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October 31, 2012

Daylight Saving Time Ends November 4

Filed under: FLSA,Salaries & Pay6:00 am

Time to set your clocks back one hour Sunday, November 4, 2012!  But, how do you pay employees that are working that night/morning?

Most states participate in daylight saving time. Those employees working the graveyard shift when Daylight Saving Time begins work one hour less because the clocks are set ahead one hour. Those employees working the graveyard shift when Daylight Saving Time ends work an extra hour because the clocks are set back one hour at 2:00 a.m.

For example:

The scheduled shift starts at 11:00 p.m. and ends at 7:30 a.m. the next day, your employee works an eight- hour shift and receives a 30-minute lunch break.

  • On the Sunday that Daylight Saving Time starts at 2:00 a.m., the employee does not work the hour from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. because at 2:00 a.m. all of the clocks are turned forward to 3:00 a.m. Thus, on this day the employee only worked 7 hours, even though the schedule was for 8 hours.
  • On the Sunday that Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m., the employee works the hour from 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. twice because at 2:00 a.m. all of the clocks are turned back to 1:00 a.m. Thus, on this day the employee worked 9 hours, even though the schedule only reflected 8 hours.

The FLSA requires that employees must be credited with all of the hours actually worked. Therefore, if the employee is in a work situation similar to that described in the above example, he or she worked 7 hours on the day that Daylight Saving Time begins and 9 hours on the day that Daylight Saving Time ends. This assumes, of course, that the employee actually worked the scheduled shift as in our example.

For more information, please contact your local Wage and Hour District Office.
Source:  www.dol.gov

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October 29, 2012

It’s Almost That Time – Time Off to Vote!

Every four years we have a presidential election rolling around that causes us to pull out our policy manual and check our “Time Off for Voting” policy.  I would suspect that most company policies regarding this are pretty standard; generally allowing for a reasonable amount of work time off (paid or unpaid) for employees to stop by the polls and cast their ballots.

However, the process may be a little more complicated.  Your policy may need to be revised based on the state(s) in which you have employees.  State laws vary with respect to whether such time off must be paid; the amount of notice employees must provide to their employer; and whether employers may designate the hours taken off to vote.

Below is a list of states that have the most notable state law requirements.  If you have employees working in these states, be sure to go to that specific state’s website to find out the details so you are in compliance.

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland,

Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio,

Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Keep in mind these laws apply every year, not only when there is a presidential election.  For more information regarding company policies, including time off to vote, check out our HR Suite product by clicking www.hrnonline.com.

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October 26, 2012

HR Fact Friday: Wage and Hour Suits on the Rise

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:00 am

If you’re making a year-end checklist, here’s one more item you may want to include: Wage-and-Hour Audit

Federal wage-and-hour lawsuits have increased steadily over the past decade.  If you compare cases filed in 2011 to the number filed in 2000, you will find an increase of 380%.  That’s something worth noting.

In case you are wondering why there has been such an increase, there are several factors that most likely contribute:

  1. The poor job market may be leading unemployed or underemployed workers to look for ways to get money from current or former employers.  Lawyers are aware of the increase in lawsuits and are readily available to take on new cases presented to them.
  2. There is an increased awareness of wage-and-hour claims due to high profile cases.  Last year the headlines featured the Wal-Mart class action lawsuit including speculation as to the outcome.  This lawsuit, representing 1.6 million women, was the largest employment class action lawsuit in the Supreme Court’s history.
  3. Perhaps the convenience of having smartphone applications with links to easily contact the DOL has increased reporting of cases.  These apps both provide “A timesheet to record the hours that you work and calculate the amount you may be owed by your employer,” as stated by the DOL.  The DOL also reminds employees that “This information would prove invaluable during an investigation where an employer has failed to maintain accurate employment records.”

What Should You Do Now?

(more…)

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October 24, 2012

When Did It Become Illegal to be Courteous?

