But You Didn’t Document

I recently terminated Sam, my employee. I had several discussions with him about his performance but he didn’t listen and improve. He said I couldn’t fire him since I hadn’t written him up. Is that true?  [click to read more …]

WEBINAR: Successful Separations

Employees eventually separate from companies, in one way or another. Whether that separation is voluntary or involuntary, you need to understand how to handle the legalities. Plus, in today’s lawsuit-crazy times, you want to avoid common mistakes. You will also receive the paperwork we use for separations.  [click to read more …]

Managing After the Fact

I currently have an employee on a leave of absence who is due back in three weeks. We don’t want her back. While she’s been gone, we have found so much that she didn’t do well or even do at all. Is it okay to tell her we don’t want her back?  [click to read more …]

Vax Madness

I want to stick my head in the sand and ignore all the craziness I’m hearing about vaccination mandates. How do I know what actually affects my employees?  [click to read more …]

Timing is Everything

Contrary to Federal law, California law is very specific when it comes to minutes and even seconds an employee works. They don’t vary, which helps, but you do need to understand the language.  [click to read more …]

Retention Ending

“I’ve managed to keep most of my employees working over this past year and they’ve seemed fairly happy here. However, lately, I’ve seen signs that make me think they aren’t as happy as I thought and are looking for a new job.”

Your HR Survival Tip

Congratulations on retaining your employees when so many companies have had layoffs because of the pandemic. Employees have felt lucky to keep their jobs over the past year and haven’t wanted to do anything that might put their name on the layoff list. However, that doesn’t mean they feel their current position is the best job ever or even the best they can do.

The clock is ticking. Companies had to dramatically downsize and even close in the past year… but that’s ending and companies are looking to kickstart their businesses again. As more and more employees are vaccinated and feeling safer, they will be assessing their job and the job market. In fact, there is a study that shows nearly 50% of employees will be looking at their options.

One of the reasons we’re expecting this is because employees are becoming less fearful of taking a chance on a new company and  [click to read more …]

Retaining Those Documents

“I have a few boxes of old employee files in my warehouse. Is it okay to just throw them out?”

Your HR Survival Tip

The documents in employee files have a required shelf life. The length of retention is often related to the laws concerning how much time an employee or entity has to make a claim and or file a lawsuit where those documents may be needed. Even when you are no longer legally required to keep the documents, attorneys suggest you keep them for the life of the company… just to be safe. This is much easier now that we can digitize those docs. However, be sure to store the digital files on a protected drive so only authorized employees can access them.

No matter what the document may be, do not destroy anything while the employee still works for you. If your managers keep separate notes or records, ask for copies if an employee’s manager is changing or leaving. Below is a very basic list of minimum retention requirements:

Recruitment, hiring, and job placement records — 3 years or longer for any claim or litigation about your hiring practices. Payroll records, including timecards, time-off accruals, schedules,  [click to read more …]

It’s Not a Good Fit

“When I fire someone, I just tell them it’s not a good fit. But do I need to tell them anything?”

Your HR Survival Tip

California and several other states have an at-will employment law. This means either you or the employee can end the employment relationship at any time and for any reason, with or without notice. That’s the letter of the law. However, how it plays out in court is very different. In reality, it’s only the employee who has that much freedom.

As the employer, you really do want a reason… a legal reason… when firing someone. You also want to give the employee that reason. If you don’t, they will make up their own reason and it will likely put you in a bad light. The employee will give “their” reason when filing for unemployment, when interviewing elsewhere, and possibly when talking with an attorney. Why would you want to be in that position when it’s not necessary?

Be honest. You can usually tell if someone’s not a good fit within the first 30 days. Even then, there are specifics about why they aren’t a good fit. They don’t get along with their coworkers, they  [click to read more …]

Retroactive ABC Test

“I have two contractors that I’ve been using for quite a while. Is it true that a recent ruling might make me susceptible to a retroactive lawsuit if California doesn’t believe they are legitimate contractors?”

Your HR Survival Tip

We have seen many changes to our use of independent contractors over the past three years. California has always assumed a worker is an employee and it’s up to the company to prove otherwise. If you classify someone as a contractor and CA disagrees, it’s considered a “misclassification” with associated fines and penalties.

The standard used for many years was the Borello test that included 20 determination points, with a focus on the amount of control the company had over the contractor and their compensation. Then the CA Supreme Court introduced the ABC test in 2018 during the Dynamex case and the use of contractors was forever altered.

The ABC test focuses on classification standards under California’s wage orders. This test resulted in a very short list of acceptable uses for contractors and who qualified as a contractor. Then AB5 was passed and the door for contractors opened a bit. Proposition 22 opened the door even wider, affecting gig drivers for companies  [click to read more …]

Agency Scramble

“I often hear about one government agency or another but I can’t keep it straight on who does what. Can you help?”

Your HR Survival Tip

It can be confusing but it’s also an important thing to know when you operate a business in California. While we try to provide the agency name at least once when using acronyms, not everyone does.

As you may have guessed, California has many more laws than the Federal government or its own version of laws. This means you need to be careful about the source of your information. If you hear about a legal change, you want to make sure you’ve heard California’s version of it because it’s likely to be different than the Federal version. The following may help you:

Labor Law — This is the branch of government dealing with all things about employees, such as labor law, safety and health, workers’ compensation, etc. The Feds call their agency the Department of Labor (DOL). California calls theirs the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Under the DIR is the Labor Commissioner’s Office that will (for free) help an employee get any wages due them. Civil Rights — The Feds use the U.S. Equal Employment  [click to read more …]