Government Disagrees Over New “Bathroom Law”

North Carolina recently passed a law (NC HB2, colloquially known as the “Bathroom Law”) declaring that individuals must use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender written on their birth certificate, not the gender with which they identify. The DOJ informed North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory that the state’s new law violates federal law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Acts Amendment of 1972.

Past precedence has set conflicting judgments about the issue, so Gov. McCrory and the DOJ filed separate lawsuits asking the courts to clarify the law. Due to the conflicting nature of past precedence, it is likely these cases will progress to the Supreme Court for a final ruling. The ruling will directly impact the workplace, particularly policies and procedures regarding transgender employees.

For more on this topic, please contact Jason Eisenhut at jeisenhut@employco.com.

JUST ANNOUNCED: New Overtime Rule

NEW OVERTIME RULE 
OvertimeThe Department of Labor (DOL) released historic legislation today that will drastically increase the number of employees who are eligible for overtime pay.

Effective December 1, the salary threshold under which employees are automatically non-exempt will increase from $23,660 to $47,476.

Every employee who earns less than $47,476 will become eligible for overtime pay, which is 1.5 x regular pay for hours worked over 40 in a week.

Exempt

EXAMPLE:

  • Today: Sally is an exempt supervisor with an annual salary of $45,000 ($21.63/hr).  If Sally averages 45 hours per week, she still earns $45,000 per year
Job Type Hourly Pay Hours Worked Annual Pay
Exempt $21.63 45/wk $45,000
  • Starting December 1, if Sally’s hourly pay stays the same ($21.63) and she continues to work 45 hours per week, she will become an hourly/non-exempt employee earning $53,436 per year ($45,000 in regular pay plus $8,436 in overtime pay)

POSSIBLE EMPLOYER STRATEGIES & EXAMPLES

  • Keep employees’ hourly pay and hours worked the same. Affected employees become non-exempt and eligible for overtime pay
Job Type Hourly Pay Hours Worked Annual Pay
Non-Exempt $21.63 45/wk $53,436
  • Increase applicable employees’ salaries to $47,476.  The employee will earn more but continue to be classified as salaried/exempt
Job Type Hourly Pay Hours Worked Annual Pay
Exempt $22.83 45/wk $47,476
  • Keep employees’ hourly pay the same (employee is eligible for overtime pay) but cap their hours at 40 per week to avoid paying overtime wages
Job Type Hourly Pay Hours Worked Annual Pay
Non-Exempt $21.63 40/wk $45,000
  • Decrease employees’ hourly pay (factor in estimated overtime pay) and allow employees to continue working the same number of hours per week which would correspond to the same annual earnings
Job Type Hourly Pay Hours Worked Annual Pay
Non-Exempt $18.22 45/wk $45,000

Based on a job duties test, employees earning at least $47,476 may qualify to be exempt from overtime pay.  Exemptions can include employees classified as executive, administrative, professional, outside sales or computer.

Contact us for support with your company’s compensation strategy and earnings calculations. We’re here to help.

Jason Eisenhut
630.286.7341
jeisenhut@employco.com

Managing Political Talk in the Workplace 

Employment expert Rob Wilson offers tips to keep office politics PC this election season

For many, November 8th can’t arrive soon enough. With 228 days until the 2016 presidential election, discussions and debates about the candidates, the electoral process and the future of the country are sure to give rise to heated emotional exchanges and uninvited opinions in the workplace, from the reception desk to the corner office.

“Escaping or prohibiting political discussions at the work is impossible,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA. “However, left unchecked, talking politics at the office could adversely impact productivity and morale, or worse, leave you vulnerable to a potential lawsuit.”

Wilson recommends that employers take a proactive approach to managing political discussions in the office to avoid any awkwardness or issues that could arise if employees are left to their own devices.  Here are his four tips for managing politics at the office this election season.

