Saturday, March 12, 2016

eqHR Solutions HR Tips:To Drug Test, or Not to Drug Test, that is the Question

Although drug testing of employees is allowed in California, it may be justified only in very limited and strictly defined circumstances.

Pre-employment Testing- In California an employer may require a drug test as a condition of employment after a job offer is given but before the employee goes on payroll.

Random Drug Testing - Employers in California cannot require employees to submit to random drug testing, except under certain narrowly defined circumstances. Consult legal counsel before you institute a policy of random drug testing.

Reasonable Suspicion Testing- Testing of employees after a serious accident is permissible in California; however, it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines to ensure fairness:

  • Follow the company drug testing policy to the letter. Make sure the procedures spell out when testing will occur, when employees will be terminated or allowed to return to work following positive test results, and the consequences of refusing to take a test. Remember to always apply the policy consistently to all employees.
  • Have testing decisions reviewed. To ensure decisions to drug test particular workers are thorough and consistent, it is best practice to have someone in senior management who is familiar with company policy and laws concerning drug testing review every decision before the testing takes place.
  • Document the justification for testing. Before testing an employee, carefully describe the reasons and the circumstances for the testing in detail. For example, if testing is based on suspicion that the person was impaired by drugs or alcohol, carefully document and specify the signs of intoxication that were observed.

As controversy over the acceptable use of drug testing continues, it’s more critical than ever to review and update your policies and procedures to make sure they pass legal muster.

Do you required HR guidance on this article or other Human Resources strategic or operational topics? Call eqHR today for a no obligation consultation.

Lauren Sims, a senior eqHR Solutions consultant, wrote this article

Thursday, March 10, 2016

eqHR Solutions Business Tips: New Pregnancy Disability Leave Notice Must be Posted by April1

If you have at least 5 employees, be aware that amendments to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) regulations have been approved and will take effect on April 1, 2016. Employers will be required to post a new Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) notice.

The amendments to regulations include changes to the PDL poster, “Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee”, as well as clarifications of the pregnancy disability leave requirements.
California’s pregnancy disability leave laws apply to any employer with five or more full-time or part-time employees and to all California public sector employers.
Covered employers are required to post a specific notice to employees explaining their rights and obligations regarding pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.  The notice includes information about:
  • An employee’s right to request reasonable accommodation, transfer or pregnancy disability leave.
  • An employee’s obligations to provide adequate advance notice.
  • The employer’s requirement, if any, that the employee provide medical certification of the need for pregnancy disability leave, reasonable accommodation or transfer.

The revised notice will be required for covered California employers beginning April 1, 2016.

Other items covered in the amendment include:
  • Further definition of who is considered an “employee”
  • For the purposes of determining whether an employer meets the minimum 5 employees requirement, employees do not have to be working in CA to count toward the 5 employee number
  • Also when determining whether an employer meets the minimum 5 employees requirement, employees on leave of absence, CFRA leave, disciplinary or other leave are counted
  • “Eligible female employee” includes a transgender employee who is disabled by pregnancy
  • Employees are eligible for up to four months of leave per pregnancy, not per year
  • Employers shall post and keep posted the appropriate notice on its premises, in conspicuous places where employees are employed. The notice shall explain the Act's provisions and provide information about how to contact the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to file a complaint and learn more about rights and obligations under the Act
  • The poster and the text must be large enough to be easily read and contain fully legible text.
  • Electronic posting is sufficient to meet this posting requirement as long as it is posted electronically in a conspicuous place or places where employees would tend to view it in the workplace

For more information, visit the Department of FairEmployment and Housing website or call eqHR Solutions for advice.

This article was written by Lauren Sims, a senior eqHR Solutions consultant

Help us weclome a new client, TechWadi

TechWadi is the leading non-profit (501c3) organization building bridges between Silicon Valley and the MENA region.

In Silicon Valley, TechWadi brings together technology movers and shakers through conferences, networking events, workshops, and mentorship programs. In the MENA region, TechWadi works with leading regional and international organizations to empower high impact entrepreneurs and help build a sustainable infrastructure to help entrepreneurship thrive and succeed.

TechWadi retained eqHR Solutions to provide professional Human Resources support & guidance for a hostile employee relations issue and to provide ongoing HR support as required.  

