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What HR Professionals Need to Know about California’s Workplace Regulations

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Updated: Monday, April 30, 2018

Contributed by Lauren Gus, Senior Director of Human Resources at Sterling Talent Solutions


Laws that directly impact a company’s workforce are growing across the country and California has led the way in driving change for workers through new regulations. Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a plethora of bills pertaining to labor and employment issues, causing HR managers in California to significantly alter the way they have managed traditional HR processes. Some have required fundamental shifts in workforce behavior unlike anything the industry has seen before.

How can HR departments – particularly those in California, who are paving the way for other states – stay abreast of and comply with these new regulations?

Let’s look at three of the regulations that rocked the industry and explore what HR managers can do to stay compliant and keep their workforce well-informed.  Read the article >> here.

Tags:  California  PHRca  Regulations  Workplace 

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Complying with California Disability Laws - Don't Leave it Just to HR or Risk the Consequences

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Tuesday, March 29, 2016

By Joe Wilson

If an injured, sick, or mentally ill employee is terminated, demoted, written up or otherwise has adverse action taken against them, they may bring disability based claims. This includes disability discrimination, failure to engage in the interactive process, and failure to provide reasonable accommodations.  All managers, and not just human resources, need to be aware of an employer's duties under California law.  

First, managers must know that California law is broad, all encompassing, and meant to protect employees.  A disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a major life activity.  Major life activities include walking, eating, breathing, working, and the law states that it is meant to be broadly construed.

Employees with temporary conditions, such as a broken wrist, are also protected. Employees who have no problems, but are perceived to have a disability or mental condition are also protected.  You can't simply fire someone because you think they are crazy.  Well, you can, but if you do you'll be paying both them and their attorney a large amount for doing so.  

When an employee has a qualifying disability, medical condition or mental condition, employers must make reasonable accommodations.  Reasonable accommodations can be anything, including time off, shift changes, and transfer to a different position.  The big factor is whether it is reasonable, and courts look to whether a company has the resources to provide the accommodation.  The company's defense to failing to provide reasonable accommodations is that it imposes an undue burden on them.  That is a high threshold to meet, and employers cannot use that defense unless they have first engaged in the interactive process.  

To find out what type of accommodation needs to be made, employers are required to engage in the interactive process.  This is an informal process, where the employer simply needs to find out what problems the employee has, and what type of accommodation they may need.  Employers do not have to simply acquiesce to the employee's requests, they can offer alternatives, but the important aspect is that employers must engage.   

It is surprising how often I hear about a manager who knows their employee to be sick, hurt or otherwise protected under California disability laws, and instead of engaging in the interactive process or talking to HR, they take some type of adverse action. Don't let your managers be ignorant.  At the end of the day it could cost the company a significant amount of money and goodwill.  

About the Author
Joseph C. Wilson is the founding partner of Curiale Wilson LLP. His practice is focused on employment defense litigation, including misclassification, wage and hour claims, discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, and California Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) actions. In his practice, Joe has successfully represented clients in both state and federal courts, before the California Labor commissioner, the National Labor Relations Board, and in arbitration. Joe is licensed to practice before all the Courts of the State of California, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 




 

Tags:  california  compliance  disability laws  HR  HR blog  HR Law  HR management  human resources  NCHRA 

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Calculating the High Cost of Employee Turnover

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, May 13, 2015

By Matthew Coleman - Marketing Manager, MyEmployees


 

There’s a disease silently infecting the modern American business world today. It lurks in the background, silently eating away at the bottom line of your company. This silent destroyer of business profits is known as your “employee turnover equation,” and it affects small businesses and corporations alike.


I’ll not bore you with stats detailing the billions of dollars lost annually to this problem. In reality, when the numbers get that large, people tend to accept them as the norm. What you need is a simple employee turnover calculator to understand exactly how it is affecting YOUR business. Once you’ve got an idea what you’re losing, there are a few simple steps you can implement to regain some of that lost profitability.

Most businesses know, on some level, that the cost of employee turnover is a problem. They view it as a mere inconvenience that must be dealt with, a cost of doing business. That’s until you put a dollar amount on its effect. Even seeing an “estimate” of what you’re losing will shock you!


See for yourself! Here’s an employee turnover calculator to help you understand just how much money employee turnover truly costs YOUR business each year. Once business owners, HR managers, CFOs, and CEOs get a look at the real numbers lost each year, quarter or even a single month... they need to take a hard look at what needs to be done to slow that tide.

Example: Let’s say you have 100 employees. Each year, you have 15% turnover. When those employees leave for whatever reason, you have to train new employees to fill the open positions. If it takes 2 weeks to train each new employee, at 40 hours per week, on a $8 hourly salary for the new employee, and a $25 hourly salary for the trainer, you’re looking at $42,768 per year! And that doesn’t even cover recruiting!

Those are just blind estimates.  Take a minute to input your data into the employee turnover calculator to get a true number for your own business. Prepare to be shocked!

