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The Compliance INSIDER

May is Improve Your Posture Month

This May is, "Correct Your Posture Month" it is a great opportunity to take a look at your posture and find ways to improve it. As you are reading this, check your posture. Is your spine long and strong, or are you hunched over?...

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Understanding Mental Health Issues and Creating Supportive Workplaces

Understanding Mental Health Issues and Creating Supportive Workplaces The U.S. Department of Labor in a recent news release announced that they have launched a new resource to help employers better understand mental health issues and...

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An Overlooked Type of Workplace Violence

Did you know that April is National Workplace Violence Prevention month? Workplace violence doesn’t just involve criminal intent and irate customers. Employees bullying each other is another form of workplace violence that needs more...

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Celebrating Workers Achievements on this Labor Day

Labor Day is just around the corner here in the United States, always falling on the first Monday of September. This Federal holiday was created in the late 19th century as a response to the ongoing Labor Movement, when at the time the average...

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When are Employees Entitled to Leave Under FMLA?

Occasionally we are asked questions about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). We receive a variety of questions regarding FMLA including questions about leave entitlement. For example: Is our practice required to comply with FMLA? If so,...

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Recent Allegations and Attention on Sexual Harassment Presents Challenges

There have been a lot of stories involving sexual harassment allegations against high profile men in the news lately. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movement may have a lot to do with the increased allegations and increased attention focused on the...

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Vacation Season is here! Best Practices for an Effective Time-Off System

With Spring Break underway and summer on the horizon – do you know how your organization manages time-off for employees during vacation season? Have you checked your policies and procedures to make sure time off requests are handled...

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Charge Statistics for Discrimination and Harassment Show Unsettling Trend

It feels like not a day goes by when a new high-profile story of discrimination is published in the news. For example, it was recently reported that ESPN is being hit with a lawsuit for discrimination and sexual harassment by a former employee....

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Integrity: More than Just a Piece of the Healthcare Compliance Puzzle

There are many ways integrity is defined. Most of us have heard integrity defined as what you do when nobody else is around, or what you do and how you do it on a daily basis. Integrity is a concept that includes consistency in actions,...

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Should Office Romances Be Allowed In The Workplace?

Healthcare organizations are not exempt when it comes to office romances. Some organizations may choose to ignore office romances; some organizations may ban them altogether; while others may have policies and procedures in place for disclosing...

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Are you aware of your Holiday Time off Policy?

Most organizations that offer a personal time off system for all leave purposes, or vacation leave and sick leave systems, typically award time off based on your employment status, job level, your title and years of service with your...

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Workplace Halloween Costume Do's and Don'ts

Halloween is upon us. For employers, choosing a costumes policy can be scary. Will you allow costumes? If yes, what costumes are allowed? Are there employees who may be offended by Halloween costumes? For employees, choosing a costume that aligns...

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What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

Not too long ago, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued a company for sexual harassment.  The company that was sued violated federal law by allowing a manager to subject several female employees to sexual harassment....

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Are you aware of your State's Termination Law?

Currently, employers are not required by federal law to give former employees their final paycheck immediately.  However, federal law does apply if the regular payday for the last pay period an employee worked has passed and the employee has...

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8 Tips to Reap the Rewards of Summertime in your Organization

Ah summer! The weather is nice; the kids are out of school; and many of us take a much needed vacation. For employers and employees, there are potential obstacles to overcome, but these obstacles offer opportunities including rewards that summer...

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Are You Prepared in the Event of an Active Shooter?

Active shooter events in healthcare facilities present unique challenges as staff members are faced with the decision about what to do with patients, visitors, and themselves. Patients may be unable to evacuate themselves due to injury, age, and...

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Agreement Demonstrates the Importance of Providing Language Assistance Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced that a Voluntary Resolution Agreement has been made with Erie County Department of Social Services.  The agreement is said to ensure...