Help us welcome a new client, SCI of Architecture

eqHR Solutions was retained by the Southern California Institute of Architecture to develop a custom Federal and California compliant Employee Handbook for their employees and a separate Faculty Employee Handbook

SCI-Arc’s mission is to reimagine the very edges of architecture, educating architects to engage, speculate, and innovate and  to:
  • Examine everything about the built environment, from design and materials to culture and experience
  •  To ask provocative questions that provoke new thinking and prompt new theoretical constructs
  •  To be international leaders in creating the future of architecture
  • To create designs that change how people interact with each other and their environment.

State and Federal employment rules change often, which is why we recommend you contact eqHR Solutions to develop or update your employee handbook every two years.

eqHR Solutions welcomes JDC Food Service

JDC Food Service retained eqHR Solutions to provide (ACA) Affordable Care Act assistance with their ACA data entry, validation and creating audit reports.

JDC Food Service is a Jack-In-The-Box franchisee located in Tustin, CA that was established in 1979 and has annual revenue of 1 to 2.5 million

eqHR Welcomes Hitchcock Automotive Resources

Hitchcock Automotive Resources was established in 1980 by Frederick "Fritz" Hitchcock and now owns about a half a dozen automotive dealerships and the Puente Hills Body Shop. 

All dealerships are located in the Los Angeles area and sells new and used cars made by BMW and Toyota, including Scion brand vehicles.

We provided three (3) days of on-site staff training for their ADP WorkForce Now payroll software.

eqHR Solutions is a preferred ADP training vendor for ADP Payroll and HR products.

eqHR Solutions Welcome Great Scott Tree Sevice

Great Scott Tree Service retained eqHR Solutions to provide on-site ADP WorkForce Now training.  The service includes staff training, creating custom reporting and develop payroll desk procedures.

 Great Scott Tree Service has provided the highest quality tree maintenance since 1976.  Their staff includes Certified Arborist and Tree Workers certified by the International Society of Arborists (ISA). 

EqHR Solutions is a preferred training vendor for ADP payroll and HR products.  Call us whenever you require on-site training for your ADP products.

eqHR Solutions Business Tips: Consistency is Key When Terminating an Employee:

Whether it’s a termination, constructive discharge, layoff, or forced resignation, ending an employment relationship can be tricky and you should navigate carefully and make sure you are properly prepared.

Knowing when to terminate an employee is just as important as knowing how to terminate an employee. Even though most employment relationships are “at-will,” meaning you can terminate the employee at any time, what you say and do during the employment relationship can expressively impact how you handle employees before terminating them.
It’s important to remember that any discipline including termination must be applied consistently among all employees. For example, if you suspend employee A for misconduct but terminate employee B for engaging in the same misconduct, you may find yourself in a difficult position.

Inconsistent termination practices are difficult to justify and an employee may try to argue that he or she received more severe discipline due to a protected characteristic such as race or gender. In a lawsuit, employee B can easily suggest that his dismissal must have been for some illegal reason rather than for his misconduct. While you can attempt to offer an explanation for the inconsistent treatment, it will be difficult to prove, especially if you do not have proper documentation.

In addition to maintaining consistent termination practices, you should ensure that you keep a written record of all discipline. Even if the employee only receives a verbal warning, there should be some note in their personnel file.

Written records make it easier to show a jury or judge how you advised employees that their conduct was unacceptable and gave them another chance. It’s difficult to later argue that you based your termination on the employee’s conduct when there’s no record that you ever disciplined the employee for the issue.

You should look at every termination decision you make from all angles and determine whether it could be misconstrued to support an employee’s claim.

If you have a potential hostile termination and are concerned with a wrongful termination claim, call us or your HR professional to discuss.

This article was written by Lauren Sims, an eqHR Solutions senior consultant.

Welcome our New Client - Geocent

Geocent is a leading technology company sought after by clients, employees and partners for consistently delivering the right solution has contracted with eqHR Solutions to provide a custom, multi-state compliant employee handbook and annual updates.

Geocent provides innovative software engineering, data center and core infrastructure, technology consulting, engineering, and scientific support to commercial, aerospace, defense, maritime, financial, healthcare, energy, and federal, state, and local government customers. Geocent is headquartered in Metairie, LA, and has offices in Charleston, SC; Huntsville, AL; Stennis Space Center, MS; New Orleans, LA; Baton Rouge, LA; and Dallas, TX.

