Managing FMLA: 6 Legal Risks Many Employers Face

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Managing FMLA: 6 Legal Risks Many Employers Face

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one of the most complex employment laws with which employers must stay in compliance. Employers face a number of legal risks when managing FMLA ranging from determining eligibility to disciplining an employee on leave. Here are 6 common legal risks many employers face with FMLA that you need to know.

1. Recognizing when leave needs to be covered by FMLA

The need for FMLA leave in the workplace can go unrecognized by supervisors and create potential liability.

For example, in a 2013 case, an employee called her supervisor to inform them that she could not report to work, and the following day reported that she was seeking treatment at a mental health center. She provided her employer with a doctor's note which stated that she was being treated for depression. She was eventually terminated after she had asked for extensions of her leave of absence, and when she could not return to work. The court found that the employer interfered with her FMLA rights when it did not provide her with an FMLA certification form nor a notice of her FMLA rights.
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Employers Struggle Most with Tracking FMLA

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Organizations could cite a countless number of reasons that they find FMLA administration challenging, but according to a 2013 ERC survey, top among these reasons is “tracking”. According to the 2013 ERC FMLA Practices Survey, “tracking” is the number one challenge for 40% of the participants, up 12% since the survey was last published in 2011. Other somewhat less common challenges include overall compliance (23%), determining overall costs associated with FMLA absences (17%) and determining what constitutes a serious health condition (12%).

Variable Administration Practices

Given the difficulties employers face with tracking FMLA, the fact that their methods for doing so continue to vary from organization to organization is largely unsurprising. For example, over half of the respondents (56%) reported using a rolling 12 month period measured forward, but nearly one-third use a rolling 12 month period measured backward and 10% us a calendar method.
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Sneak Preview: The New myERC

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myERC, the members-only online resource for ERC members, will be getting some tremendous new upgrades and features that greatly enhance your ability to connect with ERC, other members, and the critical information you need.

Enhanced Mobile Accessibility

You’ll be able to easily access all the tools and information in myERC from the convenience of any mobile device.


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Payroll Cards Facing Legal Scrutiny

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In 2013, New York’s Attorney General began investigating companies that pay hourly employees using prepaid payroll cards, with the concern that fees associated with pay card withdrawals may be insufficiently disclosed or excessive, and that the cards may decrease employees’ take-home pay which may, in some cases, result in pay below the minimum wage.

There was also concern that these cards may not comply with state laws governing printed payroll statements and written consent for using the cards; federal law which prohibits mandatory use of prepaid payroll cards as a condition of employment; and collective bargaining agreements.
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“You Didn’t Get the Job.” 4 Tips for Communicating with Applicants

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“You Didn’t Get the Job” - 4 Tips for Communicating with Applicants

“You didn’t get the job.” No employer wants to communicate this news to applicants, but communication about whether or not a candidate “got the job” is an important part of the hiring process.

Making a good hire partly requires an individual having a good candidate experience in your hiring process. Candidates are as much evaluating your workplace as you are evaluating them, and without a positive experience, you run the risk of losing strong candidates. Effective communication with job applicants is one of the most important predictors of whether or not applicants have a good experience.

Unfortunately, candidate communication is an area needing improvement among many employers. Too often, organizations leave applicants wondering whether or not they made it to the next phase of the hiring process or if they got the job.
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Most Popular Ways to Communicate Hiring Decisions

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Throughout the recruiting and hiring process the potential employer and the job candidates engage in an ongoing series of communications back and forth through an increasingly diverse list of channels.

From phone call screenings and video interviews to applicant tracking systems and emails, this series of communications is ultimately leading up to one of two final pieces of communication- either a job offer or a rejection. What to say, write or do to communicate a hiring decision is certainly challenging for many organizations, but how the communication is handled can be equally challenging and important to consider.

Drawing from data reported in the 2013 ERC Hiring Trends & Practices Survey, the figure below illustrates the various communication methods organizations in Northeast Ohio use to notify job candidates of a hiring decision.

Figure 1 | Communication methods used to notify job candidates of a hiring decision


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Sue Bailey Joins ERC’s HR Consulting Practice

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ERC is pleased to announce that Sue Bailey has joined ERC’s HR Consulting Practice as a Senior Consultant, Compensation & Benefits. In this role, Sue will be assisting organizations with compensation, benefits and other Human Resource projects including:

  • Executive compensation & benefits strategy development, solution design & implementation
  • Total Rewards strategy, gap analysis, prioritization, solution design and implementation
  • Sales and management incentive plan design that drives business plan objectives
  • Health care and retirement plan analysis and consulting
  • Benefit plan outsourcing solutions
  • Equity plan design (stock options, restricted shares, etc.)
  • Compensation committee presentations, solution design, board studies
  • HR systems and shared services analysis and design

Prior to joining ERC, Sue was the Founder and President of HR Works, LLC, a compensation, benefits and HR consulting firm specializing in all areas of total rewards. Sue also held senior level Compensation and Benefits positions at Education Management Corporation, American Greetings, Agilysys, KeyCorp and Sherwin Williams.

Sue has a deep foundation and working knowledge in compensation, benefits and human resources developed from over 25 years of HR experience and her leadership roles in a number of large corporations in the consumer products, e-commerce, education, distribution, financial service, manufacturing and retail industries. She gained her experience through hands-on-work conducting analysis and program design, and providing project management leadership and implementation expertise.

Sue earned her Masters Degree in Human Resources from State University of New York at Buffalo, and a BA in Business Administration, Sociology and Labor Relations from State University of New York at Fredonia.

To contact Sue, please email sbailey@yourERC.com or call 440-947-1293.