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Malware Infection Results in a $650,000 Settlement

Just recently it was announced that a potential HIPAA Privacy Rule and Security Rules violation lead a major organization to pay a sustainable fee, $650,000. The breach was reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), Office...

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Overtime Rule Temporarily Blocked

Just last week, a federal judge in Texas granted an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction that was filed by twenty-one states, to block the new U.S. Department of Labor's overtime rule. This means, for the time being, changes to the...

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Alert: Phishing Email Disguised as Official OCR Audit Communication

Phishing Scam Alert – November 28, 2016 Healthcare Compliance Pros has received the following communication from the OCR: "It has come to our attention that a phishing email is being circulated on mock HHS Departmental letterhead under...

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Does the Emergency Preparedness Final Rule apply to your facility?

Recently, the final rule Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare and Medicaid Participating Providers and Suppliers was published in the Federal Register.   While the rule goes into effect on November 16, 2016, health care...

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Workplace Halloween Costume Do's and Don'ts

Halloween is upon us. For employers, choosing a costumes policy can be scary. Will you allow costumes? If yes, what costumes are allowed? Are there employees who may be offended by Halloween costumes? For employees, choosing a costume that aligns...

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Employee Loses Job for Playing Pokemon Go

An employee of a company recently posted comments regarding Pokémon Go on Facebook. The employee's comments led to Facebook users finding out the name of the company, slamming the company and leaving messages regarding its employment...

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Help Employers and Employees Reap the Rewards of Summertime

Ah summer! The weather is nice; the kids are out of school; and many of us take a much needed vacation.  For employers and employees, there are potential obstacles to overcome, but these obstacles offer opportunities including rewards that...

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HHS Announces Final Rule Prohibiting Discrimination in Health Care

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued a final rule to advance health equity and reduce health care disparities.  According to HHS, under the final rule individuals are protected from discrimination in health care...

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A Day Dedicated to Goofing Off

Did you know National Goof Off Day is observed in March?  As the name implies, this is a day dedicated to "goofing off" – a chance to take a deep breath, sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself.   It also means doing...

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The 5 Types of Bosses Employees Hate Most

Employees don't leave companies; they leave bosses. You may have heard this old business adage before. But what types of bosses do people leave? And, more importantly, are you one of them? The diva I once (very, very briefly) worked for a...

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Holiday Time Off Policies

Most organizations that offer a personal time off system for all leave purposes, or vacation leave and sick leave systems, typically award time off based on your employment status, job level, your title and years of service with your...

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Workplace Halloween Costume Do's and Don'ts

Halloween is upon us.  For employers, choosing a costumes policy can be scary.  Will you allow costumes?  If yes, what costumes are allowed?  Are there employees who may be offended by Halloween costumes? For employees,...

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October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

Do you remember a time in your life when you either witnessed a bully in action or were a victim of an assault by a bully?  I'm sure we can all think of a time at the playground in elementary school when we witnessed a bully in...

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Corporate Wellness Programs Best Practices: ensuring the privacy and security of employee health information

Nationwide, corporate wellness programs are on the rise.  In 2016, the corporate wellness industry is projected to exceed $2.9 billion; by 2020 – corporate wellness is projected to be a $12 billion dollar industry.  One reason for...

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H/R Sexual Discrimination Policies

Focus on Transgender Staff Members Although transgender individuals represent less than 1% of the population, HR policies to protect expanding sexual discrimination rights are something that should be considered.  These policies are...

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Exceptional Customer Service: How to do it

By: Reed Tinsley, CPA Why should you strive to give exceptional customer service to your patients? Why not just good? The answer is that most patients often have a hard time differentiating between similar services offered by different physician...

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April is National Workplace Violence Prevention Month

Did you know that health care and social service workers are almost four times as likely to be injured as a result of violence as the average private sector worker?  In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported more than 23,000...

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Vacation season is here! Best practices for an effective time off system

Last week, the Senate decided to wait until after Easter break to vote on a bill that repeals Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR). It's safe to assume that the senators have spring fever and were eager to get their vacation underway,...

