Effective training is a centerpiece of legal and regulatory compliance. It also provides valuable tools to management and usually improves the quality of the workplace. Some of the key areas are as follows:
- Wage-and-Hour Compliance—Properly classifying employees as exempt or non-exempt, maintaining adequate timekeeping systems and properly calculating pay all seem like they should be easy to do, but wage and hour class and collective actions continue to be a plague. Getting classification right and having the right timekeeping and payment systems in place is only half the battle. Staying out of the cross-hairs also depends on giving supervisors and human resources personnel the knowledge and tools to effectively and consistently implement those systems. This training focuses on identifying and educating on the practical, everyday wage-and-hour pitfalls and equipping supervisors to avoid them.
- Union Avoidance/Positive Employee Relations—Most employers who do not have unions want to keep it that way. The most significant factor in whether a company becomes a target of unionization, and whether the union gets in the door, is how rank and file employees feel about their supervisors. This training equips these supervisors on not only how to recognize the early signs that a union may be focusing on a company, but also on how to manage so that the employees they are supervising will be unreceptive to any message a union throws at them.
- Positive Labor Relations—Employers that have unionized workforces face a special challenge of managing the union relationship so as to remain competitive. The costs of adversarial labor relations is very high. The price of labor peace can also be very high if it can only be achieved at the collective bargaining table. The path between these pitfalls depends on excellent workforce management. This training equips managers and supervisors with the skills required to effectively manage a union workforce, and the relationship with the union, in a way to achieve the kind of positive labor relations that allows a unionized company to not only remain competitive, but even to gain competitive advantage.
- Affirmative Action Compliance—The landscape has changed drastically for federal government contractors since 2009. An energized OFCCP has made it clear that long gone are the years when it was good enough to annually generate off the shelf plans while paying lip service to compliance. OFCCP is aggressively enforcing technical compliance while fervently pursuing class action liability, and even debarment, against contractors who have ignored adverse impact found in their selection and compensation data. Years of neglect have left many contractors without human resources or management personnel who have any real understanding of how to maintain an effective, compliant affirmative action program. This training ranges from sessions covering the most basic introduction to affirmative action to nuts and bolts workshops teaching managers and human resources personnel on how to appropriately design and support a fully compliant affirmative action program.
- Harassment, Sensitivity and Respecting Diversity—The need for periodic training to reinforce policies prohibiting harassment and discrimination has been part of the legal landscape since the 1990s. Most companies use some form of prepackaged training. What many don't realize is that such training must not only be conducted, it must be judged by the EEOC or a court of law to be "effective" for an employer to get credit for it if there is a charge or a lawsuit. In addition, some states, including Illinois, have their own separate requirements which are not generally covered by prepackaged training products. In fact, the wrong training may actually contribute to legal liability in some places. This harassment, sensitivity and diversity training will not only be not only efficient and effective, but will also be tailored to the company, industry and location of the workplace.
- Performance Management—Businesses with effective managers and supervisors are businesses with happy, productive employees. Yet more often than not, managers and supervisors are simply promoted from among the best, brightest or most loyal or motivated rank and file employees. While the intention for such people to lead by example is sound, such potential is frequently unrealized because these otherwise excellent employees often have no training in how to effectively manage others, and how to stay on the right side of the law in doing so. This training focuses on providing managers and supervisors with critical skills important to managing performance, appropriate enforcement of work rules and policies and the tools to become effective, respected managers of people.
- Leaves, Injuries and Disabilities—None of the employment laws have changed more in the past ten years than the laws relating to leaves and disabilities. Whether due to workplace injury or personal illness or condition, all kinds of situations affect employees' abilities to perform the job, or even to be present at the job, at any given time. Dealing with these situations properly is critical, not only to good management of people, but also to avoiding sticky and costly lawsuits that may be brought under ADAAA, the FMLA, USERRA, workers compensation laws and many other laws that have sprung up at the state and local level. The first key to properly dealing with these situations is recognizing them for what they are in the first place. The second is being able to piece together, in any given situation, how and which of these various laws is implicated, how the laws work together and what to do. This training equips managers and human resources personnel to do both.
- Dealing with Dangerous or Abusive Employees—Dangerous or abusive employees can present sticky workplace problems. Such employees disrupt productivity both by what they do and/or how they act as well as by the perceptions and fears they stir up in coworkers who feel that their presence compromises safety or creates a dangerous or hostile workenvironment. Unfortunately, however, the great recent expansion of the Americans With Disabilities Act now affords many such employees protection as individuals with mental or emotional disabilities. Protecting the workplace while avoiding ADA claims can be a difficult course to navigate, but it can always be done. This training provides managers and human resources personnel with the tools necessary to thread this needle.
- Documenting to Win Unemployment—It can seem sometimes like the odds are stacked against employers when it comes to unemployment. It seems that way because it is generally true. The standards for denying unemployment are usually very strict and employee-friendly, and even when employers win with a particular Hearing Officer, such favorable decisions are often reversed. In addition, while procedures at the lower level hearings are often relatively loose, an employer's ability to effectively appeal a case that should be denied is often blown when the employer fails to get the right evidence in the record. But who has the resources to pay a lawyer for every unemployment hearing? This training teaches managers and human resources personnel how to document to win unemployment, and what documentation it is critical to get into the hearing record to set the stage for victory.
This article is for general information and does not include full legal analysis of the matters presented. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The description of the results of any specific case or transaction contained herein does not mean or suggest that similar results can or could be obtained in any other matter. Each legal matter should be considered to be unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the authors or attorneys in our firm is not a solicitation to provide professional services and should not be construed as a statement as to any availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which such attorney is not permitted to practice.
Duane Morris LLP, a full-service law firm with more than 700 attorneys in 24 offices in the United States and internationally, offers innovative solutions to the legal and business challenges presented by today's evolving global markets. Duane Morris LLP, a full-service law firm with more than 700 attorneys in 24 offices in the United States and internationally, offers innovative solutions to the legal and business challenges presented by today's evolving global markets. The Duane Morris Institute provides training workshops for HR professionals, in-house counsel, benefits administrators and senior managers.