Today’s post provides examples of workplace issues involving workers’ national origin and provides points for employers to consider as they manage national origin issues in the workplace. Examples National origin discrimination claims can arise from lots of different circumstances. A fairly classic set of facts is presented in a November 2016 suit brought by the EEOC. The agency alleges that a temporary staffing firm segregated Latino workers in less desirable, more hazardous positions, paid them less, and provided fewer hours than their non-Hispanic counterparts. When the Latino workers complained about ongoing harassment including ethnic slurs, threats, and verbal abuse, the staffing firm did nothing. In 2015, the EEOC brought suit against National Tire & Battery in a case involving facts that[…]

Allegations of sexual harassment continue to attract media attention and commentary, including ours. As we review developments, we note that a wide variety of workplace behaviors are being challenged and scrutinized. Legally actionable sexual harassment takes many forms, from the classic quid pro quo claims included in the Sterling Jewelers case to the innuendo claimed in Gretchen Carlson’s suit against Roger Ailes and Fox News, to inappropriate greeting cards. Last week we learned that hugging, if it is unwelcome and pervasive, can create a hostile work environment and that a University president can be forced to resign by allegations of inappropriate “abrazos,” or embraces. Sexual harassment in the workplace is conduct or communication of a sexual nature that is unwelcome[…]

Yesterday we spoke about women within the civil rights movement, namely Rosa Parks are icons for women all around the globe in any era and any decade. The high-quality point in the series might be to celebrate as well as the contributions we make to improve our lives while contributing in a means for you to history. You maintain your balance sheet in the balance by making a balancing entry called Human Capital an individual include as part of owners’ money. This makes every employee a co-owner in the organization at an equivalent of their particular asset value – with 100 % free and without issuing provides. Paycheck Fairness Act For this generation especially, we’re raised I’m able to the[…]

From time to time I get questions from employees asking what legal recourse they have against their employer for what they perceive as unfair conduct. Usually, this stems from an employee being mistreated and/or fired. My experience in this area of law stems mostly from my previous experience as general counsel for a corporation, which was like a crash course in labor and employment law, dealing with everything from employment contracts, non-compete agreements, union grievances, and collective bargaining agreements, to discrimination claims and OSHA complaints. Whew! That kept me and the human resources department very busy. Fortunately, the head of the human relations department was outstanding. It takes a lot of talent and experience to be a good HR manager,[…]

Many large companies routinely include a mandatory arbitration provision in their contracts with smaller businesses and consumers. These large companies thereby become the best customers for the arbitration services and arbitrators. They provide almost all repeat business. You, the small business person or consumer, on the other hand, are someone the arbitration business is not likely to ever see again. Your arbitration with them is a one-shot deal. You are not a repeat customer, unlike the big businesses who put those arbitration clauses in their contracts. Think that doesn’t influence the arbitrators? In an ideal world, it would not, and maybe with some arbitrators it does not, but in the real world, do you really think the arbitration services don’t[…]

Most business owners recognize the value in setting up their business as a corporation or limited liability company. The main value of either form of entity is the potential protection from personal liability for the debts and liabilities of the company. This can be a huge advantage. Along with adequate insurance, this is the obvious and easiest way to limit your personal liability as a business owner. Limited Liability Company or S Corp? Small business owners are often confused by the choice between a limited liability company or an S corporation. The trend in Texas for the small business owner is towards using the limited liability company. Limited liability companies are more flexible in who can be an owner and[…]

A recent study about telecommuting echoes an old adage: Misery loves company. While the option of working from home makes employees happier and often more productive, it may have the opposite affect on those still stuck at the office. Perhaps it’s just the mere thought that their coworkers get to pass the day in their pajamas and see their kids before 7 pm, that they don’t have to get up, get dressed, make the drive, and rush to get things done at lunch. The study didn’t really get into those details, just that employees that remain at work while coworkers telecommute tend to be less satisfied and have a lower probability of remaining with the company. The greater the prevalence[…]

The Human Resources function is typically responsible for the overall management of the new employee orientation process. The orientation process begins before a new employee’s first day and continues typically for the first two months. The following checklist outlines the responsibilities involved: EMPLOYEE ORIENTATION – HUMAN RESOURCES CHECKLIST Recruiting Kit: Deliver the following reading material to the prospective employee along with the letter of offer: Company Code of Conduct (including confirmation slip to be signed by employee) Benefit Summary Summary of Career Paths Standard marketing information (for business unit) General Information Form (contact and family information, etc.) Personal Tax Forms Payroll Direct Deposit Form New employee or change of bank account form Medical and dental enrolment forms Employment equity statement[…]

I apologize, I am sorry, my mistake, my bad, oops… Part of being human is making mistakes. Many times when we make a mistake it causes harm to others either physically or emotionally, and as a result, we find our selves in a situation where we must apologize for those mistakes. As an HR consultant, I am frequently faced with situations where a disgruntled employee feels that the company has wronged him or her in some way, shape, or form. If the emotional impact is great, then the employee may seek legal action against the company, but in many cases, the employee just wants a simple, heart felt, “I’m sorry”. At my Texas based PEO, I often find that employers[…]

In the time that I have worked as an HR Consultant, I have stumbled upon a large amount of employers who do not know how to properly fill out their I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) documents. This poses a rather large problem in the event that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent would come through the doors for a file audit, because each incorrectly filled out I-9 will cost an organization between $100-1000 in fines and penalties. Therefore, a company with only 50 employees could be looking at fine amounts in excess of $50,000. Avoiding fines of this nature can actually be very easy. However, it does necessitate that you follow a few simple rules about I-9 compliance. Document Appropriate[…]

