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Overtime Expansion

U.S. Department of Labor Moves to Finalize Overtime Expansion

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On March 14, 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor submitted its overtime rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Once finalized, the rule is expected to expand overtime protections to millions of American workers in 2016.

The final rule could be made public as early as April, based on the OMB’s typical review process, and would take effect within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. This potential time frame would give employers little time to comply with the new wage-and-hour standards.

Time Is Ticking for Employers

Overtime expansion is expected to have a major operational, administrative and cultural impact on many businesses and could cost employers more than $5.2 billion. Service industries like restaurants, retail and hospitality may be hit especially hard.

It’s important for companies to start evaluating their workforce now to determine the best options for controlling costs and managing the administrative burden under the new rule.

Count the Cost

A good way to get started is with Paycom’s FREE, overtime expansion calculator which allows you to quickly calculate your potential overtime costs. We even help you find the point where it may make more fiscal sense to actually raise salaries, based on the new, proposed-income threshold for exempt employees.

Stay tuned for more important information about managing overtime expansion right here on the Paycom Blog.

Brie Hobbs

by Brie Hobbs

Author Bio: For more than eight years, Brie has been writing to both job seekers and business leaders about human resources and the challenges facing today’s workforce. Her articles have appeared on award-winning career and HR blogs, as well as on the International Franchise Association’s SmartBrief and other notable publications. With a background in franchising, Brie focuses on helping franchise organizations understand how Paycom’s human capital management technology can benefit their business.

Standing Desks

Requests for standing desks: How HR can exercise its options

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Chances are pretty good that if you work in human resources, you’ve been approached by an employee requesting a standing desk. In fact, a 2017 Society for Human Resource Management report noted standing desks as one of the fastest-growing benefit requests from today’s worker.

You easily can find articles boasting about the health benefits of standing desks, as well as ones arguing that standing all day comes with its own slew of health risks.

Regardless, the question that matters most for many HR professionals is: When an employee asks the company to spend several hundred dollars for a standing desk or a desk converter, are you required to comply?

The short answer: No.

However, if the request is due to medical necessity or initiated by a doctor’s note, it’s a good idea to treat it as an accommodation request, and process it in accordance with your current Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) policy.

Companies with 15 or more employees are required to offer reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, unless doing so would pose undue hardship on the organization. Therefore, if a doctor determines that the employee has a disability, and the standing desk would accommodate his or her needs, your company will need to engage the employee to determine how you will move forward.

Crucial or just convenient?

When an employee first issues such a request, it’s important not to jump to the conclusion that the request is because of a medical condition. Today’s worker is more aware of health and wellness than previous generations, and may be asking after researching the positive impacts of standing more often. Or it could be because the employee saw a co-worker using one, thinks it looks cool, and wants to try one out, too.

For “convenience requests” like these, your company may want to create a policy on employees bringing their own standing desks or converters to work. For example, if an employee is willing to purchase the equipment from an approved provider, this can satisfy his or her request while your company still determines which products can or cannot be used. You even may consider subsidizing the purchase or allowing employees to repay the company through payroll deductions.

However, if an employee indicates that the request is due to a medical condition, or brings a doctor’s note stating the need for such a desk or desk equipment, put your existing ADA process into practice. Employers can request additional medical information and/or documentation if the disability is not obvious.

With the documentation, employers can engage in the interactive process to better understand the employee’s needs and to discuss accommodation options, which may include different desk equipment. If your organization determines that a standing desk or converter is a reasonable accommodation, you can purchase and install the device.

Interactive process

Remember, the interactive process is just that: interactive. Employers may choose to suggest reasonable alternate accommodations that address the employee’s needs, like taking more frequent breaks, standing to stretch every so often or taking a two-minute walk a few times per hour. Or you could conduct an ergonomic assessment to determine if he or she is using available equipment correctly.

Ultimately, your organization is responsible for selecting the accommodation that best works to meet the employee’s needs while allowing him or her to continue to perform the essential functions of the job.

Standing desks likely are no passing fad, so HR professionals should proactively develop a detailed process to handle requests. Additionally, doing so better prepares you for the inevitable requests for a yoga ball chair or treadmill workstation. Having a solid, well-documented policy for ADA accommodation and convenience requests will allow your organization to be consistent and unbiased when fielding requests for atypical office equipment.

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Posted in Blog, Employment Law

Tiffany Gamblin

by Tiffany Gamblin

Author Bio: Tiffany Gamblin is an HR manager at Paycom. Since joining the company in early 2016, she has implemented innovative benefit communications, as well as developed and delivered an immersive “HR Leadership for Management” training program across the organization. A certified professional of the Society for Human Resource Management, Gamblin obtained her bachelor’s degree in 2013 from the University of Central Oklahoma and has more than eight years of HR experience in a generalist capacity, with a focus on benefits administration and HR training.

Independent Contractors

Should Independent Contractors Undergo Anti-Harassment Training? (Spoiler: Absolutely!)

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Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits harassment in the workplace. All workers – no matter their classification – should be aware of  and comply with your organization’s harassment policies. Employers may be liable for harassment by its independent contractors, if they knew – or should have known – about the incident and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.

The classification test

The classification of workers is one of the most siginificant decisions an employer can make. Utilizing independent contractors, as opposed to hiring employees, is an alternative for employers that could potentially save money on taxes, insurance, overtime and leave.