Welcome a new client - easyKlean

Please help us welcome a new client, easyKlean, who recently retained eqHR Solutions to provide multiple HR services.

easyklean was founded in England and now offers franchise opportunities in CA.  It provides a professional and reliable commercial cleaning service whether your business need a one off emergency clean or daily site cleaning. They take great pride in making sure they meet your expectations.

Our HR services include a custom California and federally compliant employee handbook in English and Spanish; multiple custom policies & checklist that include handling New Hires, correct method for Discipline and Terminating.  In addition, we will provide ongoing employee relations support and act as a liaison with the client’s 401k broker.

Whenever you require professional HR guidance or ADP product training, please call eqHR Solutions for a no obligation consultation.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Welcome our New Client - SW Forage

We are pleased to introduce a new client, SW Forage, a commerical, year round, hay bailing and transportation company headquartered in Washington State.

SW Forage opened their new Hesperia, CA location in November and quickly determined the California employment and payroll requirements are substantially more restrictive from Washington State. The local general manager call us for HR help.

Our HR services include:
  1. HR Compliance/Policies and Procedures
    • Conduct HR Needs Assessment
    • Develop a California & Federal Compliant Handbook for <49 employees
      • Vetted by leading CA employment law firm
    • Establish core California Compliant Human Resources policies:
      • e.g., Hiring, disciplinary and termination policy
  2. Payroll Compliance for California
    • Review Current process / reporting
    • Communicate with parent company of specific California requirements
  3. Ongoing HR Support (optional):
    • Phone / Email and On-site visits on an as needed basis
      • Employee relations support, assist in counseling employees, coaching management, termination, unemployment hearings, etc.
      • General Q&A

If you require assistance with your human resouces or payroll compliance, contact us today for an no obligaton consultation

eqHR Solutions Business Tips: Be Careful What you ask Applicants about Their Criminal Records

Your company could be hit with big damages for asking illegal questions about an applicant’s criminal record.

Although it is permitted to ask about most convictions, employers can get into trouble under anti-discrimination laws if they have a policy of automatically denying employment to anyone ever convicted of a crime. This policy could have the effect of eliminating applicants from protected groups that in some instances may have statistically higher conviction rates.

Employers must never treat people with similar criminal records differently because of their race, national origin, or another Title VII protected characteristic (which includes color, sex, and religion).

Title VII also prohibits employers from using policies or practices that screen individuals based on criminal history information if:
  • They significantly disadvantage Title VII-protected individuals such as African Americans and Hispanics; AND
  • They do not help the employer accurately decide if the person is likely to be a responsible, reliable, or safe employee.

Rather than having a blanket no-hire policy, consider whether a direct relationship exists between the person’s offense and the responsibilities of the job.

The fact that an individual was arrested is not proof that he or she engaged in criminal conduct. 

Therefore, an individual's arrest record standing alone may not be used by an employer to take a negative employment action (e.g., not hiring, firing or suspending an applicant or employee).

However, an arrest may trigger an inquiry into whether the conduct underlying the arrest justifies such action.

In contrast, a conviction record will usually be sufficient to demonstrate that a person engaged in particular criminal conduct. In certain circumstances, however, there may be reasons for an employer not to rely on the conviction record alone when making an employment decision.

What you can Ask

  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime? (Exclude convictions for marijuana-related offenses more than two years old; and convictions that have been sealed, expunged or legally eradicated)
  • Briefly describe the nature of the crime(s), the date and place of conviction and the legal disposition of the case.

Note that the company should not deny employment to any applicant solely because the person has been convicted of a crime. The company should always consider the nature, date and circumstances of the offense as well as whether the offense is relevant to the duties of the position applied for.

What you can’t Ask

Here are some questions you should avoid:
  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • What is in your arrest record?

Employers should tread carefully whenever making employment decisions based on criminal background information.

For more guidance on this or other HR topics, call eqHR Solutions today!

This article was written by Laurn Sims, a senior eqHR HR consultant

New Client - A-Z Bus Sales - ADP Product Training

We are pleased to announce a new client, A-Z Bus Sales.  Our services include a one-day, ADP Product Training on the topics of Custom Reporting and Performance Review / Goal Management with optional follow up product training.