Filed under: Compliance,Legal Issues,Unions/NLRB6:00 am

The National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge upheld a decision of an employer to terminate an employee because of his Facebook postings.  First, the BMW salesman made comments on his Facebook page that he didn’t agree with the company’s choice of cuisine to be served at the dealership’s customer event – - hot dogs and chips!  He made some sarcastic comments.  He didn’t think the food was of the caliber of the luxury cars he was charged with selling.  This was a protected activity.

However, his second post was not protected.  He was at the workplace when an accident at the Land Rover dealership across the street (also owned by the same dealer) occurred.  A 13 year old boy, a customer’s son, was allowed by another salesman to sit behind the wheel after a test drive.  The boy pressed on the gas and ended up in a pond after running over his parent’s foot and a wall.  The BMW salesman took pictures and posted them on his Facebook page with some ‘not so nice’ comments about what his co-worker had allowed.  This was not protected activity.  He was terminated by his employer for the second posting.

When the salesman filed a charge with the NLRB complaining that his rights to engage in a protected concerted activity were violated, he lost and the decision was upheld as previously mentioned; he was terminated.  It was found that his posting was not protected because it was done solely by him, and that no discussion with or about other employees’ terms and conditions of employment ensued.  But, while the NLRB was investigating this case, they took a good look at the employer’s policies and took issue with the one on, of all things, Courtesy!

According to the NLRB’s decision dated September 28, 2012, the dealership’s policy read as follows:

“Courtesy: Courtesy is the responsibility of every employee. Everyone is expected to be courteous, polite and friendly to our customers, vendors and suppliers, as well as to their fellow employees.  No one should be disrespectful or use profanity or any other language which injures the image or reputation of the Dealership.”

The Board’s decision went on to say, “An employer violates Section 8(a)(1) when it maintains a work rule that reasonably tends to chill employees in the exercise of their Section 7 rights.”  And, that the words, ”disrespectful,” and  “language which injures the image or reputation of the Dealership,” as being part of the protected concerted activity that allows employees to discuss terms and conditions of their employment in accordance with the National Labor Relations Act.  See the complete Board’s decision here.

Several other cases are before the NLRB involving employment handbook policy wording that is allegedly in violation of the National Labor Relations Act.  While these cases are being heard, it would be a good time to review your policies with a critical eye to determine if you are in need of an update.  It is always wise to seek legal counsel when writing or revising your employee handbook to make sure you have taken every possible implication into consideration.  The NLRB certainly will!

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October 22, 2012

Take a Stand – Improve your Health and Efficiency!

If you watched the Presidential debates last week, you probably noticed that President Obama and Mitt Romney stood during the Town Hall meeting format. It seemed the debate had a faster pace and exuded more energy than the previous debates. Whether or not they took the lead from a concept at Ohio State University is unknown, but it is certainly something worth noting.

Based on research that links too much time in the chair to poorer health, leaders at Ohio State University launched a campaign to encourage more stand-up time. As part of the project, 50 sit-stand desks will be installed by year’s end. Other initiatives include more standing at meetings or while answering the phone, and walking to communicate with coworkers rather than picking up the phone and dialing.

What are the benefits? The study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found significant links between sitting and increased risks in cardiovascular health, back strain, and negative impact to metabolism. The simple act of standing tends to promote productivity and an action-oriented environment. Companies who have initiated standing into their culture often find meetings are completed in half the amount of time as usual. With the addition of a standing conference table, the additional expense of chairs can be eliminated.

Whether your motive for incorporating standing into your culture is for health, cost-savings, or productivity, it’s worth a try. We’d like to hear how it works for you!

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October 19, 2012

HR Fact Friday: HR News from Around the States

Filed under: Employment Law,General HR Buzz — Tags: , , 10:47 am

Some Arizona State Employees Now Are “At-Will”

Effective September 29, 2012, select Arizona state government employees became “at-will” employees.  The new law converted new hires, attorneys, supervisors, and other high-level employees to the new employment status.  Peace officers and other employees of the Department of Public Safety for the State of Arizona are excluded from this law.  In recent years, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, and Texas have made the conversion to at-will status for their government employees.

