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The Top 4 Things Employers Should Do In 2019

Volume 18 | Issue 1
January 14, 2019

Happy New Year everyone! We hope that 2019 is off to a great start for you.

With the new year, resolutions are always popular. What are some of your personal resolutions? Whether they include improving your health or spending more time with loved ones, we wish you much success in achieving your goals.

If you are an employer, please do not forget about resolutions for your business too. Whether your work force has 10 or 10,000 employees, now is a great time to start the new year off on the right foot. As Benjamin Franklin famously said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

For those of you who attended our December 2018 Management Workshop, you may recall that we offered a short checklist of items all employers should review in 2019. If you were unable to attend, we offer again here the top 4 things you should have on your todo list.

1. Review and update your employee handbook

If you do not already have an employee handbook, you really should start using one. Regardless of the size of your workforce, there are at least 10 to 15 essential employment policies which every employer needs to maintain. Your handbook does not need to be lengthy, but it does need to communicate certain essential policies and expectations for your employees. If you already use an employee handbook, when was the last time it was updated? Your handbook needs to reflect any new legal developments that affect your employees. Ideally, your handbook should be reviewed every 12 to 18 months.

2. Commit to employee and supervisor training

Do you train your employees? All employees, regardless of their position within your company, should be trained at least annually on your commitment against workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation. In some states, such as California, this type of training has been mandated by law. For your supervisors and managers, they should also be trained on their obligations under both the FMLA and the ADA. Similarly, newer managers and supervisors should be trained on how to be good supervisors. This can include training on how to effectively evaluate employee performance, address performance issues in a timely manner, and coach and discipline. All too often, we see in litigation that many disputes arise because of either inadequate or a complete lack of training.

3. Assess the accuracy of your job descriptions

Written job descriptions serve a valuable purpose in setting forth performance expectations for an employee's position. They are also an employer's best tool in evaluating a reasonable accommodation request under the ADA. Job descriptions can also be useful in determining whether a position should be exempt or non-exempt from overtime requirements. All jobs evolve over time, and your job descriptions need to keep pace with those changes and reflect any updates or changed circumstances.

4. Review your compliance with wage and hour laws

You may have recently read a local article that Circle K has settled an overtime class action lawsuit...for $8.3 million! It's true. That case involved the misclassification of managers as exempt when they were not truly exempt employees. That case serves as an important reminder to all employers to review the compensation structure of your positions to ensure that those positions which are classified as exempt are truly worthy of being deemed exempt if challenged. For those of you who pay minimum wage to your employees, you should evaluate whether you are paying at the correct wage tier level. If your employees pool their tips, there have been changes within the last year to tip pooling arrangements and you need to make sure you are up to date on those changes. Class actions for minimum wage and overtime violations, and related wage/hour issues, remain a fertile source of litigation filed against employers. You do not want to be on the receiving end of one of those types of lawsuits.

All of us here at KZA stand ready to assist you with these projects, so please do not hesitate to call upon us. We can help you get the year off to a great start.

KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.