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Maintain productivity during March Madness

March Madness is officially here. It's that time of the year when many employers around the country worry about productivity loss.  In fact, according to a recent study, it is estimated that by the time of the national championship on...

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Don't forget to wear green on St. Patrick's Day

March 17, 2015 is the day many of us dress in green and celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  As the tradition goes, if you forget to wear green you may be pinched.  But did you know this is only a tradition in the United States? So why do...

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What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?

Recently the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued a company for sexual harassment.  The company that was sued violated federal law by allowing a manager to subject several female employees to sexual harassment....

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Paid/Unpaid Break Time

Acme Corporation's longstanding policy is to give non-exempt employees two 10-minute rest breaks each workday. It treats these breaks as paid work time. Management recently realized that, over the years, most of the employees have gradually...

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Safeguarding Confidential Information is not just a HIPAA Obligation

Throughout your career you may be asked questions about your job duties and about the organization you work for. Think about conversations you may have outside the workplace such as a conversation over lunch with friends from an organization...

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What to do when letting an employee go

I recently had a conversation with a gentleman who asked me if I have any advice for him on how he should handle "laying off" or "letting go" an employee.  I remembered a two part articles series we published in our forum...

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EEOC Raised Noncompliance Fines for Failing to Post Federal Notices

Are you in compliance with your required postings in your office? Are all required notices posted in prominent and accessible places for employees, applicants, and staff members? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) more than...

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Model Notices to include Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Option

On May 2, 2014 it was announced by the Obama administration that model notices have been updated to inform workers of their eligibility for continuation of health-care coverage through COBRA.  The updates make it clear to workers that if...

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Civil Penalties Adjusted for Violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The final rule has been issued by the Department of Justice increasing civil penalties for violations under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The final rule goes into effect April 27, 2014, The maximum civil penalties have been...

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The EEOC and FTC: Tips on Use of Employment Background Checks

What is included in the two documents co-published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), offers assistance to employers, job applicants and employees. For Employers The document...

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Bad Weather Absences: What Should Your Pay Policy Be?

We had frigid, severe weather last week but our offices were able to remain open, although some employees could not make it to work either because schools were closed (causing childcare problems) or icy roads made driving difficult. How should we...

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Correcting Time Records

There may be times when you may need to change an employee's time record in order to create a correct report. Are you allowed to do it? Q:  We have a time clock system in place. If a nonexempt employee forgets to clock in or out or...

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At-Will Employment and "For Cause" Statements

It may seem like a good idea to say you will terminate employees only "for cause," particularly if you want to be perceived as acting fairly towards your workers. But, if you do, you could be limiting your ability to implement your...

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The Five "R"s of Harassment Avoidance

Here are five quick tips to help organizations with regard to harassment in the office: R#1. Refrain Supervisors and managers have to set an example by refraining from: Unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against members of any...

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Delay on Health Care Law's Employer Mandate

The Obama administration caught the U.S. business community by surprise when it announced a one year delay, until Jan. 1, 2015, in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) mandate that employers with 50 or more...

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Lawsuit Avoidance Checklist for Your Wellness Program

Not every office participates in a wellness program.  If you do, here are some suggestions for your success: Keep corporate wellness and employment decisions separate. Achievement on a health program shouldn't be a basis for...

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Long-awaited I-9 Form Update Released

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an updated I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form.  Employers are required to complete a Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of each employee hired...

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A Bullying Scenario

It's true that there are no anti-bullying laws in the US, but that doesn't mean that bullying can't be the basis of a lawsuit. Bryan Boss Shows the Myth of No Anti-Bullying Laws Let's use Bryan Boss as the example of how lawsuits...

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Parental Leave Is Brand New

The Final FMLA rule makes four changes (or clarifications) to the listed qualifying exigencies. The rule: Clarifies that, for the purposes of leave for child care and school activities, the child must be the military member's child or a...

