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Avoiding a Hostile Work Environment

Preventive Maintenance

Most managers and even business owners do not realize that they have an obligation to provide a safe and non-hostile work environment for their employees. This fact not only means that employers must forestall such things as robberies, accidents and irate customers but they must also provide an environment free from hostility within the company in the form of harassment from coworkers and managers. 

The Most Important Question

Is your work environment hostile? Hopefully not, but it’s in your company's best interest to make sure. While many employees will complain of poor managers, negative coworkers and asinine management practices, these situations are not actually hostile.

In fact, it is when actions become overtly discriminatory that a hostile workplace ensues. Supervisors and managers who bring their problems to work, allow them to affect their workplace decisions and who generally do not abide by common decency are the worst offenders.  In short, no workplace needs a “leader” who is on some type of power trip where they feel little obligation to observe company policy.

Resolve the Situation Ahead of Time

It is up to the company to have a solution in place to address these issues before they happen. It is simply not good enough to close the barn door after the cows have escaped. Company policy must be clearly delineated in writing and disseminated to all employees upon hire as to how they will handle emergency situations, hostile customers, and harassment by other coworkers.

The procedures for dealing with proactively eliminating a hostile work environment may seem fairly commonsensical and straightforward but they must also be comprehensive and employed uniformly. If you are in any doubt as to how to properly deal with this situation, consider using a Professional Employer Organization. They are experts in all aspects of human capital management and deal with this type of issue on a daily basis.

To learn more about PEO services check out our What is a PEO information page then continue, using our PEO Matching Tool, to narrow your search for the PEO best suited for your particular business needs.

Do small business owners have a say?

smb_speaks_out.jpgIn the midst of this unusual presidential primary season, much has been said that does not survive fact checking. Candidates talk about foreign policy, immigration, and fitness for office. What you are not hearing, at least so far, is any passionate commitment to support small business. It makes you wonder if small business owners have a say on issues that affect them.

The small business mindset

National Foundation of Independent Business (NFIB) recently published the results of its survey of 500 employers with 1 to 250 employees. Overall, small business employers are not happy with the way things are going.

  • 19% of respondents identify as strongly conservative and 8% as strongly liberal. 46% claim they lie in the middle.
  • Only 8% of those surveyed admitted being completely absorbed in government, politics, and public policy while 56% fell into a moderate position.
  • 21% feel the overall business climate is poor, and only 4% consider it excellent.

The small business concerns

Now, given this summary description of the mindset, you can evaluate their concerns.

  • Federal Deficit: Not surprisingly, the great majority of small business owners (71%) are very concerned about the federal deficit. 33% list the federal budget as their idea of what Washington’s highest priority should be.
  • Federal Reserve: Owners (37%) are very concerned about the direct and indirect effects of the potential increase in interests at the Federal Reserve. However, only 18% are very concerned about their ability to access credit.
  • Taxes: If you include all respondents voting above the median, 63% believe they are currently paying too much in taxes. 34% identify personal income taxes as the specific restraint on their ability to create jobs and grow the economy. And, they strongly oppose any ideas about increasing taxes on long-term gains and introducing sales taxes on internet purchases.
  • Health Insurance: 51% give priority to controlling the cost of health insurance, but 22% remain in favor of expanding the coverage to the uninsured. Most want to see more Americans required to have health insurance, but the larger majority does not want to pay 60% of the premium. And, 78% support offering employees tax-deductible reimbursements to help employees seek health insurance rather than pay the premium for group employee medical benefits.
  • Immigration: 51% favor prosecuting employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, and 41% support deporting illegal immigrants when discovered. Still, the great majority would let current illegal immigrants remain if they learn English, work, and pay a fine on their route to citizenship.

So, you can conclude that small business owners are generally fiscally conservative – not radically so. Their responses to the NFIB survey indicate they have concerns about the federal budget, taxes, and restrictions. But, none of those concerns is voiced with any stridency. Throughout the survey, those reporting moderate positions would reflect the concerns of the general population.

What we have summarized here are issues the small business public would like to hear candidates address. And, it does not appear they want the rhetoric and propaganda of change. They offer concerns that could be reasonably addressed, negotiated, and presented to the electorate. It’s just not that hard for everyone to see how tax benefits for the small business owner would benefit the population they serve. That’s what small business owners have to say!

