Manchester Area Human Resources Association January 6, 2009
with Attorney Jim Reidy Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green. P.A.
This is where we review new laws and regulations, and interesting court cases from the last year.
This is also when we preview coming attractions for the upcoming year
Wow! Lots out there. Ever get a little foggy about what workplace laws require and that the courts have said?
Said another way, there are HR truths and HR myths. You know, the stuff we’ve heard for years about workplace laws or rights, but we’re not sure it’s true or accurate.
And we have all dealt with those employees who say things like…. “Hey, you can’t do that! It’s against the law.”
You know, we have done this type of review before with programs like…
“Who wants to avoid a million dollar lawsuit.” • “HR Hollywood Snares.” • “HR in Jeopardy.” • “HR Family Feud.” • “Let’s take an Appeal.” • “HR Trivial Dispute” • “Law in Order” • “Employment Dispute: Deal or No Deal” • and last year’s program… • …“Are you Smarter than the Investigator?”
Right, we parody game shows and reality series to help educate our audience about trends and requirements in workplace laws.
This year is no different. To dispel common HR myths and provide you with clarity and information to bring back to your workplace…
You know the T.V. show where two scientists test urban myths (while blowing up toilets, cell phones and small cars?) Pretty cool huh?
Well, in our presentation we take on sex harassment, wage and hour issues, workplace safety, the FMLA, the ADA, pregnancy leave, benefit policies, terminations and other workplace issues.
Don’t worry, no small animals, household appliances, or polar ice caps have been harmed in the creation of this presentation.
We then give him/her three possible answers. Two are incorrect or myths. One is the right answer.
Don’t be afraid, most of these are fun and all are intended to be informative.
Yes, there are also valuable prizes for those who participate.
Ready? Let’s play HR Myth Busters!
HR Myth #1 An employee must agree with information contained in a document before it can be placed in his/her personnel file.
Possible answers…. • Absolutely! • Not so, you can put whatever you want in a personnel file and the employee doesn’t get to see it. • No, but it is a good practice to allow employees to see what is going in their file and state law allows then to offer rebuttals when appropriate.
C. Fairness and good performance management practices suggest that employees at least know what is in their file. State law permits employee to submit corrections or rebuttals but not approvals over content or a veto power.
HR Myth #2 Job descriptions really only need to be updated if there is a dispute, misunderstanding, or job responsibility change. Creating one now reduces management flexibility.
Possible answers…. • “Amen, I am so tired of being told we need to do these things.” The statement: “Because I said so”, should be enough. • “If we are doing job descriptions, can we start with mine? I’m really not sure from day to day what I am supposed to do around here.” • Nope, you need written job descriptions now to avoid misunderstandings and soon, under the amended ADA, they will be more important than ever when documenting essential job functions.
C. You need simple/concise descriptions of what the job requires and how it is to be performed. These should be updated as the job/requirements change in meaningful ways.
HR Myth #3 An employer can decide whether or not to report a workplace illness or injury.
Possible answers…. • Nope, state law requires employers to report all workplace accidents or injuries. • Right, this is a privacy issue. It also involves individual rights. You can’t force an employee to report an injury or go through the workers’ compensation system. • Employers must report all workplace injuries where first aid is required or medical treatments exceed $750, regardless of employee cooperation, but you can still seek/insist upon the employee’s cooperation.
C. There is a reporting threshold for workers’ compensation claims, but that is surpassed in most cases.
HR Myth #4 Supervisors can search an employee’s work computer even without his/her consent.