While you can’t stop employee turnover completely, you can take steps to diminish it. Examine your company culture for ways to improve employee engagement. Find ways to inspire employees to take more pride in their job by asking them for input on how to do their tasks more efficiently. Survey employees and ask their thoughts on how the workplace can be improved (and then implement do some of the suggestions!). Create an employee recognition platform that recognizes people for their effort, and awards them regularly and consistently.

It’s a proven fact! When employees are engaged, they work harder, are more efficient, and take pride in what they do. A “World Class” atmosphere of teamwork develops. A cooperative, competitive spirit blossoms, encouraging everyone to be a better employee and a better person. People stop coming to work because they have to, and start coming because they want to. They are more productive and happier. That means fewer performance-based layoffs and fewer top producers leaving your company for greener pastures.

Engaged employees have significantly lower levels of absenteeism, on the job accidents, and fewer HR issues. What is that doing to your bottom line every year? According to Gallup Research, companies with high levels of employee engagement are 400% more profitable. Yes, 400%!! Pair that increase in productivity and profitability with the savings from reduced turnover, and your business can expect exponential growth in sales and profits.

Many of the factors affecting true employee engagement need to be customized for each business. A great place to start is an employee survey. Find out what employees think about the business and work environment. You may uncover hidden systemic issues that contribute to your high rate of employee turnover.

 

Another excellent place to start is a consistent recognition platform. One of the most basic human needs is to feel appreciated. From a business perspective, a recognition program can reward and inspire employees while at the same time achieving company goals and objectives. It’s not magic; it's all about criteria. Check out this video for more about that: How can an Employee Recognition program increase profitability.

Employee turnover is an infection, but it doesn’t have to be a killer. The first step is using a simple employee turnover calculator to put a dollar amount on just how much it costs your business. Once you understand that, you can easily justify any investment in employee engagement and employee recognition to shrink your turnover rate drastically. Not only will you be saving the headache of replacing many of your employees, but you’ll be investing in the massive growth potential and profitability of your business.


About the Author

Matthew Coleman is the Marketing Manager for 
MyEmployees. The mission of MyEmployees is to engage America’s workforce, one manager, one employee at a time… forging stronger companies in the process. Twitter: @matthewjcoleman
 


Tags:  Bay Area  behavior  California  cost  cultural  culture  diversity  engagement  harassment in the workplace  HR  human resources  leadership  management  my  NCHRA  San Francisco  turnover  workforce  workplace 

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HR West 2015 was a huge success!

Posted By Amy S. Powers, Monday, March 9, 2015

Thank you to all who came out to the 31st annual HR West conference. What a fantastic time we had! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To our members, to the HR community, to our sponsors, presenters, and keynotes - for your dedication to human resources. Without you there would be no us!

 

It is an honor to serve the country’s most vibrant HR community. Whether you came for the connections, the coffee, the next practice techniques, or to fall in love with your job all over again, a good time was had by all.

 

Stay tuned for photos, but in the meantime we thought we'd share a few of the "Twitter pic" highlights (#NCHRA #HRWest)!


 

Mark your calendar for March 7-9, 2016 and be on the lookout for registration announcements. If you register by 7/30/15, you can get the full 2016 conference for just $693! 


Tags:  Annual  Bay Area  California  HR  NCHRA  Oakland  San Francisco  SHRM  West 

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Turn That SOUL-CRUSHING Conference into a WIN - How to Get More Out of a Conference

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 12, 2015

By Sue Shellenbarger

 

You’ve spent days wandering the cavernous halls of a convention center, trapped in windowless rooms, drinking too much coffee and talking yourself hoarse. Does anyone ever emerge from a conference as the organizers intended, feeling recharged with new ideas, contacts and energy?

 

New York City marketing executive Stefany Stanley does. Among conference organizers she is known as a savvy convention-goer, someone with a strategy for rising above the dreary rounds of networking and breakout sessions. Ms. Stanley says she has gained valuable contacts, ideas and insights from the 15 conferences she has attended in the past five years.

 

Avoiding time-wasting traps takes planning, self-discipline, skill—and for many, a lot of caffeine. The biggest mistake most conference attendees make is failing to plan ahead, set a personal agenda and report back to colleagues on their results, says David DuBois, president of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, a Dallas trade group.

 

Ms. Stanley, 26, admits to some apprehension as she prepares for 21/2 days at Content Marketing World. This is a conference in Cleveland focused on using content such as blogs and videos to replace traditional advertising. Her employer, Sandra Arnold Inc., or SAI, a creator and producer of corporate events and exhibits, is spending $3,000 on her trip, including a $2,000 pass to the meeting. Ms. Stanley, SAI’s business development director, hopes to return with new digital-marketing ideas and relationships with potential clients and helpful contacts.

 

A record 70 million people will attend conferences in the U.S. and Canada this year, with attendance expected to peak next month, industry research shows. The experience can be overwhelming.  Conferences usually last one to four days. Content Marketing World offers 80 breakout sessions, with time to attend only 11. It sprawls over 270,000 square feet of the Cleveland Convention Center. Sessions include “Breakthrough Moments in Content Marketing.” Eight networking sessions are scheduled to allow the 2,600 attendees time to meet.