References
Susquehanna Polling and Research. (2015). Opinions of Small Employers. Washington, D.C.: NFIB Research Foundation. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://www.nfib.com/assets/small-employer-survey-nfib-201510.pdf

Beginner’s Guide to Outsourced Human Resources

outsourcing_HR.jpgA Professional Employer Organization (PEO) offers a package of services that helps employers outsource the Human Resources functions, including but not limited to payroll and tax administration, employee benefit packages, workers’ comp insurance, recruiting, placement, and training (depending on the contracted services). The success of the program depends on the concept of co-employment.

What’s the PEO deal?

The worksite company and the PEO share responsibilities to the workforce. The worksite employer – your company – runs the employees’ daily work. The PEO is the employer of record because it computes hours and generates payroll, administers and pays federal and state taxes, and completes, files, and archives employee records. It may also manage employee benefits, unemployment claims, workers’ comp, and risk management. In other words, a PEO receives the outsourced HR roles instead of your company dealing with these administrative functions in-house.

The PEO forms one big employer by co-employing with all of its clients. This creates a large labor pool that can leverage economies of scale in the negotiations for employee benefits, workers’ compensation costs, and state unemployment taxes. Any PEO worth its salt also can use the law of large numbers to provide employee discounts on purchases, wellness programs, and memberships.

Who does the deal?

PEOs were made to handle the outsourced HR functions for small businesses of 5 to 250 employees. The largest companies already enjoy some economies of scale, so the PEO effectiveness may decline with growth.

  • Some PEOs prefer office or white-collar environments in technology and professional services.
  • Some PEOs are better built for blue-collar employers in trucking, construction, and manufacturing.
  • Some PEOs are more comfortable with start-ups and international companies.

The PEO attraction lies in its ability to assume your business’s HR administration duties. Anything else, like benefits and training, is an attractive premium. So, you need to shop the PEO market to determine the options and price that means value to you.

To compare PEO companies and services, and to find the best match for your business needs, try the free PEO Selection Tool on PEOcompare.com. It will at least narrow down your search for PEO companies that specialize in your industry, state and size that offer the services you rank as most important.

4 Ways Employees Benefit from a PEO Partnership

Partnering with a PEO carries significant benefits for employers, but every good business owner also wants to know how that partnership will affect his or her employees. Will it be confusing to have a different employer of record? Will they have to jump through hoops to get questions answered and keep information up to date? While there is always a learning curve associated with any new endeavor, the good news is that employees often enjoy greater security and more flexible options from the PEO partnership.

Why a PEO Is Good for Your Employees

Let’s take a look at four of the most common ways employees benefit from working under a PEO arrangement:

  • Job Security—Partnering with a PEO allows businesses to take advantage of economy of scale, meaning they can often get better rates for health care and insurance. These cost savings help small businesses keep more employees on the payroll and create a greater likelihood that the business can remain solvent.

  • Job Satisfaction—Small businesses aren’t always able to offer extensive training opportunities and resources on their own. A PEO makes these resources available to employees, along with improved safety measures, more extensive employee manuals, and better communication with HR. All of these things help employees become more efficient at their jobs, requiring less time to be spent on HR tasks and making the business as a whole more productive.

  • Health Insurance—Due to increased buying power, a PEO can often get better health insurance coverage than a small business can provide on its own. Employees can take advantage of dental and vision plans, disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, and other options that make health care more affordable and more comprehensive.

  • Retirement Options— Stuart Robertson states in Forbes that only one-quarter of small businesses with fewer than 50 employees offer a 401k plan for retirement. A PEO can help those businesses provide a sound retirement savings plan for their employees, enabling all workers to have a robust nest egg in place when retirement rolls around.

Employers Benefit Too

Of course, your employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from an outsourced human resources arrangement. When a PEO partners with a small business to oversee HR administration and other similar tasks, the business owner can invest more time and effort into the growth of the business. He or she maintains exclusive control over business operations and decisions while leaving administrative responsibility and regulatory compliance in capable hands. Other benefits include:

  • Filing federal and state taxes
  • Help with workers’ compensation
  • Payroll administration
  • Better benefits for employees (including options like life insurance, job counseling, adoption assistance, and educational benefits)
  • Reduced hiring overhead
  • Recruiting assistance
  • Training and handbook development
A PEO helps business owners remain current on legal requirements, regulations, and compliance issues, helping to prevent lawsuits based on non-compliant policies. If you’re ready to find out more about how a PEO can help you grow your business, check out our PEO matching tool to find a provider that can meet your needs.

