Office Management & HR
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If your business involves hazardous materials, to be in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's workplace safety rules you must not only follow safety precautions, but also maintain records and communicate information to employees and community emergency organizations.
Determining whether you and/or your employees are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act is the first step in determining what laws you are required to comply with when paying your employees.
Firing an employee is rarely pleasant. However, a properly conducted termination meeting which preserves the employee's dignity can help defuse even the tensest of situations. There are several steps you can take to fulfill your legal obligations to terminated employees and avoid escalating any hostilities over the firing.
Whether an employer is permitted to check a job applicant's criminal record depends on various factors. Federal and state laws protect applicants from inquiries into criminal records, including convictions, and usually prohibit arrest record checks altogether. Also, while checks may be permitted, the results may not necessarily be a bar to employment. Employers are required to conduct criminal record checks on applicants in certain professions. Employers who don't do proper checking could face negligent hiring legal claims.
Employers should review employee compensation on a regular basis and determine whether employee pay raises are warranted. Whether raises are the same across the board, performance-based or calculated using another method, a competitive compensation package is necessary to retain and attract the best employees.
Absenteeism can be a costly problem for any business, but the impact on small businesses can be especially severe. Employers can control excessive absenteeism by creating an atmosphere where good attendance is valued. A formal attendance policy can help ensure that attendance problems are dealt with fairly.
Job descriptions are an excellent tool in the hiring process for both you and your prospective employees. They can also provide proof as to the essential functions of a job for purposes of complying with federal employment laws.
Dealing with problem employees requires that you choose a course of action as to whether you discipline the employee or coach the employee through constructive feedback. Depending on the severity of the problem, a combination of the two may be the most effective approach.
There are many factors every small business owner needs to consider when getting ready to make the decison whether to buy or rent a business facility.
Experience, education, ability, and language fluency may be considerations when you are defining your job qualifications. Employers, particularly those who employ 15 or more, must be careful not to run afoul of federal or state anti-discrimination laws during this process.
Employers should know how to detect theft by an employee and how to properly handle suspicions. Depending on the particular situation and workplace, an employee anti-theft policy may be advisable.
Disciplining workers is rarely pleasant but sooner or later, it is a reality for just about every employer. Whether you're dealing with minor work rule infractions to the most severe of offenses or somewhere in-between, having a discipline program in place can help make the process less painful and avoid possible legal complications.
If you are concerned that another job might interfere with an employee's work for your business or if you want to prohibit employees from working for competitors, you may want to protect your business with a moonlighting policy.
Fringe benefits are property and services whose benefit to employees often outweighs the cost to the employer. Generally, fringe benefits are part of your employees' taxable wages, but there are certain fringe benefits that are excepted from this rule and you can still take a business deduction for their cost. Nontaxable fringe benefits include no-additional-cost services, qualified employee discounts, working condition fringe benefits, very minimal fringe benefits and qualified transportation fringe benefits.
An employee handbook compiling your work workplace rules is a great way to communicate work policies to employees, However, it's extremely important to follow certain guidelines when creating a handbook in order to avoid inadvertently creating an employment contract.
Correctly classifying your workers as independent contractors or employees is more important than ever now that the DOL, the Internal Revenue Service and several states are partnering to enforce compliance.
Whether your reasons for firing an employee are based on work performance, due to an economic layoff, or for another reason, following the proper termination procedures goes a long way in avoiding legal issues. Avoid firing someone on the spot, and use severance and release agreements to limit your liability.
Employers may be required to provide certain time-off benefits to their employees, including time off to vote, jury duty leave, family and medical leave, pregnancy leave and military leave.
If your employees use business vehicles, or perhaps your personal vehicles while they are working for you, you must understand your liability for having employees use your vehicles and do what you can to reduce it.
Employees have the right to file complaints against employers with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as asserting other rights without fear of reprisal from employers. Employers are required to display posters that inform employees of their OSHA rights.
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