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March 30, 2009

FMLA Leave and Daily Calling In

Filed under: FMLA — Tags: , , 9:35 am

A recent 8th Circuit Court of Appeals case recently dealt with an interesting FMLA question. The issue was: Is it appropriate for an organization to fire an employee on FMLA leave for failing to call in each day, as required by company policy?



March 29, 2009

Reality TV Gets a Reality Check on Wage and Hour Laws

Filed under: Salaries & Pay9:08 pm

It looks like Ryan Seacrest may be the only employee sitting down for a cup of coffee during the commercial breaks of American Idol.

Reality television, seemingly America’s newest obsession, is the subject of several recent employment lawsuits alleging wage and hour violations.  The producer of American Idol and other reality TV shows, is being sued by three former employees who claim that they were made to work excessive hours, seven days a week without overtime pay and were also denied meal and rest breaks while they worked for the company.  (I wonder if that HR manager has been voted off)

In January, three of the four major networks and several reality show production companies paid a whopping $4 million settlement in two similar class actions suits. Those lawsuits also alleged that the companies, which produced shows like The Bachelor and Trading Spouses, violated wage and hour laws.

How about a reality show about the hard-working people who work behind the scenes of a reality show?



March 27, 2009

HR Fact Friday: Leaving PCs on overnight costs companies $2.8B a year

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , , , , 5:00 am

USA TODAY reports that even during an economic meltdown, when companies are scrambling to cut costs, businesses are wasting billions of dollars by leaving their PCs on at night.

U.S. organizations squander $2.8 billion a year to power unused machines, emitting about 20 million tons of carbon dioxide — roughly the equivalent of 4 million cars — according to a report to be released Wednesday.

About half of 108 million office PCs in the USA are not properly shut down at night, says the 2009 PC Energy Report, produced by 1E, an energy-management software company, and the non-profit Alliance to Save Energy. The report analyzed workplace PC power consumption in the USA, United Kingdom and Germany.

Wastefulness does not just affect a company’s bottom line, it creates environmental concerns, the report says. If the world’s 1 billion PCs were powered down just one night, it would save enough energy to light the Empire State Building — inside and out — for over 30 years, it says.

“Workers do not feel responsible for electricity bills at work, and some companies insist PCs remain on at night so they can be patched with software updates,” says 1E CEO Sumir Karayi. He says 63% of employees surveyed said their companies should take more steps to save PC power.

“It is scary how much energy is wasted,” says Michael Murphy, senior manager of global environmental affairs at Dell, a business partner and customer of 1E. It has used 1E software to efficiently manage its 50,000 PCs globally, saving about $1.8 million a year.

Simply shutting down PCs at night can save a company with 10,000 PCs over $260,000 a year and 1,871 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the report says.

Source: USA TODAY, Jon Swartz


March 25, 2009

Women Comprise 92% of a RIF and Yet No Discrimination?

Filed under: Employment Law — Tags: , , 3:08 pm

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has found that terminated female plaintiffs, who claimed discrimination drove decisions in a reduction in force, failed to provide supporting evidence to make their case.  The pro-employer decision came despite the fact that females comprised 53% of the workforce but 92% of those terminated.  Why you ask?



March 23, 2009

Medical Tourism: The Next Employee Benefit?

Filed under: Insurance — Tags: , 1:55 pm

You may have noticed recent news stories regarding Americans who have traveled to foreign countries, often India, Latin America, or Thailand for expensive surgeries. These individuals are either uninsured or underinsured and can save significant amounts of money by traveling abroad for medical procedures. As you might guess, medical tourism hasn’t gone unnoticed in corporate America.



March 20, 2009

HR Fact Friday: Bright Spots Exist in Job Market

Filed under: Hiring & Jobs — Tags: , , , , , , 5:00 am

Glad to see some positive news in the March 2009 issue of HR Magazine in regard to employment prospects.  An article by Bill Leonard in the HR News section caught my attention because it actually found a bright spot in an otherwise dismal quarter of staggering  job losses. Mr. Leonard writes . . .

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the health care industry increased by 32,000 in December 2008, making it the only major private industry sector to add a significant number of jobs at year-end. The health care industry added mor than 370,000 jobs in 2008, surpassing all other private-industry categories.

Although demand for health care workers is strong in nearly every position, including managerial and administrative jobs, nursing outstrips all other occupations and is listed as the top “in-demand occupation” by the federal Career Voyages web site, a project of the U.S. departments of Labor and Education (see Top Ten list below).

The strength of the health job market isn’t enough to offset the massive job losses in sectors such as finance, manufacturing and retail. However, demand for skilled workers in information technology and green and renewable energy industries could help stabilize the job merket as the need for qualified workers in those sectors should remain strong, recruiting and industry analysts predict.