ACA Automatic Enrollment Mandate Repealed – What now?

Federal budgets are such monsters that very few people ever get their hands on one. But, on November 2, the White House and Congress agreed on a document that will keep things operation through 2016. Who knows what got the forces to compromise, but compromise they did. Of special interest to employers and employees and to the HR professionals who serve them is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s automatic enrollment mandate provision. Now what?

Affordable Care Act remains in force

The White House did give up on the enrollment mandate, but it did so to protect its interest in the 40% excise tax on the “Cadillac” benefit plans.

What it was?

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) required all employers with 200 full-time employees or more to:

  1. Automatically enroll new full-time workers.
  2. Automatically continue their coverage during open enrollment.
  3. Give notice to any full-time employee so enrolled of the opportunity to opt-out of coverage.

What it was, was a headache!

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but this provision left too many loose ends. There was uncertainty about the definition of “full-time.” Employers wondered if dependents required the same enrollment and opt-out options. So, the Department of Labor had delayed implementation until it resolved these concerns.

What is left? 

What remains shows how irrelevant the provision was. After all, the ACA requires employers with more than 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees to offer coverage to 70% of their full-time workforce in 2015 (and progressing towards 95%). The great majority of existing healthcare programs already promise automatic continuation (with the option of opting out).

And, since individual workers are motivated to enroll or face tax penalties, there is not much need for an additional stick to prod them into enrollment.

SHRM quotes the Health Affairs Blog in saying the implementation of the auto-enrollment mandate has long been “a very low priority for the administration, and its repeal will not seriously affect the general scheme of the ACA.” So, there is no immediate burden on HR professionals except the need to communicate and clarify the change to all the stakeholders involved.

The change does not predict wholesale repeal or revision of the ACA. It may be one of many potential adjustments over time that fine-tune the act, one of many slight tweaks to reflect the politics of the time. But, it means no major regrouping or redirect at this time or in the near future.

Leave it to your PEO

A professional employer organization will keep you updated and compliant with all things ACA related. Let them take this off your plate. We offer a free PEO matching tool to help you narrow down your search for the best PEO suited for your business. 

Take me to the tool!


Resources
Affordable Care Act automatic enrollment mandate repealed by bipartisan budget act. (2015, November 3). Retrieved November 3, 2015, from The National Law Review: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/affordable-care-act-automatic-enrollment-mandate-repealed-bipartisan-budget-act

Jost, T. (2015, October 27). Budget legislation would repeal auto-enrollment requirement for large employers. Retrieved November 4, 2015, from Health Affairs Blog: http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2015/10/13/legislative-efforts-to-repeal-key-provisions-of-the-affordable-care-act/

Smith, A. (2015, October 30). Budget deal includes repeal of ACA provision. Retrieved November 4, 2015, from SHRM.org: http://www.shrm.org/legalissues/federalresources/pages/budget-deal.aspx?utm_source=HR%20Week%20November%202%202015%20Books%20(1)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=November%2002,%202015&MID=01539374&LN=Sokol&spMailingID=23896708&spUserID=ODM1OTI3NTkyNzQS1&spJob

Ensuring Safety Compliance for Solitary Workers

Worker safety comprises not only your stated policies and procedures, but also the commitment of workers to watch each other’s back. As the old saying goes, there is safety in numbers. But the safety net disappears when individuals must work alone. How can you ensure safety for your night watchman, delivery truck driver, or warehouse manager when he or she is alone on the job? Is it even your responsibility?

Although OSHA has not developed specific safety regulations for lone workers, their general duty clause requires businesses to ensure the safety of all workers by assessing risks, identifying workplace hazards, and controlling those hazards. These steps will help you meet the stated requirements:

  • Conduct a Risk Assessment
    During a risk assessment, your goal is to identify the potential for negative events or outcomes related to hazards in the work environment, evaluate the likelihood of occurrence, and estimate potential severity. Consider not only those situations that occur during normal operation, but also any unusual circumstances such as a loss of power, a fire, or loss of communication.

  • Develop Emergency Procedures
    Once risks have been identified, develop procedures designed to eliminated or control hazards and risks when encountered.

  • Provide Additional Training for Lone Workers
    While safety training is essential for all workers, those working alone may need additional training that pertains to their specific work environment. Make sure emergency procedures are clearly communicated and that the worker knows whom to contact in the event of an emergency.

