they had anything in place.

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The Essentials of HR and Talent Management October 2017 Kit

The Essentials of HR and Talent Management October 2017 Kit brings together the latest information, coverage of important developments, and expert commentary to help with your HR and Talent Management related decisions.

Learn more! 

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A taste of its own medicine: EEOC ordered to fork over $1.9M for ‘frivolous’ claims

The EEOC has long a history among employers of filing lawsuits for dubious reasons, and in this case, that strategy seems to have come back to haunt it.

A federal district court just ordered the agency to pay $1.9 million in attorneys’ fees to a delivery company it had filed suit against because of a worker’s sexual harassment claims.

The case was EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, a delivery company. The suit stemmed from a sexual harassment claim made by a female CRST worker against two male co-workers, and a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the company.

The long and winding road here

The case has a long, winding history through the court system including a $4.7 million verdict against the EEOC, the largest amount every levied against the agency, and a stop in the Supreme Court.

Eventually, it wound up being decided by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. Not only was CRST able to get the Title VII charges dismissed, it also got a $1.9 million attorneys’ fees aware..

Why did it rule that way? Essentially because the EEOC failed to follow procedure.

The court said the agency failed to satisfy two crucial statutory requirements for bring lawsuits under Title VII by not:

  • conducting a reasonable investigation, and
  • a bona-fide conciliation of the claims.

‘Prevailing party’

Courts are authorized to award attorneys’ fees to the “prevailing party” (or the winning side) in a Title VII case.

Bottom line: If the EEOC fails to do everything required in the pre-suit process, it can be held financially accountable for those skipped steps.

From an employer perspective, if you do ever wind up in the EEOC’s cross-hairs, it’s worthwhile to double-check the feds are following all proper proper protocols in their process and speak up if you find anything is amiss.

 

 

 

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Age bias lawsuit: Little white lies about worker’s departure come back to haunt employer

Sometimes employers feel the need to fib a little about why an employee is leaving the company – to avoid damaging morale.

While the intentions may be good, a new lawsuit serves as a great example of why not to do that. 

Hired at 63, fired at 64

When Wesley Enhanced Living, a retirement community, fired CFO DeWayne McMullin, he filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Wesley.

McMullin, who was 64, was replaced by a 52-year-old.

Wesley said McMullin was fired because he continually made errors in financial reports and cash sheets.

The employer also believed it had strong grounds to get the lawsuit thrown out – namely McMullin was 63 when he was hired (he’d only been on the job a year).

Surely, the fact that they hired him at 63 proves Wesley wasn’t guilty of age bias, right?

Not so fast. The court ruled a jury should hear McMullin’s case because:

  • Wesley told its employees McMullin resigned – not that he was fired, and
  • the CEO said two staffers complained to him about McMullin’s performance, but they testified that while they had concerns, they never discussed them with the CEO.

So the court said, “Based on the record … a jury could find Wesley’s explanation for terminating McMullin incredible. Such a finding may give rise to an inference of discrimination.”

Now Wesley is facing an expensive legal battle or settlement.

Cite: McMullin v. Evangelical Services for the Aging, d.b.a. Wesley Enhanced Living, U.S. Dist. Crt., E.D. PA, No. 16-6660, 8/2/17.

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A dangerous pay error that’s catching many companies off-guard

ada, mental health

Any time the DOL accuses your company of breaking federal pay laws, it’s a major headache.

But when the mistake is clearly unintentional and the feds slap you with a “willful” FLSA violation, it’s a different type of headache altogether.

Willful FLSA violations not only carry more expensive civil penalties, they also allow the DOL to look at a full extra year of employers’ payroll data to assess penalties.

The DOL even has a tendency to get creative from time to time. In one recent case, the feds took the rare step of requiring the company to furnish every employee with a copy of their timesheet after each pay period.

What’s worse, many companies aren’t aware of how easy it is to wind up with a willful violation.

For the DOL to impose a willful violation on your company, all it takes is a single, repeated slip.

Not the first time

Recent example: Tavco Chandler Street Inc. and five associated companies – doing business as (DBA) Golden Pizza.

Tavco was accused of violating the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping rules. The DOL claimed the company didn’t record all the employees’ work hours and failed to pay workers OT.

Because this wasn’t the first time Tavco was investigated for FLSA issues, the DOL said the violations were willful. As a result, the company agreed to pay $292,016 in back wages to 73 employees. On top of that amount, Tavco will fork over an equal amount in damages.

If you’ve ever …

This case is a good reminder of how easy it is to wind up on the hook for willful FLSA violations.

Key: If you’ve ever been paid a visit by the feds, it’s worth the extra effort to double- and even triple-check all your pay records, procedures and classifications.

After all, a little extra on your end is well worth it if it saves you from increased penalties and extra DOL scrutiny.

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No vote, no repeal, no future plans: GOP abandons its ACA-killing efforts for the year

aca, obamacare, repeal, trump

When Republicans decided not to vote on their latest incarnation of an ACA repeal — the Graham-Cassidy bill — they effectively abandoned any hope of repealing the health law in 2017.

The decision not to put the bill to a vote in the Senate came a day after Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she would join two GOP Senators in voting against the bill.

Collins decision to oppose the bill came mere minutes after the Congressional Budget Office said it would cause individuals with health insurance to be “reduced by millions.”

The bill could only afford to have two GOP senators oppose it if it was to have any chance of being passed.

