myHRcounsel® is the reliable source for information on HR and employment law. Our team of attorneys and HR professionals publish weekly Newsletters with the latest updates, provide valuable Tips of the Week, and host educational Webinars on critical HR topics and law changes.

Terminating Before you Investigate

November 19, 2018

Social media: every employer’s double-edged sword.  Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow you to reach millions of potential customers and clients with one click.  But when negative feedback about an employee shows up in your mentions, your first instinct may to be terminate first, ask questions later.  Chipotle made that mistake with one of its Minnesota franchises, and is now backtracking on its rash decision.

St. Paul, MN Minimum Wage to Increase to $15 per hour

November 19, 2018

On Wednesday November 14, St. Paul, Minnesota Mayor Melvin Carter signed into law a $15 minimum wage ordinance, which followed a 7-0 vote in favor by the St. Paul City Council.  This law will gradually increase wages to $15 per hour over the next 3.5-8.5 years, with the variance dependent on the size of the business, however, contract workers will remain exempt, however tipped employees are not exempt.

What’s Protected under the 1st Amendment?

November 12, 2018

Could this happen to you?  As reported by the New York Post, a Memphis employer found itself on the receiving end of a barrage of complaints after one of its employees was captured on social media wearing a racist t-shirt to the polls on Election Day.  The employer investigated and decided to terminate the employee.  For some, terminating the employee may seem like a foregone conclusion.  Others may be wary that terminating the employee may violate the employee’s First Amendment right to free speech.  How do you ensure that you comply with the law and protect your business reputation when it comes to your employees’ off duty activity-both on and off social media?

Voting Rights per State

November 05, 2018

Midterm elections are upon us, and employees may be eligible for paid time off from work to vote. More than 20 states require employers to allow paid time off, some with some restrictions, and other states require at least unpaid time off. See the chart below for information on whether you must provide your employees with paid time off to vote, and what other provisions may apply.

Google Walkout

November 02, 2018

On Thursday, November 1, Google employees across the world participated in a walkout in response to the company’s handling of sexual harassment and misconduct claims. Many claim Google has treated female workers inequitably for years, and others are outraged that a Google executive was awarded a $90 million exit package even after the company concluded that a harassment claim against him was credible.

Halloween in the Workplace

October 29, 2018

Halloween can be a spooky time of year; however, managing employee conduct around this fun and frightful holiday does not have to give your human resources department the chills.  When enacting your policies and procedures regarding the Halloween holiday, the most important step you can take is to be proactive.

Duluth, MN Paid Sick and Safe Leave

October 12, 2018

On May 29, 2018, the Duluth City Council adopted Ordinance 10571, establishing minimum standards for paid earned sick and safe time in the city. The ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2020, making Duluth the third city in Minnesota to enact a paid sick and safe time law. The new ordinance applies to private employers with five or more employees, regardless of whether employees work in Duluth or whether the employer is physically located in the city.

Politics in the Workplace

October 11, 2018

One of your employees reports a coworker for expressing extreme political views on social media.  An employee frequently arrives at work wearing hats and shirts supporting a controversial candidate for office.  A notice is posted on your breakroom bulletin board inviting employees to a rally in support of a position on a hot button issue.  What should you do?  What can you do?

New Background Check Legislation Puts Employers at Risk of Costly Litigation?

October 11, 2018

Employers who rely on third party agencies to perform background checks on applicants and employees must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  Among FRCA’s requirements is the obligation to supply applicants and employees who are subject to background checks with the Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA.

Marijuana Initiatives on the Ballot this November

October 11, 2018

With the election less than a month away, a big issue that employers should take note of, is the recreational marijuana measure that five states will vote on.  Currently there are 30 states that have legalized marijuana use to a certain degree, including nine states that have legalized recreational marijuana (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington).

Employers Need to Update their FCRA Summary of Rights Form

October 03, 2018

Employers who use outside agencies to conduct background checks must use the new “A summary of your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” Form.  This was effective on September 21, 2018, and is one of the notices that employers must provide under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 

ACA Penalties Have Increased

September 17, 2018

For 2019, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer shared responsibility penalties are set to increase. As a reminder, these penalties apply to any month in which at least one full-time employee of an applicable large employer (ALE) receives a premium tax credit for purchasing coverage through the marketplace and either:

Employee Dress Codes

September 10, 2018

Every employer wants its employees to make a great first impression on clients and customers, promote an atmosphere of respect and professionalism in the workplace, and cultivate a general reputation of strong values and trustworthiness.  One way employers approach this goal is to implement a dress code, or policy regarding dress and grooming.  But employers should be aware of the pitfalls and practicality of implementing these types of policies. 

We are Pleased to Announce an Exciting new Partnership with SyncStream Solutions

August 28, 2018

We are pleased to announce an exciting new partnership between SyncStream Solutions and myHRcounsel™!  With all of the changes in Washington politics in the last couple of years, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, remains the law of the land and applicable large employers are still required to comply with its mandate to offer minimum essential coverage to all full-time employees. One of the most confusing and tedious tasks involved in this compliance is the annual IRS filing requirements.  Through myHRcounsel’s partnership with SyncStream, we are now providing our clients with the tools to take the stress out of these annual ACA filings.  SyncStream’s comprehensive ACA Dashboard is a cloud-based tool designed to manage all aspects of ACA reporting and compliance including:

Per Diem Overview

August 28, 2018

Do you wonder about the ways to cover expenses for employees who travel?  One method is paying per diem.  We frequently receive questions on per diem payments and the implications they have for employers and employees.

What’s the order for paperwork when on-boarding a new employee?

August 27, 2018

Hiring a new employee can rain a mountain of paperwork on any seasoned HR professional. Oftentimes, one is left asking, what order are all of these supposed to be complete?

Best Practices for Electronic Tracking

August 23, 2018

Employers now have the ability to track employees’ movement and location using GPS and related tracking technology on employees’ vehicles and smartphones.  The benefits of electronic tracking include monitoring employees’ performance and productivity, accurate time recording, and ensuring employees’ safety during work related travel.  But using electronic tracking technology without the proper legal safeguards in place can lead to fines, sanctions, and costly lawsuits.

What to do when you notice issues or signs exhibited by an employee that you believe may be related to a medical issue?

August 21, 2018

Employers often notice performance, attendance, or other issues that lead them to be rightfully concerned about their employees’ well-being and safety. Managers, supervisors, and other decision makers in the organization should be trained to recognize situations and signals that could point to medical or personal issues requiring engagement in the interactive process under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The ADA not only prohibits employment discrimination based on disability, but also creates responsibility for employers to make good faith efforts to reasonably accommodate applicants and employees with disabilities.

Can Staffing Agencies Share Background Checks or Drug Tests with Clients?

July 26, 2018

A common question from Staffing Agencies is whether or not they can share background checks or drug tests with clients.  I understand wanting to do it, but I would highly recommend against it.

Ban the Box Laws. What do they mean?

July 23, 2018

Did you know that over 68 million Americans have some type of criminal history?  About as many Americans have criminal records as have college degrees.  If you ask about criminal history on your applications to eliminate applicants with criminal records you may not just be eliminating one-third of your potential employees-you may be breaking the law!