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Is Your Company on the Human Resources Hot Seat?

Posted by Karen Choi on Jan 24, 2012 9:12:00 AM

Massachusetts companies often delegate human resources to the office manager, finance department or receptionist.  Some employers are just too small to hire a full-time HR manager. Others simply view HR as overhead.

HR HotseatBut in an age of complex regulation and unrelenting competition, running your business without an experienced HR manager is the equivalent of playing corporate Russian roulette. The companies that hire AIM professionals to serve as their HR managers tell us frequently that the world now moves too fast for them to run their businesses and simultaneously monitor changing employment laws and implement best management practices.

How do you know if you need an HR manager?

Associated Industries of Massachusetts has issued a new white paper Are Your on an HR Hot Seat?  that will help you take stock of where you sit. The white paper poses five common but challenging HR questions that your company will encounter during 2012.

If you can answer all of the questions without hesitation, congratulations. You know the basics. Get ready for the hard stuff.

If these questions leave you scratching your head, it may be time to rethink your HR strategy. Remember that any missteps may have significant financial and legal implications for your company.

Here are the questions. We invite you to download the white paperto check the answers.

1.  Which of the following statements describes requirements for an employment application in Massachusetts?

a.  All inquiries regarding an applicant’s criminal history should be removed from the employment application.

b.  Companies are prohibited from inquiring about a person’s health (past/present) on an employment application.  This includes questions concerning past absences, disabilities, workers compensation claims and non-work related illnesses or injuries.

c.  Massachusetts requires that all employment applications include specific language prohibiting the use of lie detector tests before or during employment.

d.  Due to Massachusetts Data Security Regulations, companies are required to remove social security number questions from an employment application.

e.  Job applications in Massachusetts must include a specific statement summarizing employer obligations pertaining to the acquisition and use of genetic information of applicants, employees, and family members.

f.  Employment applications must include language in the employment history section that invites applicants to list any verifiable volunteer work.

2.  Is a company allowed to employ “independent contractors” to perform work…

a.  that is seasonal in nature?

b.  to supplement existing staffing levels?

c.  in cases when a person prefers to be classified as an independent contractor rather than an employee?

d.  is temporary in nature?

3.  True or false: An employee may be classified as Exempt as long as he or she is paid on a salary basis?

4.  May an employer refuse to pay overtime to a non-exempt employee who works unauthorized overtime?

5.  Are employers required to keep completed I-9 forms in the employee personnel file?

AIM’s On-Site HR service allows Massachusetts companies to bring in an experienced human resource professional on a temporary, part-time or full-time basis. AIM HR practitioners are currently on the job in more than a dozen businesses, providing reliable services for companies too small to have a their own HR function; helping other companies bridge an employee leave or HR vacancy; or working with still others to set up an HR department.

Contact me at KChoi@aimnet.org for more information.

Topics: Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Human Resources

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