Connecticut Has New Medical Marijuana Law

Employers in Connecticut need to make sure they are in compliance with the new medical marijuana law that went into effect October 1, 2012.  The new law affects employers with one or more employees.  According to HRLaws.com employers  are “prohibited from refusing to hire, discharging, penalizing, or threatening an employee solely on the basis of his status as a ‘qualifying patient’ or ‘primary caregiver’ under the medical marijuana law.”  Individuals approved to legally imbibe in medical marijuana must have been diagnosed with one of the conditions specified in the law.  Employers still have the right to prohibit or discipline an employee from using intoxicating substances during work hours.

New Jersey Pay Equality Poster and Notice

The governor of New Jersey recently signed into law a bill that prohibits discrimination in pay based upon gender.  Employers with 50 or more employees must post the new notice and distribute a copy to employees, obtaining an acknowledgment of their receipt of said notice.  According to the new law, an employee has the right to be “free of gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment.”  This new law and its requirements will become effective November 21, 2012; however, the required notice has not yet been made available.

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October 17, 2012

Pregnant Women’s Rights – - Long Overdue!

On September 19, 2012, a bill was introduced to help protect pregnant women’s rights in the workplace.  What?  You say there already is a law like that?  Well, not quite!

Back in 1978, The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, was passed with the intent to protect women from discrimination due to “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”  It was made a part of the Civil Rights Act because it protects against sex discrimination, covered by that law.  The Pregnancy Discrimination Act required equal treatment in employment for pregnant women.  This meant that all policies that were applied to other non-pregnant employees should be equally applied to the pregnant employee.  The law also said that an employer could not refuse to hire a pregnant woman on the basis of her pregnancy or any condition relating to it.  And, it went further yet.  Pregnant women were to be afforded equal health insurance benefits for all her pregnancy related expenses as with other medical conditions.  However, pregnancy has never been considered a disability. . . until possibly now.

The bill mentioned above that was introduced by Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA) proposes that pregnant women be given the same workplace accommodations that are afforded to persons with disabilities.  The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) would require an employer to make “reasonable accommodations” as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for a pregnant employee, to allow them to perform the essential functions of their job.

If this bill passes, it will bring great relief to pregnant women who once feared disclosing their pregnancy to their employer for fear of being involuntarily transferred to another position, placed on unpaid leave, or even losing her job.  It would permit a woman to have minor modifications to her job duties that would allow her to work as long as possible in her pregnancy without worrying about harm to herself or her unborn child.   These minor adjustments could be as simple as an offer of light duty or even providing a chair in which to occasionally sit, when standing or walking is the norm.  Affording such reasonable accommodations would also give the expectant mother a measure of economic security, knowing her pregnancy will not jeopardize her employment.  The National Women’s Law Center reports that women make up half the workforce, so this bill, if it becomes law, will be a step in the right direction to keep the economy strong.

Keep your eye on this one because opposition is strong.  Republicans who oppose this bill argue that it will bring lower profits and undue hardship on businesses.  See the full text of the bill here.

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October 15, 2012

Give Me A Break

Filed under: Compensation,Compliance,General HR Buzz,Salaries & Pay — Tags: 6:00 am

Whether you need to take a short walk or grab a smoke, many workers look forward to that mid-morning or mid-afternoon break.  After all, employers are required to give employees breaks, right?

Surprisingly, the answer to that question is “no”, at least when referencing federal law.  Federal law does not require lunch or coffee breaks. However, when employers do offer short breaks (usually lasting about 5 to 20 minutes), federal law considers the breaks as compensable work hours that would be included in the sum of hours worked during the work week and considered in determining if overtime was worked. Unauthorized extensions of authorized work breaks need not be counted as hours worked when the employer has expressly and unambiguously communicated to the employee that the authorized break may only last for a specific length of time, that any extension of the break is contrary to the employer’s rules, and any extension of the break will be punished. Bona fide meal periods (typically lasting at least 30 minutes), serve a different purpose than coffee or snack breaks and, thus, are not work time and are not compensable.

