Archive for May, 2013

Respect the Personal-Professional Wall Between You and Your Employees

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

criminaldata.com, employeescreeningblog.com, employement screeningEmployers often speak of their staff members as “family.” It’s great when supervisors and workers can hang out together, bond over a softball game or grab a beer after work. But in the age of social media, it’s far too easy to know far too much about your employees’ personal lives. And getting too involved can lead to real problems.

You cannot, by law, discriminate against employees who belong to a protected class or category. Examples are gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religion or disability. You can’t even ask questions about these issues in interviews. Why? Because there is a possibility of discrimination if decisions are made based on these characteristics.

It’s important to create a workplace that is free from any inkling of discrimination. And the less you know about employees’ personal lives, the easier that becomes. For example, you might have an employee who shows up every day on time, works hard, achieves his goals and has a great attitude. But if you’re friends with him on Facebook, you may also find out that his political views are 180 degrees from your own—even if he’s never brought up politics at work. And that could affect how you treat him.

Here are some other personal things you don’t need to know about your employees:

  • How they spend their free time. Some people run for fun. Others sit in bars. It’s not your concern one way or the other.
  • What church they belong to—or don’t. If an employee speaks about his religious beliefs or tries to proselytize to other workers, have a talk and insist that the behavior stop.
  • How they spend their money. If you know she buys expensive shoes or likes good wine, you might decide Sara doesn’t need that raise she has earned.
  • Their sexual orientation. It’s none of your business. Period.
  • Whether they have physical or mental illnesses. Some illness will carry over into the workplace. But knowing that an employee is in therapy, taking medication or dealing with a chronic disease can affect your objectivity in evaluating her performance. Remember though, that employees with disabilities who need work station adjustments are entitled to them.

In a time when everyone announces what they’re eating for breakfast on the Internet, it takes more effort to respect the employer/employee professional relationship. But this is also a litigious time, and knowing less about your employees could keep you out of legal trouble. Keep the professional wall between you and your employees intact.

New Rules Protect Employees With Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

"employee credit check, employee background check"The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued revised rules designed to protect employees and applicants with certain diseases or conditions.

Under the law, employers are forbidden from treating an applicant or employee less favorably because he or she has a history of disability (such as cancer that is in remission), or is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory and minor. In addition, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to job applicants or employees with disabilities, unless it would cause undue hardship.

Harassment of applicants or employees who have or have had a disability is also illegal. Harassment is deemed illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it causes a hostile or offensive work environment, or results in an adverse employment decision (firing or demotion, for example).

Recently, the EEOC issued revised documents updating the requirements of anti-discrimination laws. The updates cover how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to applicants and employees with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and intellectual disabilities.

The new guidelines take into account the nearly 34 million Americans with epilepsy, diabetes and cancer, and the two million with intellectual disabilities. Many of these Americans are in the workplace, or trying to enter the workplace.

The documents contain changes to the definition of “disability” to make it easier to conclude that people with these diseases and conditions are protected by the ADA. In addition, the documents answer typical employer questions, such as what types of accommodations they must make, how to handle safety issues and whether the employer is allowed to ask employees and applicants about medical issues.
From the EEOC website, the following is a definition of disability:

A person can show that he or she has a disability in one of three ways:

  • A person may be disabled if he or she has a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity (such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning).
  • A person may be disabled if he or she has a history of a disability (such as cancer that is in remission).
  • A person may be disabled if he is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if he does not have such an impairment).

Is it Time to Cut Your Staff?

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

employee screening, pre-employment background checkPerhaps your company came through the recession intact, and even hired new staff. But as the economic recovery has dragged on longer than many expected, you may be overstaffed.

Having too many employees can be more harmful than too few. You’ll carry more overhead, along with the potential for employee-related issues. In addition, more staff require more of your time and attention.

Keeping your staff at just the right level can be tricky, but once you know how much work there is to be done and the number of people needed to do it, you’ll be on your way.

Start by monitoring cash flow. Most businesses have stronger months or seasons, and those where sales are down. Know what your long-term cash flow looks like, then project sales for 30, 90, 180 and 360 days.

Consider how many employees it takes to handle the peaks. Are staffers overworked during these times, or is this level just right to get the work done? If it’s just right, then you probably have too many employees during slower times. Plan to cut back, and you can always add temporary staff or pay overtime to existing employees when business increases.

If you want to keep all of your employees, but current sales won’t support the expense, there’s a sure cure—get new clients. Create a new business strategy and deploy it, and with success, the business will be able to handle current staffing levels.

But if sales efforts don’t pay off right away, you might have employees with not enough work to do. In this case, the business must come first—and the extraneous workers must go.

When’s the best time to let an employee go? Usually by the time you’re thinking about it, it’s too late. Ask ten business owners if they should have fired a staffer sooner, and eight of them will say “yes!”. Business owners usually put off firing because it’s not an easy task, especially if the person isn’t doing anything wrong. But if you don’t have enough business to justify every employee, someone has to go.

When you’re recruiting the perfect team, don’t neglect employee background screening. The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.