  • Maintain Communication
    Communication is essential for lone workers since problems may arise without warning. Establish regular communication between the worker and his or her supervisors and require periodic check-ins.

  • Implement Periodic Observation
    Managers should periodically observe the work environment to determine whether workers follow policies as written and whether safety measures achieve their stated goals. 

  • Consider GPS Tracking Technology
    Workers who travel may benefit from GPS tracking technology. Tracking devices keep managers apprised of each worker’s location at all times and can also send alerts when problems occur.

  • Utilize Alarms or Man-Down Detectors
    Panic alarms and man-down detectors offer an extra measure of protection if a worker is injured and cannot get to a phone or radio. The devices send an alert if no motion is detected over a certain period of time or if the device tilts beyond a specified degree. Many also include a panic button that can be pressed if the wearer needs help.

Workplace safety falls under the category of regulatory compliance. Your PEO can help you assess current policies to ensure that you have met all requirements in the event of a problem.

Find the best PEO for your business with our free PEO Selector Tool.

6 Ways a PEO Can Make Your Holiday Season a Success

Holiday_MouseThe holiday season is almost upon us. With pumpkins and scarecrows making their debut in stores, the holiday freight train is pulling out of the station, and many small businesses feel like they have to hang on for dear life until January. While owning a small business brings a unique set of stressors during the holiday season, partnering with a PEO can help you reduce that stress and keep your business running smoothly despite all the holiday hullaballoo. Here are six ways your PEO can help you navigate the next three months successfully:

1. Hiring Temporary Workers

Many small businesses need to hire additional workers during the months of November and December to handle the increased sales pressure of those holiday months. Your PEO can help you with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees, handling tasks like:

  • Candidate screening
  • Background checks
  • Assessments
  • Onboarding
  • Employee handbooks
  • Compliance training
  • Employee records

2. Payroll Responsibilities

During the holiday season, your attention will be pulled in what seems like a hundred different directions, and that can make routine responsibilities like handling payroll seem overwhelming. A PEO can remove the burden of payroll processing and accuracy assurance, giving you the freedom to focus on tasks like marketing, customer service, sales, and inventory.

3. PTO Requests and Approvals

November and December bring an influx of PTO requests, and your PEO will handle each of those requests and approvals so you don’t have to. Keep your employees happy and remove the administrative burden of PTO from your shoulders in order to keep your own holiday season manageable.

4. Preparation for Open Enrollment

Open enrollment periods usually begin in October, giving your employees the opportunity to make changes to their insurance options. Employees need to understand what their options are and how to act on their decisions, but open enrollment can be confusing for many. Your PEO will communicate with employees to ensure that they have all the information they need and that they understand when and how to make changes: Employees can find the assistance they need using a variety of venues:

  • Online portals
  • Newsletters
  • Benefit FAQs
  • Group or one-on-one meetings
  • Information packages designed to address individual concerns

Your PEO will also handle the actual enrollment process and confirmation of benefits to make sure all employees select the coverage options they want before the deadline.

5. New ACA Reporting Guidelines

January 31st marks the ACA deadline for businesses employing at least 50 full-time employees to distribute relevant forms to each worker. Forms must be filed with the IRS by February 29, 2016. Your PEO partner will handle the paperwork and filing requirements to keep your business compliant and avoid steep fines. They will also handle preparation and data collection to make sure the forms are ready to be distributed by the deadline. Their involvement will free you up to handle business critical priorities during those busy holiday months.

6. End-of-Year Tax Prep

Tax season will be here before you know it, and the end of the year requires some extra preparation to make sure you are ready. Your PEO will handle all the paperwork, data collection, and processing to close out the old year and ring in the new.

When your holiday season is characterized by stress, it’s hard to feel the peace and joy everyone else is singing about. This year, let your PEO reduce that stress so that you can focus your attention on the growth and success of your business while also enjoying the spirit of the season.

How Will the SCOTUS Same Sex Marriage Decision Change Insurance Benefits for Small Businesses?

SCOTUSThe Supreme Court’s historic ruling giving same sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states carries with it some significant ramifications in terms of insurance benefits. Some businesses have already made the decision to drop domestic partner benefits for same sex couples, while others have made the decision to keep both marriage and domestic partner benefits in place. As small businesses consider their coverage options, there are several factors that should affect the final decision:


  • Do you currently offer domestic partner benefits to opposite sex couples?