To be continued …

The Graham-Cassidy bill would have killed the ACA mandates that require individuals to get health insurance or pay a penalty and the ACA’s subsidies of health insurance on the individual market. It would also have ended the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Instead, the bill would offer block grants of federal funds to individual states, which the states could then use as they saw fit.

This defeat follows a series of ACA repeal failures in the Senate, after the House was able to narrowly pass a controversial repeal bill.

While Graham said the GOP’s efforts to repeal Obamacare were far from over, he did acknowledge they wouldn’t tackle the issue in the near future. Graham said, “We’re gonna come back to this after taxes,” which effectively means Republicans won’t be able to take on the healthcare issue until the start of the new year.

Graham also commented on the problem of getting Republicans to agree on an ACA repeal by stating:

“The missing agreement for us as Republicans has been we know what we don’t like. Obamacare is not working, we make that case effectively. But we’ve had a hard time articulating what we’re for until now. Now we have something to talk about that makes sense. The good news for America is Republicans are not just going to deliver on campaign promises, we’re actually going to improve health care by giving you access to people who care more about you at home than any bureaucrat could do here in Washington,” 

 

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Embracing the Purple Squirrel: A Power Move in Recruiting

The Purple Squirrel is the rarest, most flawless candidate that possesses precisely the right array of technical skills, not to mention impeccable cultural fit. They are the ones who can hit the ground running with little to no training. They fit the job description perfectly, with expertise in every technical skill on the lengthy list of requirements. Download this eBook to learn more about this rarest candidate.

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5 Common Sense Changes for How You Hire

It’s been said that common sense isn’t all that common. Scott Wintrip frequently observes organizations engaging in hiring practices that defy common sense. Does this mean that the leaders who engage in the methods are dumb? No. Of course not. The issue is that habits often interfere with our innate instincts. Here are five of Scott Wintrip’s most frequently shared commons sense hiring ideas for leaders.

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FMLA ruling: Is this loose standard terrible news for your compliance efforts?

Thanks to a recent court ruling, it may now be even more difficult for employers to take any adverse action against an employee who is on — or has previously taken — FMLA leave.

Woods v. START Treatment & Recovery Centers is the lawsuit HR pros everywhere must be aware of.

Clear performance problems

The lawsuit focused on Cassandra Woods, a staffer whose performance struggles were well-documented.

In fact, her employer put down in writing that she was failed to achieve “required outcomes” in both “compliance” and “documentation.”

Due to these issues, Woods was given enhanced training, however, that didn’t improve her problems and she was eventually put on a a 90-day probation. Here’s where the FMLA came into play.

Because Woods suffers from severe anemia and other medical conditions, she took FMLA on a number of occasions. During her probation, Woods was granted FMLA leave, which the company granted.

But 12 days after she returned, her supervisor proposed firing her. A week later Woods was terminated.

She claimed the termination was retaliation for her FMLA and filed a suit against the company.

Her employer argued the move was purely performance based. It pointed to performance reviews that clearly documented her performance problems as well as the enhanced training and a 90-day probation period to support its decision.

A very loose standard

Initially, a district court ruled Woods was required to proved that her FMLA leave was the “but for” cause of her termination. In other words, she would not have been fired “but for” her FMLA leave. A jury believed Woods failed here.

But an appeals court used a very loose standard for validating FMLA claims that essentially makes it much easier for employees to push forward retaliation claims. According to the court, Woods only needed to show her FMLA was a “motivating factor” in the company’s termination decision.

Put another way, Woods only needed to show that FMLA leave was a negative facor or a part of the company’s decision to fire her. The court then send the case back to trial and a jury will determine whether the claims meet the lower standard.

All decisions under the microscope

Lesson: If this standard for retaliation claims becomes the norm, employers’ documentation of the decision-making process will be put under the microscope. So every step of the process must be recorded as if it could be used in court.

Cite: Woods v. START Treatment & Recovery Centers

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The 3 resume lies HR pros are seeing with alarming regularity

For HR pros, the hiring process is not only about finding the most-qualified candidates, it’s also about exposing dishonest ones.

That’s because nearly half of respondents from a recent OfficeTeam report said they “knew someone” who’d lied on a resume.

And a separate report by HireRight found that 85% of employers uncovered lies on job applicants’ resumes.

With this trend in mind, HR pros should approach the resume pile with a careful eye for red flags. One way to do this is by looking out for common fabrications and outright lies. Here are three of the most common, courtesy of Fast Company:

1. Inflated roles

According to the OfficeTeam report, 76% of candidates embellished job experience, and 55% exaggerated their job duties.

In an effort get to where they want to go career-wise, job-seekers will put down the titles of jobs they believed they deserved as opposed to their actual work roles.

What to look for: Vague descriptions of skills that aren’t consistent with what your job posting actually demands.

2. Suspicious dates

Job-seekers know gaps in employment tend to raise red flags for recruiters and HR pros. As a result, they tend to get creative in covering up those gaps.

Example: Date blocks that only include the year, instead of the starting/ending month.

3. Lack of degree specificity

Education is a huge area for misrepresentation. While there are a few brazen folks who have the guts to put down big-name schools they never even attended, that type of lie generally isn’t what you have have to worry about.

A far more common fib comes from candidates that put down degrees they never earned or fell just short of earning.

What to look for: Incomplete degree names. For example, someone may put bachelors degree instead of bachelor of science (BS) or bachelor of fine arts (BFA).

To be safe, you’ll want to make sure all degree specs were met and that the candidate isn’t among the individuals who lie about something that they never actually completed.

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