You should check your state’s laws regarding breaks as a number of states do require employers to allow workers to take periodic breaks for meals or to rest; the number and timing of these breaks generally depends on the number of hours worked.

The DOL has more information regarding breaks, including compensable hours.   You can read more about this topic by clicking here.

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October 12, 2012

HR Fact Friday: NLRB Strikes Down Employer’s Social Media Rules

The NLRB recently struck down an employer’s rules regarding social media usage. The company’s policy prohibited electronic postings that damage the company or any person’s reputation. The NLRB found that this language could reasonably be understood by employees as limiting protected comments to co-workers about the terms and conditions of employment. The NLRB also noted that the policy did not include language that would tend to limit its application, perhaps an implicit suggestion that the policy might have stood if it had expressly stated it did not apply to conduct protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

Check back early next week to the HRN News & Views Blog where we will post the NLRB’s recommended Social Media Policy in it’s entirety. . . . word for word.

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October 11, 2012

News Release: HRN and BambooHR Announce Partnership and

Filed under: HRN News,Performance Pro — Tags: 6:00 am

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (October 11, 2012) —HRN Performance Solutions, a provider of human resource solutions and consulting services and BambooHR, a leading provider of cloud-based human resources software for small and medium sized businesses, jointly announced a new partnership and the release of web services integration between HRN’s Performance Pro employee performance appraisal system and the BambooHR employee management system.

The Performance Pro integration with BambooHR provides HR administrators a seamless, integrated HRIS and performance management database with minimal setup and no additional cost to the client. Relevant employee data including key demographic data, new hires, role change specifics and other data that is modified or added in the BambooHR system will automatically sync to the Performance Pro program, eliminating duplicate entry and removing the pain of managing and maintaining the same data in two separate locations.

By partnering, Performance Pro and BambooHR provide businesses immediate entry into true talent management that is comparable to expensive enterprise talent management offerings used by large businesses. Exceptional client feedback regarding the integration and high client demand for third party integrations proves Performance Pro and BambooHR are leading the pack.

“What’s not to like?” explains Michele Lindsay, Executive Vice President of HRN. “The BambooHR to Performance Pro integration link is free, saves clients’ time and money, is incredibly easy to use, works automatically, and ensures data integrity. Our collective clients are the big winners and we couldn’t be happier for them.”

“We’re excited to give small and medium businesses a competitive advantage by partnering with HRN and the exceptional Performance Pro system.” said Ben Peterson, CEO of BambooHR. “The immediate and long-term benefits are obvious and we always enjoy thrilling clients with solutions that make their business better.”

Performance Pro and BambooHR work seamlessly to give any business powerful HR tools on demand. To learn more about Performance Pro or BambooHR, visit and www.bamboohr.com.

About BambooHR

For small and mid-sized companies BambooHR is a leader in cloud-based HRIS applications providing simple and accessible tools for managing employee data. Unlike complicated and expensive enterprise talent management systems BambooHR offers an affordable, easy to use system, optimized for the specific needs of today’s growing companies. Visit BambooHR today at www.bamboohr.com.

About HRN Performance Solutions

HRN Performance Solutions provides practical and effective human resources management solutions and consulting services designed to simplify and improve employee development, compensation administration, and regulatory compliance. Performance Pro is a proven and affordable online employee performance management system in use by nearly 900 clients in a wide variety of industries. HRN can be found on the Internet at: .

For more information, press and media only:

Paul A. Hendrycks                                           Brenton Williamson
Vice President, Sales & Marketing               Marketing
HRN Performance Solutions                        BambooHR
(801) 747-1170                                                 (801) 724-6600 x6623
bwilliamson@bamboohr.com

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