    Some companies already offered domestic partner benefits to both same sex and opposite sex couples. These businesses will likely not alter their current policies, since the offerings were not based on ability or inability to marry. If you offer domestic partner benefits only to same sex couples because they previously did not have the same opportunity to marry, you may be among the numerous companies—including Verizon and IBM—that will rescind domestic partner benefits altogether in favor of marriage benefits for both same sex and opposite sex couples. Either way, make sure your policies apply equally to all employees.

  • Will your current employees lose their benefits if you make a policy shift?

    It’s important to consider the history of your current employees before you make a policy change. For example, if you have an employee who has been on your payroll for 20 years and who receives domestic partner benefits for his or her same sex partner, you should seriously consider how a potential policy change will affect that employee. This is especially true for small businesses that have loyal employees who could be negatively affected by a change in benefits.

  • Do you plan to give notice and a compliance grace period if you will be eliminating domestic partner benefits?

    If you do plan to require same sex employees to marry in order to receive benefits for existing partners, it’s essential that you provide plenty of notice and that you give a grace period for compliance. This period could be anywhere from six months to 2 years, but your employee morale will most likely benefit the most from a longer grace period.

  • Have you considered the possibility of discrimination claims?

    Whatever choice you make, it’s important to institute equal requirements and benefits for both same sex and opposite sex couples. For example, while not all self-insured plans require that businesses offer spousal coverage to both same sex and opposite sex couples, failing to do so could result in a discrimination claim. If you keep domestic partnership coverage in place for same sex couples but don’t extend those benefits to unmarried opposite sex partners, you could legitimately face a claim of reverse discrimination. Decisions like these could also inadvertently make a statement about your company’s values, which could have far-reaching ramifications down the road.

  • Will your coverage options attract all available talent?

    Bear in mind that if you choose not to offer domestic partner benefits, you could be placing limits on the talent you have access to. By including both marriage and domestic partnership coverage options in your plan, you make your business attractive to a portion of the workforce that might otherwise seek a job elsewhere in order to get the coverage they are looking for.


Changes to existing law often create compliancy questions as you seek to maintain a diverse work environment that benefits all employees equally. As you comb through the ramifications of the SCOTUS decision on marriage, a PEO can help you identify potential problem areas in your current policy and identify changes that can be made to bring those areas into compliance.

Dealing with a Competent but Decidedly Negative Employee

Negative employeeEvery company has them – employees who have been passed over for promotion or have even been demoted. Though competent in their current position, they have been found wanting for further advancement. In their own minds, however, a disservice has been done to them and they may not be shy about making the claim. For better or worse, they do not have a legitimate grievance and must be made to understand this reality. Here is how to do it tactfully and, more importantly, legally:

1. Have a Peremptory Sit Down – The first step is to simply identify the issue with the troubled employee as soon as possible. In many cases, they may not even realize that they are causing a problem. Some employees will continually criticize management for no apparent reason other than that their feelings are hurt. Not only is this bad for their own career but it actually harms any of their fellow coworkers who fall into the trap of emulating the behavior. This situation should not be tolerated and should be addressed without delay. Start by...

2. Illuminate Better Options – Poorer managers will simply issue an edict that the behavior must stop. While we understand this strategy, salvaging an otherwise valuable employee requires a little more effort. Providing an alternative for the employee to vent their dissatisfaction and frustration can lead to much better results. In particular, you can be a sounding board. That is, you must be willing to listen to their grievances and even be compassionate in the process. Still, giving the employee this option isn’t an “out.” Make clear that their behavior is unacceptable and will have negative consequences up to and including termination. Then...

3. Follow Up On a Regular Basis – Coaching sessions are valuable and can have an impact on certain employees. Still, it is essential to monitor the situation and follow up with the employee. Hopefully, things will go well and the employee recognizes the error of their ways. If not, you will have to take the next logical step – a written warning. In many cases, this may be the “straw that breaks the camel's back” with an employee quitting on the spot. Stay calm and...

4. Document Everything – Do not fool yourself – any employee willing to vent their frustration while still employed by a company will not hesitate to instigate a lawsuit if they are terminated. Do everything by the book, have a disinterested third-party present for any coaching sessions and make sure that all the appropriate paperwork is in order. The sad fact is that this type of situation is not usually ended in an amicable manner and you will have to defend your decision when you...