  1. Review your policy on politics
    “Many companies have a policy or guidelines that prohibit posting of political propaganda or wearing political clothing in the workplace,” says Wilson.  “If your company has such a policy, share it with employees to remind them of what is acceptable and what isn’t.” Wilson suggests that companies that don’t have guidelines consider crafting one to avoid creating any potential tension or confrontations between employees at work.
  1. Set the example
    “Political talk around the office is inevitable,” says Wilson. “Especially this election year which is more contentious and divisive than we’ve seen in decades.” Wilson advises bosses and supervisors to set the example for what is appropriate conversation in the office by keeping political discussions brief, light and  non-confrontational. He recommends that bosses and supervisors notify employees who engage in heated exchanges that it is not acceptable in the office, or risk creating a hostile work environment.
  1. Avoid specific topics
    Certain issues that are tied to moral or religious beliefs, like same-sex marriage or transgender rights, should be avoided. “While it is ok to talk about politics at some level, supervisors in particular should be careful not to talk about highly charged issues. It could leave them vulnerable to a discrimination lawsuit,” states Wilson.
  1. Mind your social media
    If you’re the boss and friends with your employees on social media, be careful with your postings, warns Wilson. “After work and on your own time, when political talk is technically OK, it’s still best to post carefully. Your personal political opinions can change someone’s opinion of you, your work or your ability to be seen as a fair boss,” states Wilson. “In addition, mind your company’s social media posts to avoid turning off customers.”

“Given the media coverage and divisiveness of this election season, it’s unreasonable to think you can keep employees from engaging in political discourse,” says Wilson.  “But you can lay out some guidelines for your office that not only inform employees what’s acceptable but also protect you from creating a toxic work environment. Remember, once the election is over, we all need to still get along with our co-workers.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

5 Tips for Using Social Media Effectively in Recruiting 

Employment expert Rob Wilson shares best practices for hiring employees through social media

A recent Society of Human Resources (SHRM) study found that 84 percent of organizations are now recruiting on social media, up from 34 percent in 2008. “Clearly, using social media as a recruiting tool is here to stay,” said Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA. “Knowing when and how to use social media effectively, and correctly, to recruit candidates can help hiring managers not only find and vet talent but also reduce costs.”

Here are Wilson’s five best practices for recruiting using social media.

  1. Build your reputation as a great place to work

More and more, candidates look for companies that offer a great culture.  With talent shortages in key industries, nurturing and showcasing your company’s culture and how employees feel about working for you could be the difference in meeting your hiring objectives. “Workplace branding can help reduce a business’s cost to hire and its ability to attract quality candidates,” says Wilson. “Most job seekers today expect to be able to learn about a company’s culture not only through its website and social media profiles but also through third party sites like Glassdoor.”

  1. Use your company’s social media profiles strategically

In addition to having a careers section on your website listing openings, companies should also create profiles on popular social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Beyond posting jobs, companies should build relationships and engage with potential candidates by sharing interesting information about the company, its culture, events, news and photos. Wilson suggests companies build their network by connecting to current and former co-workers to start.

  1. Leverage your employees

Ask employees to share job openings through their social media. “While they many not have a candidate to refer, someone in their network might,” says Wilson. “Referrals are still one of the best ways to source talent.” In addition, create a culture where employees are encouraged to share why the company is a great place to work. Empower them to post photos on Facebook, Tweet or share insights on LinkedIn about the culture. According to a 2014 survey from Monster, 65 percent of respondents would consider an opportunity for a new job if they learned about it from a personal connection.

  1. Track results

Track and measure your results against your efforts.  Experiment with your postings by changing words and images.  Evaluate what is or isn’t working and why. Replicate your successful strategies and tactics.

  1. Minimize legal risk

In addition to attracting candidates, social media can be a great tool for vetting candidates.  However, recruiting managers should be wary of potential legal risks when using social media for this purpose, warns Wilson. “You can learn a lot about a candidate from looking through their social media profiles, including things you wouldn’t be able to garner from an interview, such as age, marital status and other protected characteristics.”  Wilson recommends that HR professionals and hiring managers are trained and knowledgeable about recruiting laws and what’s appropriate when using social media to vet a candidate.

“Social media is only one tool in the recruiting arsenal, and it may not be right for every business, but when it is used effectively as part of a broader recruiting strategy, it can help companies attract and hire candidates at a lower cost,” says Wilson.

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.