Here is the latest issue of “This & That” Tuesday. I hope you find it to be informative and useful.
You can always check out my website for upcoming speaking engagements that are guaranteed to be of value to business owners or for a list of topics that I can speak on at Chambers, Clubs, Business Associations, etc. More details about the events, topics and Human Resources 4U, in general, can be found on my website.
June 7 "The Three Biggest HR Risks to Business Growth" sponsored by the Inland Empire chapter of FSRG
June 11 "The Three Biggest HR Risks to Business Growth" sponsored by the Los Angeles chapter of FSRG
June 28 "Hiring for Consistent Performance" sponsored by West End Real Estate Professionals (WEREP).
Full Day Workshop on June 25: my last HR4U 101 Workshop for 2013.
Employees Misclassified as Independent Contractors Awarded $1.3 Million
A federal judge has ordered kgb USA Inc., the world's largest independent provider of directory assistance and enhanced information services, to pay $1.3 million in minimum wage compensation to 14,568 of its current and former employees nationwide for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The employees, who were hired to respond to text messages from customers, worked from home throughout the United States. The company’s headquarters are in Bethlehem, Pa. The consent judgment and order resolve an investigation by the DOL (Dept. of Labor) that determined the company misclassified employees as independent contractors and paid them a piece rate based on the numbers of text messages and inquiries they responded to, without regard to the number of hours they worked. FLSA violations resulted when piece-rate earnings failed to yield at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
The DOL states it is committed to ensuring that employees are classified properly so that they receive both the pay they rightfully earn and the protections to which they are entitled, including minimum and overtime wages, family and medical leave, and unemployment insurance.
The investigation also revealed that the company failed to record and maintain accurate records of hours worked, in violation of FLSA record-keeping requirements. Under the terms of the consent judgment, kgb USA must pay the back wages found due in full and is enjoined from future FLSA violations. The agreement requires compliance with all of the act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions and specifies that kgb USA shall not classify any worker as an independent contractor unless the worker is a bona fide independent contractor and fails to meet the definition of an employee under the FSLA.
Note: Employers in CA should be advised that its the wage and hours laws are more onerous to employers than the Federal laws. If you have any wage and hours concerns, Human Resources 4U can help.
Harassment Fact Sheet
What is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?
When certain benefits of employment are conditioned on the victim’s submission to unwelcome sexual advances made by his or her supervisor
Key points about Quid Pro Quo harassment
- A victim who eventually succumbs to the advances still has a claim
- The perpetrator of the harassment must be a person with management authority
- The employer is strictly liable for any proven harassment
What is hostile work environment harassment?
A workplace that is sufficiently permeated with severe or pervasive insult, intimidation and/or ridicule based on a person’s race, national origin, disability, religion, age or sex such that a reasonable person would find it hostile or abusive
Key points about Hostile Work Environment harassment
- The environment can be caused by vulgar comments, looks (such as leering), stories or jokes, offensive documents or postings, or inappropriate physical contact
- The environment can be created or contributed to by managerial staff, co-workers, vendors, and/or customers
- It can be based on sex or any other protected characteristic
- How can an employer avoid liability for Hostile Work Environment harassment?
- If the offensive conduct was conducted by a supervisory employee:
- Employer must prove that it exercised reasonable care to prevent and then promptly correct the harassing behavior
- The victim employee must have unreasonably failed to take advantage of the corrective measures provided by the employer
- If the offensive conduct was by a co-worker:
- Employee must prove that employer knew or had reason to know about the behavior but failed to take proper remedial action
What are the potential penalties?
- Back and front pay
- Compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
- Attorneys’ fees
- Out of pocket losses
Top Harassment tips
- Implement and enforce an anti-harassment policy
- Provide anti-harassment training for all employees
- Provide a means by which victims of harassment can complain and ensure that employees are aware of the complaint procedure
- Investigate all claims of harassment by interviewing all parties involved including witnesses
- Document the investigation with employee sigh-offs
- If harassment is proven, take steps to prevent further harassment from occurring, including disciplinary action against the perpetrator(s)
- Refrain from taking any adverse action against the complainant
- Do not promise absolute confidentiality, do promise limited confidentiality
Note: In CA all employers with 50 or more employees must train their supervisors every 2 years. Human Resources 4U can provide the required training
- For 2012 the average turnover was 13%
- Only 54% of employees say they are satisfied with the level of recognition they receive
- Depression ranked number one of 10 leading risk factors leading to about 20% of all medical spending
- Depressed employees cost employers on average $2,185 more, compare this to:
- High blood glucose $1663 more
- High blood pressure $1378 more
- Obesity $1090 more
- In a given year 9.5% of the adult population will suffer from a depressive illness.
- Over a 3 month period depressive employees will miss an average of 4.8 workdays and have 11.5 days of reduced productivity
“Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open”
Alexander Graham Bell