5. Terminate (without Prejudice) – This phrase may be an overused movie cliché but it absolutely applies in this situation. If the employee does not want to listen to reason, you have no choice – no choice! - but to let them go. It does not matter how long they have been with the company nor how valuable their past services have been – just be rid of them. It may be painful in the immediate sense but you, your company and most importantly, the rest of your employees will be far better off for the loss.

6. Finally, have no Second Thoughts – It is never fun to lose a good employee. Nevertheless, a manager must not lose sight of the overall goal. Some immediate pain must be endured for the overarching benefit of the employees and the company. For this reason, it is often best to use a professional employer organization (PEO) to deal with these types of situations. These companies – expert in all facets of human capital management issues – offer a singularly objective view on any employee – good or bad.

To find the best PEO fit for your company, try our free PEO Matching Tool to narrow your search.   

3 New “needs to know” about recent rules & regulations

What_you_need_to_knowCourts love to remind businesses that they have “needs to know” and a need to know what they “reasonably should have known.” There is just no way to get around the liability. Recent rulings and changes in regulation drive this liability home with at least three new “needs to know.”

Department of Labor on overtime:

The DOL last updated overtime regulations in 2004. Beginning in 2016, the new regulations will require periodic adjustments to calculating overtime on a continuing basis. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) remains open to review and unclear about the effective date(s) of changes.

The rules direct employers of salaried employees currently classified by the employer as “exempt” because of their administrative, executive, professional, outside sales, or computer employee duties. What job description duties will identify those as “exempt” remain to be determined.

The salary threshold that partly determines employee eligibility will rise from $23,660/year to $50,440/year. (That is also a move from $455/week to $970/week.) That change opens the overtime door to millions more workers a year. (White House.gov claims 4,680,000 affected workers based on 2011-2013 pooled date.) More than half the affected workers will be women and/or over age 35.

Those previously exempted as “highly compensated” employees at $100,000/year will see their threshold increased to $122,148. An increasing number of well-placed employees make this kind of money without having managerial or executive exclusion.

Employers will need to know or should have known what employees are eligible for overtime or not. And, it would not be prudent to redefine those duties after the implementation of the new regulations. What your PEO knows is the timing, the coding, and all the intricacies in calculations, reporting, and compliance.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration on investigations:

One way OSHA addresses being short-staffed is to push its investigations down the ladder. Of the almost 5,500 claims filed with OSHA since January 1, the agency has shared the responsibility on 46 percent of them with the employer of origin.

For starters, the employer must report within 24 hours any injury requiring hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye. This “rapid-response” strategy presses the employer to launch its internal investigation promptly in advance of OSHA’s subsequent call.

This quick response mechanism lets OSHA offer advice on required action and investigatory paths it will want to see. OSHA is clear that it is looking for employers who blame incident victims, who are ignorant of high-risk hazards, and who have missed patterns of injuries. With increased data, the agency hopes employers can make better-informed decisions.

In short, OSHA is tightening its regulation of those employers who claim not to know what they should have known about risk hazards and management. What your PEO knows is exactly what OSHA wants and when they need it.

8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on FMLA:

Sending a clear message that employers cannot hide among the complexities of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the 8th Circuit Court ruled on interference and related discrimination. A well-known large employer had a policy requiring employees to report any unplanned absence in a personal call to their direct supervisor.

An employee took off a few days needing to see a doctor. His girlfriend, who also worked for that employer, personally told his supervisor that he was ill and would miss a few days. And, the employee sent a text message to the supervisor reporting his absence and need to see a doctor. The employee was absent for 11 days and returned with a written doctor’s excuse. He was terminated for failing to directly notify his supervisor for five specific days of the absence.

The Court of Appeals pointed to a number of inconsistencies of fact in the employer’s defense.  But, the essence of the decision told this employer and any employer - considering similar disciplinary action – to have facts and rationale straight. Leaving termination decisions to the bottom of the organizational ladder puts all stakeholders in jeopardy. So, there is no hiding behind rules that require a specific notice that conflicts with the intent of the FMLA policy. Your PEO knows all there is to know about FMLA and has all the data and resources to relieve you of the judgement calls and execution.

Now, all these new “needs to know” have a data aspect. Each needs some current and future thinking about how your Human Resources information interface serves your employee and employer interests. And, in each case, your PEO has the advantage. Let them deal with your Human Resources “needs to know” while you focus on your core business decisions – in construction, hospitality, healthcare, landscaping, retail, or any other industry.  

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