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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Poster

In 2008 the FMLA was amended to provide employees with family members serving in the Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserves with FMLA leave for reasons related to their family members' military service. In 2010 the FMLA was again amended,...

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Employer Obligations to Returning Troops and Their Families

Most every employer (large and small) can expect to welcome returning veterans. Obligations (legal and moral) are many, and there won't be any sympathy for employers who fail to honor their responsibilities. Basic Requirements of USERRA...

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A New Liability Concern for Your Practice: Textual-Sexual Harassment

Text messages, unlike graffiti, cannot be permanently erased from a wall. Even when text messages are deleted, they still can be retrieved. Employers should also be aware that lawsuits and court cases involving texting and harassing behaviors are...

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FMLA Leave for Treatment of Substance Abuse

Complying with the FMLA rules can also be a confusing issue. This question is also a frequent one. Q: Do I really have to approve leave for treatment of substance abuse? A: Substance abuse may be a serious health condition if one of the tests for...

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Keeping Your Workplace Union-Free

Not all employers are interested in preventing unionization of their workplace, but if you are, this article will give you some suggestions on that prevention. In addition to communicating with employees about unions, it is critical that...

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I-9 Form Set to Expire

Alert: employers may have noticed that the current version of the I-9 form used to verify a new employee's identity and employment authorization is set to expire on August 31, 2012. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a part of the...

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Cracking Down on FMLA Abuse: Part 2

This is the second part of an article about tackling the problem of FMLA abuse. The first part of the article was published last week. 7. Assign employees taking intermittent leave to alternative positions that cause less disruption, if...

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Cracking Down on FMLA Abuse: Part 1

In order to minimize disruption in the workplace, an employer must detect and deal with employees who abuse FMLA. Managers are somewhat apprehensive when questioning an employee's requested FMLA leave because of the fear of violating the...

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"At-Will" Employment: Avoid Unintentional Mistakes

It may seem like a good idea to say you will terminate employees only "for cause," particularly if you want to be perceived as acting fairly towards your workers. But, if you do, you could be limiting your ability to implement your...

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Reminder for Classifying your Employees

Claims initiated by employees against their employers claiming non-payment of overtime have increased exponentially over the last year. This article is a reminder to you as an employer to ensure your employees are classified correctly in order to...

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NLRB Posting Rule Blocked

A rule slated to take effect April 30, 2012, that would force most U.S. employers to post a notice of employees' rights under labor law has been blocked by a federal circuit court on the heels of a federal district court's determination...

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Proposed New I-9 Form

On March 27, 2012, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services published a notice of proposed revision to the Form I-9 in the Federal Register. Most notably, the proposed form is two pages rather than one page, and the instructions comprise six pages...

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Preventing Workplace Violence Incidents (Part 2)

It is essential that you train your employees in steps that they can take to lessen their risk of becoming involved in a violent workplace incident. We recommend that you tell workers to: * Keep the numbers for security and the police near their...

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Preventing Workplace Violence Incidents (Part 1)

There are many basic steps you can take to lessen the risk of violent workplace incidents. This post will be part of a multi-part article regarding prevention of workplace violence. We hope your practice has already implemented many of these...

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How EEOC Mediation Works

The following are some comments from EEOC (Equal Opportunity Employment Commission) about how mediation works and what its benefits are: An EEOC representative will contact the employee and employer concerning their participation in the program....

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Importance of Record-keeping in 2012

Increased enforcement makes recordkeeping all the more important. Below is a list of the governmental audit targets for 2012: * 30% increase in number of federal wage & hour investigators, * U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is...

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Do's, Don'ts, and Rules for Bulletproof Documentation

Employment law attorneys aren't allowed to just say "document." They always say "document, document, document," and there's a good reason for using those famous three words because documentation is that important: * It...

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FMLA Coverage for Adult Child Pregnancy

Q: We have had an employee request leave to care for an adult daughter who is pregnant. Is this leave covered by the FMLA? What if an employee wants to take time off to provide childcare for the adult daughter's small children? A: There are...