Using contractors for your IT needs can be a good idea as it allows you to concentrate your company’s resources on your business. You also don’t have to administer holiday and sick pay and collect tax for contractors, and employing a person as a contractor can be up to 30% cheaper than taking them on as a full-time employee.But if you’re going down this route you need to understand exactly what a contractor is. Contractors are engaged to perform specific tasks or to produce certain results, and are usually paid on the completion of the tasks that they’ve been engaged for. They usually Run their own businesses. Provide their own equipment or work from their own base of operations. Determine[…]

In the contemporary workplace human resources are highly valued. Employers understand, employees make or break the success of a company and therefore seek to ensure employees are able to maintain a consistent level of productivity. The health and well-being of employees is important to the modern employer. Wellness programs are becoming commonplace within working environments. Wellness programs are implemented by a third party company that takes care of the health and well-being of employees within the company. Employee wellness programs vary from health screening and nutritional advice to fitness programs and education. Companies employ these third party agencies to try to offset the cost of rising medical cover for their employees. Wellness programs are designed to ensure the physical well[…]

in Texas, a human resource handbook serves as a manual guide of all the rules, processes and policies applicable to your employee at the workplace. If your staff needs to know leave and time policies, it should be found in the Texas HR handbook. If your staff needs to know information about the bottom line of the company, it should be present in the HR handbook. If you need the medical staff’s number at their fingertips, it should also be listed in the HR handbook. Moreover, a human resource handbook should contain detailed information about the benefits that the company provides to its employees. Since most companies have different leave policies, the information must be reflected in the human resource[…]

Human Resources Directors are often charged with hiring employees, ensuring that the employee is properly trained, and delivering the bad news when the employee is not working out. HR Directors are usually the last ones to know that a problem employee has now become the company’s worst workers’ compensation claim ever. Many managers assume that Human Resources and Risk Management are synonymous; they are not. The impact of HR decisions are often felt on the desk of the workers’ compensation adjuster, who can become embroiled in unnecessary litigation because someone did not weigh both the HR decision and the risk management exposure. Unfortunately, adjusters are often forced to manage the claim and manage the HR issues simultaneously. I often find[…]

What’s worse – hiring the wrong person or not hiring anyone at all? Companies can become almost desperate to hire someone, but filling a position with a “warm body” can be worse that leaving the position vacant. I once worked at a not-for-profit where a management position was vacant. The company was small, resources were limited, and they were having a very difficult time filling the position; they just couldn’t find the right person. Finally a gentleman was hired, but he only stayed a few weeks. He had taken the job even though he hadn’t really wanted it, and when another position came along, he took it. Ironically enough, he left right about the same time that his business cards[…]

Some of the challenges associated with traditional job descriptions is they capture roles, accountability, and requirements, as they are known at the time the description is written. As a general rule they are not directly linked to the organizations vision, mission, objectives, and metrics. If we are to maintain descriptors of the work should they (at a minimum) – Connect the work to the mission, vision, goals, and metrics? Be future focused, describing the work as aspirational? Include the collaboration required to achieve results? If you believe the answers are yes, then perhaps your organization should consider what I am going to call “Success Profiles.” As HR organizations continue evolving toward a focus on organizational performance, it is critical to[…]

What Makes an Independent Contractor not an Employee? How do you differentiate between an employee and an independent contractor? It’s a seemingly obvious answer, but in some cases the separation can become difficult. The classification can significantly change the type of contract between the two parties, as well as the tax structure, the type of insurance required and the benefits the worker may be entitled to. For employers, taxes and insurance are easier and more cost effective when hiring an independent contractor over an employee. However, if you are going to be a major contributor to the business, employee status offers greater benefits than working as an independent contractor. What is an independent contractor? An independent contractor is classified as[…]

Microsoft is one of the wealthiest and most successful companies in the world. Even more important, from a human resource perspective, is the fact that Microsoft is an employee-driven organization. While other organizations base their success on better manufacturing techniques, or better technology, Microsoft’s success is based on the effectiveness of their employees. Essentially, Microsoft value their staff and realize the importance of their staff. This focus on employees may, in the future, expand to all organizations. Microsoft then, is worth studying as an example of best practice in human resource management. This study will focus on Microsoft’s employee management methods including how they recruit and how they retain their staff. By looking at how Microsoft operate, there is opportunity[…]

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them in FLSA Compliance The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 was a monumental piece of labor legislation that forever changed the face of business in America. For one, it established a national minimum wage (25 cents) for the first time. For another, it mandated the payment of overtime wages for most employees who do not fall under certain exempt categories. Finally, it regulated child labor on a nationwide basis, another first. In fact, that legislation spawned the appearance of mandated labor law posters in the workplace. Then, as additional labor and employment laws were passed over the decades, including the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and then the Occupational Safety and[…]


Employers are abuzz about a new acronym being discussed at the water cooler—“BYOD.”  No, it doesn’t have anything to do with parties or beverages.  It stands for “Bring Your Own Device,” and it signals the movement by employees to use their own cutting edge electronic devices at work.It sounds like a great idea.  An employee who is tech savvy gets a new device—iPad, Smartphone, laptop—and wants to use it for work projects to be more efficient or to work remotely.  Or even to ease the pain of juggling so many different electronic devices.   So why not just hook them up to the network?  That’s what many employers are doing.  And they are doing so without thinking first and certainly, without[…]