To acknowledge our 20th year in business, each month in 2022 The Bradley Partnerships (TBP) will provide “golden nuggets” to help you evaluate your organization and its compliance.
To begin the journey, our first “golden nugget” is going to focus on setting a foundation for legal compliance and protection. Using the To-Do List below, take a moment to assess your organization to determine what is working and what may need some work.
1. Assess the Employment Compliance Posters: Many states including Pennsylvania require employers to post certain notices in their worksites, so employees have access to applicable labor laws. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently increased the maximum fine amounts for noncompliance with certain federal notice and posting requirements, to include the following:
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): $189 (from $178).
"Job Safety and Health: It's the Law" (Occupational Safety and Health Act): $14,502 (from $13,653).
Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA): $23,011 (from $21,663).
You want to make sure information such as worker’s compensation, pay, leaves, child labor laws, and steps to report discrimination are available for all to read. If your organization is virtual or hybrid, you will want to make sure all of these items are shared with your employees on your website and/or intranet and all employees have been notified how to access the information. All of the required materials can either be posted via an all-in-one poster that can be purchased from a variety of organizations; or they can be printed for free from the federal and state DOL websites.
2. Appraise Your File Retention Protocols: Ask yourself, is my organization holding on to the files we are supposed to for the right length of time? If you are unsure of the answer, know that it is recommended that interview materials and files for terminated employees should be retained for at least one (1) and up to three (3) years to be safe. Why one to three years? It is the amount of time someone has to a file claim and take actions with state and federal agencies for various discrimination and law violations. Depending on your industry, there may be other records that need to be held for longer periods of time. Check with your industry’s professional organizations for recommended record retention requirements.
3. Review EEOC/State Human Rights Commission Charges and Claims: Take time to look at any EEOC/State Human Rights Commission Charges or Potential Charges or Claims that have been filed against your organization. Hopefully you can check this off your list because this does not apply to your organization, but if it does see these charges and claims to learn and grow from the experiences. Look at what the charges and/or claims involve, have in common, and when they occurred to identify steps, your organization can take to strengthen compliance.
4. Examine Open or Pending Unemployment Claims: After an employee leaves your organization, you may have to pay them unemployment compensation. While some reasons for awarding unemployment benefits are out of an employer’s control (i.e., part of the employee’s look back period), other reasons unemployment compensation is awarded is within the employer’s control (i.e., providing reasonable assurance, discharge for cause). Review open or pending unemployment claims and see if there are any common themes or reasons employees are filing for benefits or why the state is granting the benefits. If you see themes within your control, develop a plan to reduce claims and hopefully end the granting of benefits.
Taking some time to work through this short To-Do List will help you to determine your organization's current level of legal compliance and to avoid DOL fines and penalties.
As we continue through our series to help you assess your organization’s HR functions so you can proactively identify areas of success and areas for growth, look out for our next blog “Employment – Let’s explore job descriptions, offers of employment and personnel files” at the end of this month.
Remember that you do not have to address HR and Organizational Effectiveness situations alone. TBP provides a full suite of HR services and Organizational Effectiveness solutions. To learn more about our services, you can reach us at our corporate office at: (724)799-8170, visit our website at www.bradleypartnerships.com, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.