Unfortunately, this decision is not a simple one, and courts or agencies may disagree with the way your workers are classified. Depending on applicable laws, the test for whether the employer’s classification choice was correct may be different.

When determing whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee for purposes of Title VII, a court would likely evaluate the hiring party’s right to control the manner and means by which the hired party’s work is accomplished. The factors relevant to this inquiry are:

  • the skill required
  • the source of the instrumentalities and tools
  • the location of the work
  • the duration of the relationship between the parties
  • whether the hiring party has the right to assign additional projects to the hired party
  • the extent of the hired party’s discretion over when and how long to work
  • the method of payment
  • the hired party’s role in hiring and paying assistants
  • whether the work is part of the regular business of the hiring party
  • whether the hiring party is in business
  • the provision of employee benefits
  • the tax treatment of the hired party

Therefore, employers should ensure their classification decisions are well-informed, as those decisions directly impact their Title VII exposure.

Employers’ responsibility for environment

Courts have held that an employer is responsible for sexual harassment, no matter who committed the complained-upon behavior: an employee, an independent contractor … or even a bird!

For example, when Judge Frank H. Easterbrook delivered his 2005 verdict for Dunn v. Washington County Hospital, he compared a hospital patient keeping a macaw in his room that only bit and scratched women, to Washington County Hospital being responsible for the hostile work environment created by a doctor working as an independent contractor.

According to Easterbrook, in both cases, the hospital was responsible for the decision to expose women to the working conditions affected by the offending doctor and the macaw, even though the former was an independent contractor and the latter isn’t an employee in any form.

In summary, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide its employees with nondiscriminatory working conditions. That includes ensuring that independent contractors are fully aware of applicable policies.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured, Talent Management

Zachary Gregory

by Zachary Gregory

Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Zach Gregory monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal levels, focusing on payroll and garnishment laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. He previously worked at a law firm as a tax attorney. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University and a J.D. from Oklahoma City University. Outside of work, Gregory enjoys playing in the backyard with his two boys, and finding new restaurants with his wife and high school sweetheart, Kellyn.

Cultural Fit

Diversity Training in the Workplace: Helping Managers Understand ’Cultural Fit’

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In July 2017, a 30-something manager wrote to the Ask a Manager blog with an issue. One of the manager’s team members recently had quit; during her exit interview, she revealed some interesting tidbits about why. As a result, HR confronted the manager about “cultural problems” in the department. The manager saw nothing wrong with the culture, saying the former employee was just a “bad fit” for the young team.

What made her a bad fit? According to the manager, the employee:

  • was older than most of the people on the team
  • declined to go on weekly lunch-hour beer runs with the rest of the staff
  • did not spend as much time perusing or engaging with social media as other team members
  • couldn’t spend much time mingling with the team outside of work, because she was married with a child
  • was “very show-off-like” for completing work and forming meaningful business relationships with clients
  • made other team members look bad by “always going above and beyond for no reason”

So, the manager asked, is HR right? Or was the employee just ill-equipped to work with young professionals?

‘Cultural fit’ confusion is real ­­– and harmful

Alison Green, the blog’s creator and moderator, weighed in and supported HR’s perspective. But as sensational as the story is, what’s most surprising is how profoundly the manager misunderstood what “cultural fit” really means. Even after the manager – and her entire team – were terminated, she blamed it on the employee, who – in the manager’s mind – never should have been part of the team in the first place.

While hopefully, this is an extreme example of a front-line manager taking the idea of “cultural fit” too literally, it does illustrate that confusion exists. It also shows when that confusion is left unchecked, your efforts to build a diverse, inclusive and productive workforce suffer. Because not only can cultural-fit confusion cause good employees to leave, it can prevent them from working for you in the first place.

For many companies, front-line managers and even employees greatly influence hiring decisions. If they think finding a “cultural fit” means choosing candidates who look or act like the existing team members, or share similar backgrounds and interests, they’re unknowingly rejecting good candidates. They’re also potentially opening your company to discrimination risk. That’s why it’s important defining “cultural fit” as part of any diversity hiring training you provide to your managers.

Training can help

Luckily, for the manager in the story above, all was not lost.

Months after writing to the blog, the manager provided an update. She realized that management was not the best choice for her personality, joined a new company and thanked the blog’s commenters for their feedback.

The situation left the manager humbled and wiser. But it begs the question: If she had received some training or clarification on what “cultural fit” really means, would circumstances have been different?

It’s hard to say. But when building a diverse and inclusive company culture is your goal, it’s important everyone with a hand in accomplishing that understands what they should – and shouldn’t – do to make it happen.

To equip your front-line managers with tools to help them fairly evaluate candidates, follow the letter of the law and support your efforts to build a diverse and inclusive workforce, download our free toolkit.

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Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured, HR Management

Amy Double

by Amy Double

Author Bio: Amy, a tenured professional in sales and marketing with over 10 years of experience, is dedicated to creating content focused on helping organizations achieve their business goals. As an experienced writer, Amy is committed to researching and blogging about topics that affect businesses across multiple industries, including manufacturing, hospitality and more. Outside of work, Amy enjoys reading, entertaining and spending time with family.


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