EEOC Harassment Guidance, I-9 Compliance, and more
Checklist Released by EEOC to End Workplace Harassment, Training Cited as Way to Combat
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a four part checklist to combat workplace harassment. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that the EEOC advises employers to create an easy to understand harassment policy, foster a supportive environment where employees can feel safe reporting harassment, and deliver compliance training by “live and interactive trainers”.
The EEOC has stated that “combatting systemic harassment is one of the agency’s main priorities in its current Strategic Enforcement Plan”.
Beware of Risks Associated with Engaging Freelancers and Contractors
The shift towards a more flexible workforce has driven an increase in the use of freelancers and independent contractors instead of traditional full-time employee hiring. Bloomberg BNA reports that more than 55 percent of businesses will hire a freelancer this year, and while this type of labor can be beneficial to businesses, there are also compliance risks tied to the misclassification of workers.
Salary History Bans Continue to Expand
In an effort to limit pay inequities, many cities and sates have passed legislation barring employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories. Human Resources Executive Online reports that supporters of these bans “say pay inequality starts when women and minorities are given lower starting salaries upon entering the workforce, which is then compounded when they are forced to state their salary histories when applying for a new job”. While Massachusetts and New York are the only states currently prohibiting salary history questions by employers, Washington, New Jersey, Virginia, and California are all considering the ban, and Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New Orleans have this legislation already in place at the city level.
4 Day Workweeks Can Be Hazardous to Employee Health
While four-day workweeks have been used as a employee flexibility benefit, many experts say that compressing an entire workweek consisting of 40-50 hours into just four days can lead to health risks. CBS News reports that issues tend to arise when too many hours are worked per day, and that those who work more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period are more prone to workplace accidents, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. While many think that a three-day weekend will make up for the increased workload during the four-day work period, CBS News reports that this is not the case.
The Importance of Reviewing I-9’s and Employment Authorization Procedures
Due to the increased scrutiny on immigration compliance by federal agencies, it is imperative that all I-9 documentation is completed in full. Employers should also confirm that they are using the new Form I-9.
H-1B Petition Processing Suspended
Effective April 3rd, the processing of H-1B petitions will be put on hold, a suspension that is expected to last up to six months. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCSIS) has announced that “the temporary suspension will apply to all H-1B applications filed on or after April 3, 2017”. It will not apply to non-immigrant classifications “filed using Form i-129”. Employers should monitor this suspensions to see how it may affect recruitment efforts and employees travelling on expired visas.
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