A-Z Bus Sales has been a leader in the business for over 20 years, selling all types of buses, providing excellent service and an extensive part department.

A-Z Bus Sales is dedicated to providing the customer with the best possible value and meeting every need.

eqHR Solutions is a preferred, on-site product training vendor for all ADP Products.  Please call us to fulfill your next ADP training requirements. 

eqHR Solutions Business Tips: Do you understand California's Standby or On-Call Work Pay Rules?

A recent California Supreme Court decision could affect how many employers are scheduling and paying for on-call or “standby” time.

Many California employers require their employees to perform standby or on-call work, where they are required to be available to perform work if needed.

Non-exempt employees must be paid for standby time when the time is “controlled” rather than “uncontrolled.” Whether the standby time is controlled depends on the situation.

Controlled Standby Time

Controlled standby means that an employee is required to remain on call on either the employer’s premises, or so close to it that the employee cannot use the time for their own purpose.

For example, an IT employee must remain available for 2 hours every Saturday morning and answer all calls and emails within five minutes of receiving them. Controlled standby time must be added to regular time worked to determine if overtime compensation is due. 

Controlled standby time may be compensated at a different rate than is paid for other work by the same employee, so long as the employee is paid at least minimum wage.

Uncontrolled Standby Time 

Uncontrolled standby generally means that an employee is not required to remain on the employer’s premises, and is merely required to carry a cell phone or pager.

Uncontrolled standby time may be spent for the employee’s own purposes. An employer may require that an employee on uncontrolled standby must remain no further away from the employer’s business than a twenty-minute response time.

Employees on uncontrolled standby time need only be paid for the actual hours they work. For example, for the time they spend taking work related calls, or if they have to be called back in to the office to perform work. They do not need to be paid for any of time they are waiting and able to do other things.

The California Department of Labor Standards (DLSE) considers the following standards to determine if on call time is compensable:

  1. Geographical restrictions on the employees' movements;
  2. The required response time;
  3. The nature of the employment;
  4. The extent the employer's policy impacts personal activities during on call time.

Recently, the California Supreme Court ruled that employees who were required to stay at a worksite while on standby should be compensated for all their hours, including sleep time.

In the decision, the state’s highest court determined that security guards, who were obligated to stay in trailers on worksites in case they were needed, were entitled to be paid for all their time, even if they spent it watching TV, scouring the Internet or dozing.

This case could have potential impact for other professions, such as live-in domestic workers, agricultural employees and private contractors who patrol parks, fight fires or clean up after environmental disasters.

We recommend employers should review their policies and procedures on how they are compensating employees who are on standby to ensure they are not at risk for potential lawsuits or settlements for unpaid wages.

Need assistance reviewing your policies on standby workers? Call eqHR solutions today!

This article was written by Lauren Sims, a senior eqHR consultant.

Sexaul Harassment / Bully Prevention - Albert Grover & Associates

We are pleased to announce that Albert Grover & Associates selected eqHR Solutions to provide their state mandated Sexual Harassment / Bully Prevention training (AB1825 & AB2053). Like many companies, they understand the value of live, interactive training for these important topics.

Headquartered in Orange County, California, Albert Grover & Associates (AGA) is the recognized leader in meeting the engineering needs of one of the nation’s most challenging transportation venues. They offer a broad range of engineering services to private and public sector clients throughout California and beyond. AGA keeps traffic moving!

Details of our sexual harassment & bully prevention training can be reviewed at: Please call us today for pricing and scheduling.

85c Bakery - ADP Payroll Workforce Now Training

We are pleased to announce 85c Bakery as a new client. Our services include a one-day, ADP Workforce Now training class at the client’s location, with additional training as required.

The ADP WorkForce Now training modules include Performance Management, Training Tracking and Custom Reporting.

85c Bakery first opened in 2004 and now has over 400 stores in the US, China and Australia and Hong Kong.  Its name is based the belief that coffee holds its flavor best at a steady 85 degrees Celsius.

eqHR Solutions is a preferred, on-site product training vendor for all ADP Products.  Please call us to fulfill your next ADP training requirements.