A survey by ExecuNet, an online career service for executives found in December 2008 that 40% of the respondents reported that they saw signs of rising demand for managerial talent — a strong increase compared to 26% reported just a month earlier.

Education should be another strong sector, analysts agree. Qualified elementary and secondary school teachers will remain in high demand.

When it comes to green technnology the hottest job prospects will be in areas such as forestry, wind turbine manufacturing, solar-energy research and development, and environmental engineering. However growth in this industry will depend heavily on policies of the Obama administration, proposed tax incentives, and potential government funding.

Top 10 ‘In-Demand’ Occupations

1. Registered Nurses
2. General and Operations Managers
3. Physicians and Surgeons
4. Elementary School Teachers
5. Accountants and Auditors
6. Computer Software Engineers
7. Sales Representatives and Managers
8. Computer System Analysts
9. Management Analysts
10. Secondary School Teachers

Source: Career Voyages,


March 19, 2009

DOL Publishes Model Notices for COBRA Subsidy

Filed under: COBRA — Tags: , , 2:43 pm

The Department of Labor has just published Model Notices that can be used to help comply with the new COBRA subsidy requirements.  They can be found at:    You’ll notice that there are several notices available to be used depending upon the circumstances.  Good luck navigating through them and figuring out what to do.

You’ll remember that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed on February 17th, has increased  employers’ COBRA obligations  significantly.  Additionally, very small employers not subject to the federal law, but who have comparable state “mini-COBRAs,” are also in for some big changes.  The Act of 2009 requires immediate attention by most employers.



March 18, 2009

Background Checks Find Increasing Number of Criminal Convictions

According to a survey conducted by the risk consulting firm Kroll, employment screening criminal record convictions continue to increase.  In 2005, 8.5% of screenings found convictions, 9.1% were discovered in 2006, and 9.5% in 2007.



Fired Over Facebook Comments

Filed under: Discipline & Termination6:17 am

Many people do it, some do it daily – communicating to thousands, or indirectly millions, of people electronically about their daily gripes and complaints on their Facebook page.  As a social networking website, Facebook allows users to connect with old friends, post photos and enter daily thoughts, opinions and musings on their “wall”.

When we’re frustrated about our job, it can help to blow off steam and verbalize all those things we wish we could say at the office.  After all, when we’re on our own time, we can say whatever we want, right?

Not so fast.  The prevalence of social-networking sites and other electronic communications are blurring the line between private and public communication.  Sometimes a gripe that we feel is a private, personal opinion becomes a public slam if enough people access it.  And that is catching employers’ attention.

An employee of the Philadelphia Eagles recently got a lot of attention after he was fired for criticizing his employer on his Facebook page.  The gate worker at the team’s stadium posted an angry, expletive-laced complaint about the team’s failure to re-sign safety Brian Dawkins.  Management found out and fired him for making the team look bad.

A word to all disgruntled Facebookers – think twice before you click that post button.

Source:  FOXNews


March 16, 2009

HRN News Release: HRN Rolling Back Prices to Celebrate 20th Anniversary

Salt Lake City, UT (March 16, 2009) – HRN Management Group today announced it is rolling back prices on many of it’s popular human resources staff management products as part of its ongoing 20th anniversary celebration.


HRN Management Group was originally founded in 1989 by Jerry P. Nelson as an HR consulting service. Now after 20 years, HRN provides an impressive array of affordable and comprehensive HR staff management solutions and professional services to over 1000 clients around the world.


The HRN 20th Anniversary product discounts announced today are for several of HRN’s top selling HR administrative products. Each of these products can be purchased directly from They are:

·   Individual Job Descriptions (over 600 available for immediate download) – Now $20 each. Regular price $30 each.

·   Job Descriptions Plus CD-ROM (a library of over 430 individual, and customizable Job Descriptions) – Now $200. Regular price $395.

·   HR Forms & Tools Bundles – Now $20 each. Regular price $29 each.

·   HR Forms & Tools Bundle Library (includes all 5 F&T bundles) – Now $90. Regular price $129.

·   Performance Appraisal Forms – Now $20. Regular price $39.


Discount prices on the above mentioned products will be offered for a limited time through April 30, 2009.


About HRN Management Group

Founded in 1989, HRN develops practical and effective human resources staff management products designed to simplify and improve employee development, compensation administration, and regulatory compliance. HRN recently formed a consulting division and now provides comprehensive HR services ranging from executive search and recruitment to organizational development, management training, pre-employment background verification, and affirmative action plan preparation. HRN Management Group can be found on the Internet at:

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