Hiring Felons: 6 Rules Employers Need to Know

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Hiring Felons: 6 Rules Employers Need to Know

Does your organization have a policy against not hiring felons or people convicted of a crime? Do you automatically exclude applicants on the basis of having a criminal record? Lawsuits are on the rise when it comes to not hiring applicants with criminal records, and yet it’s a fairly common practice among employers. Here's what you need to know to stay compliant.

Hiring Felons: Two Areas of Risk for Employers

On one hand, when hiring employees with criminal records, employers are at risk of negligent hiring if they fail to do their due diligence in investigating the employee’s background insofar as it relates to the job for which they are applying.
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An Introduction to Background Checks for Employers

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For the new HR professional, and perhaps even for more seasoned HR managers, the process of conducting background checks can be a difficult one to manage. Corporate Screening, one of ERC's Preferred Partners, has provided us with some background knowledge to help us answer our key questions.

What is a background check? Why should my company conduct them?

Background checks help employers minimize risk for their company and their employees. They provide varying levels of information, depending on the type of position and job duties. Job applicants, current employees, and volunteers may all be asked to submit background checks... and for some positions, screening is required by federal or state law.
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4 Guidelines for Managing Pregnancy & Maternity in the Workplace

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Before your organization doesn't hire, promote, or accommodate your next pregnant employee—beware—because pregnancy-related lawsuits are increasing and you could be putting yourself at risk.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), pregnancy discrimination claims have been steadily rising over the past 15 years. In addition, the EEOC has said that one of its six national priorities is to address issues involving pregnancy-related limitations. In light of these trends, here are 4 essential guidelines employers must follow when managing pregnancy and maternity in the workplace.

Managing Pregnancy and Maternity in the Workplace

1. Don't let pregnancy affect employment decisions.

If you are considering not hiring, promoting, or providing certain job assignments to a pregnant employee or job candidate, or someone you think is trying to get pregnant, watch your steps closely.
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Hiring Practices: Checking Up on Job Candidates

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With an average “cost-per-hire” of just over $4,500 reported by Northeast Ohio organizations in 2013, making sure you are making the right hire on the first try is key. Admittedly, the selection process at each organization can incorporate any number and combinations of methods and should in fact be designed to reflect your organizational culture. Having a complete understanding of each potential new hire is a bit unrealistic, but by implementing a few basic practices during the hiring process, organizations can avoid awkward or potentially even legally complicated situations after-the-fact that could have been mitigated better up-front. We highlight a few of the more traditional methods reported in the recently published 2013 ERC Hiring Trends & Practices Survey below.

Background checks

2013 ERC Hiring Trends & Practices Survey found a strong majority very much in line with the 2011 results at well over 80%. As might be expected, background checks/screenings were conducted slightly less commonly among both non-profit organizations as well as smaller sized organizations with 1-50 employees.
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Affordable Care Act Employer Mandate Delayed Until 2015

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The Treasury Department announced this Tuesday that it will be delaying the employer "pay or play" mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which requires that employers with 50 or more employees offer health insurance to full-time employees working 30 or more hours per week or pay a penalty. The mandate was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2014, but will be delayed until 2015.

In a publicly released statement, the Treasury Department and the White House said that the decision to delay the mandate was based on feedback from employers that the system for reporting coverage was too complicated.
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Recap: FMLA Straight Talk

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ERC's 2013 "FMLA Straight Talk" program featured presentations from the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, Frantz Ward, and ERC Preferred Partner - CareWorks. The program focused on a case study, and each of the presenters provided their perspective on three ways employers can reduce their Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) liability based on lessons learned in the case. These lessons include following FMLA requirements, using effective employee relations practices, and properly managing FMLA claims.

1. Following FMLA Requirements

Following FMLA requirements can help prevent an organization from running into compliance issues with FMLA. Joann Moriarty from the U.S. Department of Labor led the program and emphasized the following as aspects that the DOL would look at if this case was brought to their attention - specifically related to the following FMLA requirements.
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Supreme Court Case Update

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The Supreme Court issued three decisions in July, 2013 that affect employers. Here are the details your organization needs to know about the Court's rulings.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in United States v. Windsor on June 26th, 2013. Specifically, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, deemed that section 3 in DOMA is unconstitutional as it deprives individuals of equal liberty protected in the Fifth Amendment.
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Local Wellness Programs and the ACA

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Based on the results of the 2013-2014 ERC Policies & Benefits survey, Northeast Ohio employers are well positioned to take advantage of the recently released Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations increasing the maximum rewards employers may offer employees for participation in wellness programs. Local employers have consistently outpaced the national averages in terms of their wellness initiatives, with specific programs illustrated in Figure 1 below.

One key program that is particularly relevant to Northeast Ohio employers within the context of the ACA regulations is smoking cessation classes. More and more local organizations are placing restrictions on tobacco use as part of their hiring policy and 31.1% of local employers do not allow smoking anywhere on the premises of their organization. In comparison, the national average is 10% lower at 23.1%.
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When Work Gets Personal: Managing Emotional Employees

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When Work Gets Personal: Managing Emotional Employees

Emotions are everywhere in your workplace, and dealing with them at work is unavoidable. Emotions are hardwired biologically and determine most of our behavior. Expecting that the workplace remains emotion-free and that employees leave their feelings at the door is simply unrealistic given our natural tendencies.

Employees take their humanity to work everyday... their happiness, excitement, enthusiasm, and laughter—as well as their frustration, disappointment, anger, sadness, and worry. They bring all of themselves to work and this results in emotions at work.
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3 Ways to Lead with Emotional Intelligence & Heart

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3 Ways to Lead with Emotional Intelligence & Heart

Emotional intelligence is at the core of great leadership. Exceptional leaders lead emotionally and from the heart.

Consider that very rarely, if ever, do employees cite technical skills and abilities as attributes of strong leaders. Instead, employees value leaders who listen to them, are available, involve them, make them feel like they belong, motivate and engage them, and make them feel valued and appreciated. All of these behaviors result from emotional intelligence.
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