Welcome to a discussion of HR requirements and strategies for the small to mid-sized business.

You know that your employees are the key to your business success, but being an employer or being “the boss” can get complicated at times. Focusing on your business and your customers is the top priority. It can be a challenge to also make time to develop expertise in improving employee performance and reducing employer risk.

Through my consulting business, First Thing Tomorrow Human Resources Consultants, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside many gifted business leaders.

I welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to contact me at info@firstthingtomorrow.com.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

It’s Almost Summer – Got Interns?

With summer rapidly approaching, many businesses are considering taking on an intern or two for a few weeks or months. What may seem to be a worthy plan designed to provide practical work experience to a young person may, in fact, not be a true internship at all. Many of these businesses, despite having the best intentions, may create risk for themselves by providing internships which are not compliant with applicable law. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has established six specific criteria regarding the type of position which qualifies as a true internship. If the internship does not meet all six criteria, the individual may need to be treated as an employee rather than an intern with regard to pay and benefits. The impact of finding this out after the fact, either during or following the internship, could be substantial.

Establishing an internship program, when done correctly, can bring great long-term benefits to both the business and the intern. Be sure to review the applicable criteria or seek guidance prior to bringing on an intern.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training - Is your trainer qualified?

California Employers - Have you heard about California AB 1825? If you employ 50 or more employees, whether or not they are all in California, this law applies to you. Covered employers must provide very specific training on harassment prevention to their supervisors every two years.

Please also be aware that the law outlines who is qualified to teach this course. When AB 1825 became effective, many trainers and consultants began offering this training, however they may not, in fact, possess the qualifications required by law.

It is extremely important to inquire as to your trainer's qualifications relative to the law. You don't want to risk finding out too late that your training was not compliant with AB 1825.

Finally, to ALL California employers - please consider providing harassment and discrimination training to all of your employees. State law require all employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment at work. Providing the training to all, along with other factors, may go a long way toward providing you with an affirmative defense should any problems or complaints arise at a later date.