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Checklist for Criminal Background Checks

What steps should you follow before conducting a criminal background check? The following checklist addresses issues that you should consider and steps to take before looking into the criminal history of prospective employees. Step 1: Determine...

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Tips for Preventing Workplace Violence

Talking about violence in the workplace can be an uncomfortable process. But it is also unavoidable if you want to do all you can to eliminate the threat of violence from your practice. Why not approach employee reluctance to talk about violence...

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Paid/Unpaid Break Time

Acme Corporation's longstanding policy is to give non-exempt employees two 10-minute rest breaks each workday. It treats these breaks as paid work time. Management recently realized that, over the years, most of the employees have gradually...

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Investigating A Harassment Complaint

All complaints of sexual or other harassment must be investigated. However, the extent and method of the investigation may vary from complaint to complaint, just as the nature of each complaint may vary. The supervisor or designated personnel...

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Increased Scrutiny of Employers' I-9 Records

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency notified 1,000 employers that their personnel records will be audited by federal investigators to determine their compliance with employment...

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Weeding Out Unmotivated Workers When Recruiting

Tempting as it may be to ask job candidates for their school report cards, a better method is to look for subtle clues potential slackers give during the hiring process. People with fixed mindsets believe you're born into greatness and have a...

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Title VII Claims by Third Parties

Following a recent U.S. Supreme Court's decision, employers face potential plaint of unlawful discrimination), but also by employees who have a close relationship with whoever engages in protected activity. The Court said the fiance of an...

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FMLA Leave When Natural Disasters Strike

The following article came from www.fmlainsights.com and was written by attorney, Jeff Nowak. Natural disasters like the kind we recently have witnessed in the flood-ravaged areas of the Southern United States raise a host of human resources...

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Hiring Teens? Conduct Extra Harassment Training First

Because of their age and lack of experience in the working world, teen employees may be particularly vulnerable to harassment, and may not know what to do if harassment occurs. Especially if you're planning to hire young workers this summer,...

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ICE Increases I-9 Audit Actions

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently notified businesses that they had been targeted for in-person inspections of their I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Forms. This recent enforcement initiative is part of the...

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"No-Match" Letters Resume After Three-Year Hiatus

The Social Security Administration recently announced that it would once again be sending "No Match" letters to employers. "No Match" letters are intended to advise employers that there is some discrepancy in the SSA records...

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IRS Issues Guidance on Form W-2 Reporting for Costs of Employer-Provided Coverage

Many offices have inquired bout the recently issued Notice 2011-28 from the IRS, which provides greater clarity to employers in connection with how to administer new Form W-2 reporting requirements for costs of employer-provided health coverage....

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Classifying Your Employees

Federal and State laws generally do not define the terms of full-time, part-time or temporary employees. This leaves the employer with the flexibility to categorize their employees. Most often, these classifications are based on the number of...

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FMLA Military Leave Q&A

With the increase of servicemen and women being called to active duty or coming home from active duty injured, we have received several questions about military caregiver leave and have included some of the most often asked questions below: Q:...

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"You're Fired" (part 2): For Cause

Scenario: Your employee has been with the company for two years and, despite supervisory training and coaching on her performance and the company's expectations, her performance remains sub-par. Her repeated mistakes and lack of productivity...

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"You're Fired!" (part 1): The Lay-Off

Scenario: For financial reasons, your practice has decided to implement a reduction in force, and affected employees need to be told that they are being laid off. What do you do now? The single most important facet of communicating to an employee...

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FMLA Leave for Treatment of Substance Abuse

Some of you have inquired if employees are allowed or required to be given a leave of absence for treatment of substance abuse. Substance abuse may be a serious health condition if one of the tests for establishing a "serious health...

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ICE Increases I-9 Audit Actions

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently notified businesses that they had been targeted for in-person inspections of their I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Forms. This recent enforcement initiative is part of the...

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