 

Along with the usual speeches by celebrities and exhibits, Content Marketing World provides social activities such as “our own music festival” with a Beatles tribute band and “Shooters on the Water,” an after party starting at 10:30 p.m.

 

No matter what session conference attendees pick, they worry they’re missing a better one. The best networking may be in one session while the best speakers are elsewhere, Ms. Stanley says. She comes in with her schedule highlighted in neon yellow for “must attend” sessions and amber for “maybe.”

“You really have to be on your A game,” she says. “You’re networking and getting all that information, plus giving your pitch and telling people about your company. It’s exhausting.”

 

She works out to build energy, rising by 6 a.m. to lift weights and run 3 to 5 miles. On the treadmill, she mentally rehearses different versions of her opening pitch to suit different people. To help her resist the free candy and junk food that abound in most exhibit halls, she stuffs granola bars into her shoulder bag.

Ms. Stanley resists the temptation to befriend other new arrivals and travel with one group. “I have to stay focused on my goals, getting new ideas and new contacts,” she says.

 

She positions herself by the coffee pot for the first networking session; talking about the coffee can be a good icebreaker. She considers introducing herself to another attendee standing alone nearby, but she hesitates, and the opportunity is lost when another attendee approaches the man. Ms. Stanley tells herself. “You’re here to network. One, two, three, go!”

 

Meeting conference speakers, who tend to be high-level executives, is a key networking opportunity for Ms. Stanley in her search for corporate clients. She is nervous as she waits in line with a dozen others to introduce herself to Katrina Craigwell, global manager of digital marketing at General Electric Co., after Ms. Craigwell’s presentation on a successful digital-marketing campaign. Ms. Stanley plans to take Ms. Craigwell’s ideas, such as promoting GE research with videos on social media, back to her SAI team. She also hopes Ms. Craigwell will put her in touch with colleagues at GE who might be interested in SAI’s services.

 

Brazilian by birth, Ms. Stanley values Latin cultures’ emphasis on warmth and spontaneity. When her turn finally comes to speak with Ms. Craigwell, she says, “You were wonderful. I felt as if I knew you.” The executive responds with equal warmth and promptly emails Ms. Stanley’s contact information to a colleague.

 

Later, as she prepares to introduce herself to another speaker, Ms. Stanley gives herself a pep talk: “What’s the worst that can happen? He’ll say no. What’s so awful about that?” Her friendly approach sparks a conversation about how SAI might help his company, and they part with plans for another meeting. Ms. Stanley notes on each business card the follow-up steps she promised to take.

 

By late afternoon, her energy wanes. She downs her third coffee of the day. Hungry after having only a salad for lunch, she allows herself a bag of Doritos, then heads for the last breakout session of the day. Blocked at the door by a security guard and a sign, “Session Full,” Ms. Stanley talks her way in with a joke. The guard laughs and opens the door.

 

Ms. Stanley passes up an opening-night pub crawl. Networking with strangers over drinks “has never proven effective for me,” she says. The music festival on the second evening is unusual enough to lure her. She leaves after 45 minutes. “I prefer to go to bed early and be focused on the next day,” she says. Ms. Stanley once slept through a meeting because her cellphone died, she says.

 

She now arranges a wake-up call from her hotel, in addition to setting the alarm on her smartphone. At a breakout session on the last day, she finds a seat near the front, only to realize that she already knows the information being presented. Usually, she avoids sitting too close to the front so she can see who else is present, and also so she can slip out quietly if necessary. “I picked the wrong seat” this time, she says. On the last day, more than an hour before a closing keynote speech by actor Kevin Spacey, hundreds line up for seats. Ms. Stanley strides past them on her way to a panel discussion. “I’m not going to not network so I can be in the front row for Kevin Spacey,” she says. “You have to keep in mind your goal.”

 

Later, Ms. Stanley takes stock: She has reaped several good ideas and a grasp of emerging trends such as using journalistic techniques to attract customers on social media and the Web. She collected 20 business cards, initiated promising relationships with four potential clients, and made five “fair-to-good” new contacts. She isn’t done. Many people only took her card or gave her a colleague’s name. But she will follow up with them all.

 

 

Sue Shellenbarger is the creator and writer of the The Wall Street Journal's "Work & Family" column. The former chief of the Journal's Chicago news bureau, Ms. Shellenbarger started the column in 1991 to provide the nation's first regular coverage of the growing conflict between work and family and its implications for the workplace and society. Read more about Sue here

This article was originally reprinted in HR West Magazine November 2014 issue by permission of Wall Street Journal, Copyright © 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide. License number 3484300144322.

 

Register for HR West today - March 2-4, 2015 at the Oakland Convention Center, Oakland, California.
For more information contact, Amy Powers, NCHRA.

Tags:  Annual  Bay Area  California  Coast  Conference  HR  HR West  NCHRA  Oakland  San Francisco  SHRM 

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