Behavioral Interviewing: 7 Tips for Hiring Superstars

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Behavioral Interviewing: 7 Tips for Hiring Superstars

Does your organization want to hire superstars and top performers? Behavioral-based interviewing is one of the most effective interviewing techniques and is the chosen form of interviewing by most employers to hire and select top performers. Time and time again, employers tell us that behavioral interviewing practices help them select top people for the job.

Behavioral interviewing involves evaluating how a candidate acted in specific situations in the past. The underlying assumption of behavioral interviewing is that past performance and behavior predicts future performance and behavior. Unlike other types of interviews, behavioral interviewing is generally more successful in evaluating a candidate and predicting how they might perform in the role for which they are applying.
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50 Sample Interviewing Questions for Employers

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50 Sample Interview Questions for Employers examples of behavioral interview questions interviewing questions for employers

When conducting interviews, it's helpful to not only develop standard interview questions unique and specific to each position's requirements, but also to compile a bank of questions for critical competencies common to many jobs that you can choose from for your interviews.

Such competencies include a number of soft and analytical skills including critical thinking, judgment, decision-making, initiative, risk taking, creativity, diligence, resilience, communication, conflict management, time management, supervision, among others. Many of these are relevant to a number of jobs.

We've compiled a list of 50 common interview questions, mostly behavioral in nature, which you can use to interview your job candidates.

  1. Tell me about a time when you were creative in solving a problem.
  2. Give me an example of a time when you found an innovative or a new and better way of doing something on the job.
  3. Describe an idea that came to fruition because of your efforts. What was your role? What was the outcome?
  4. What is the biggest risk you've ever taken at work? What happened?
  5. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
  6. Give me an example of a time when you used good judgment when solving a problem.
  7. Give me an example of a difficult decision you had to make at work in the last year.
  8. Give an example of a time when you had to make a decision or come to consensus in collaboration with others.
  9. Tell me about a time when you had to make an unpopular decision. What was the outcome?
  10. Describe a problem at work that you were unable to solve. Why couldn’t you solve it?
  11. Explain a situation in which you needed to successfully convince or influence someone to accept your viewpoint.
  12. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a coworker.
  13. Discuss a situation in which you had to work with a frustrating coworker and how you worked with them.
  14. Tell me about a time when you dealt with a difficult team member on a project or task.
  15. Describe a negotiation you were involved with. What did you do and what were the results for you and the other party?
  16. Explain a time when you had to motivate others to achieve certain results. What did you do?
  17. Give me an example of a time when you had to change your behavior or work style to effectively work with others.
  18. Describe a situation when you had to change your style or actions to respond to someone else's needs.
  19. Tell me about a crisis that you had to handle at work. How did you respond to the crisis?
  20. Describe a time when you had to communicate sensitive information to others. How did you communicate this information?
  21. Explain a time when you had to adjust to a change over which you did not have control.
  22. Discuss a time when you encountered a difficult obstacle that you had to overcome on the job. What steps did you take? What was the result?
  23. Tell me about a project that did not go as planned.
  24. Tell me about a work-related decision you made or a situation you handled where, if you could do it again, would do something different.
  25. Tell me about a time when you felt like giving up on a certain job or task.
  26. Describe a time when you encountered a stressful situation at work.
  27. Give me an example of when you made an unusually positive impression on a customer.
  28. Describe a time when you had to deal with an upset customer.
  29. Tell me about a specific project or task that you were involved with that resulted in improving something in your department and/or organization.
  30. Tell me about a time when you had to analyze information, identify issues, and develop a plan to solve a business problem.
  31. Describe a time when you had to present a plan or proposal to an authority figure and did it successfully.
  32. Tell me about a time when you compiled and/or wrote a report that was well-received. What attributes of the report led to the positive outcome?
  33. Give an example of a time when you had to analyze information and make a recommendation. How did you go about this? What were the results?
  34. Explain a time when you needed to step into a situation, create support, and achieve results.
  35. Tell me about task you did at work in which you had no experience. How did you address your inexperience?
  36. Describe a situation where you had to learn something new. What steps did you take?
  37. Describe how you have developed others in the past.
  38. Explain a time when you had to instruct or train someone on how to do a task. How did you go about this?
  39. Explain a situation when someone asked you for help outside of your job.
  40. Describe a situation when you had to coordinate or manage a project. What steps did you take to ensure that the project met its goals?
  41. Describe a task that you had to accomplish without any direction.
  42. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project or task effectively.
  43. Give me an example of a goal you set that you reached successfully.
  44. Tell me about a time when you exceeded your manager’s expectations.
  45. Give me an example of a time when you had to go above and beyond your usual duties to accomplish a task.
  46. Describe a time when you had to balance multiple conflicting priorities and did so effectively.
  47. Provide an example of a situation when you prioritized elements of a large project or initiative.
  48. Tell me about a time when you faced an unreasonable deadline and how you handled it.
  49. What work accomplishment are you most proud of?
  50. If I was to contact your previous manager, what would they say about you?

These sample interview questions can help you identify how a candidate would act in real life work situations based on how they have acted in the past on many general competencies. But be sure to supplement these with questions that evaluate specific competencies you are looking for and the essential skills you would like your ideal candidate to have. 

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Behavioral Interviewing Training

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The 20 Craziest Interview Questions We've Heard

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Some employers are taking interviewing to an entirely different level by asking job candidates creative, outside of the box, seemingly absurd, but effective and unique interview questions during the hiring process. The following are 20 of the craziest questions we’ve heard of that are asked in interviews at companies like Google, Marriott, Bain & Co., and Mastercard.

  1. If you were to get rid of one state in the U.S., which would it be and why? (Forrester Research)
  2. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus? (Google)
  3. Why are manhole covers round? (Google)
  4. How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building? (JetBlue)
  5. What do you think about when you are alone in your car? (Gallup)
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