IT WAS A SMALL LINK buried in the daily Advisen Front Page News (FPN) digest, but it raised a flag (turned on the light and other expressions of new awareness) that corporate policies and procedures need to be reviewed to assure they comply with the laws du jour.
The article linked from Advisen FPN is headed: Is It Time To Recall Some Of Your HR Policies? (From http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=7bb5092f-e947-4431-ad8a-2d873768c0a6)
- Factory recalls have become a fact of life for those who sell and drive vehicles. The scenarios have a common theme: a vehicle part does not operate as designed or is determined to present a possible risk of failure. Once there is enough evidence to suggest a problem or potential problem exists, the recall process begins.
While the risks and potential harms pale in comparison to vehicle recalls, some employer policies should be similarly recalled and replaced. Some policies no longer work as designed because of subsequent changes to certain laws. Other policies and practices thought to be sufficient when implemented have not been as effective in application as they could be. Still other policies would benefit from a few overdue improvements that you didn’t consider at the time of drafting.
The article continues by focusing on seven specifics:
- Employment Applications And New Hire Packets
- FCRA Disclosures And Adverse Action Letters
- Reasonable Accommodation Policy
- Leave Policy
- Employee Reimbursement Policy
- Post-Accident Drug Testing Policy
- No-Harassment Policy
THE PRIMARY CONCERN for employers are labor laws and the several federal and state agencies that enforce them.
The laws are “subject to change”; unless someone is aware of the changes, policies and procedures that were legal yesterday may not be legal tomorrow.
When I was consulting I met an HR manager who, when asked if there were any risks associated with his function thought for a moment than answered with a firm “No.” Fortunately he had an assistant who was aware of a federal form that, if lacking for employees could have cost the company thousands of dollars. The form was the I-9.
- Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document
OSHA – the federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state versions of OSHA, constantly are on the lookout for labor law violations, particularly where worker safety is involved. Safety standards and safety gear remain in a state of flux.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and its related Administration, was created to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.
EEOC – the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigates workplace discrimination complaints.
- From is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.
The laws apply to work situations or all types including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.
The problem for too many “business continuity” practitioners — and a few enterprise risk management practitioners as well — is a tendency to ignore HR.
That, given the always in-flux legal fiats from Washington and state capitals, can be a costly mistake. Likewise, legal advisors need to be included in risk management procedures; they need to interpret the laws and how they impact the organization, and, if necessary, be ready to defend the organization if challenged by a regulatory agency.
PLAGIARISM is the act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.