At times, employers are faced with the task of terminating an employee. Whether it is due to downsizing, a policy violation, or the employee simply was not a good fit, it is important that the employer has a documented record of employment events in order to defend against potential claims.
Employers should always consider what claims may be brought by the terminated employee. Is there any basis for a discrimination claim, under either federal or state law? Title VII protects race, color, religion, sex (which includes gender and pregnancy) and national origin. Harassment and retaliation based on any of those characteristics is also prohibited. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabilities, both physical and mental. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees against discrimination due to their age (over 40). Most states have similar laws that may extend these protections to additional classes. In addition, there are legal protections for employees who engage in union-related activities or other types of concerted action in the workplace.
As fall sets in, HR Partners wanted to provide a few updates regarding key human resources topics. Please read below on how to address the Federal Form I-9 and no-match letters.
Federal Form I-9
The federal government's Form I-9, used by HR departments across the country to verify workers' employment eligibility, is expiring on August 31, 2019.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to extend the current version of the form without changes, although minor clarifications will be made to the form's instructions. DHS has directed employers to continue using the current version of the form despite the expiration date until a revised version is available.
Following the first official tax season after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was enacted, the IRS has been exploring ways to assist taxpayers have a better tax year in 2020. That includes replacing the old Withholding Calculator with the new Tax Withholding Estimator.
The Tax Withholding Estimator assists taxpayers in completing the Form W-4 correctly to ensure the correct amount of tax is withheld from employees’ paychecks based upon their personal situations. The Tax Withholding Estimator is available at the link below:
As the new school year approaches, it is important to consider the hourly limitations of young employees as they transition back into their school schedules.
Both Federal and State laws govern the employment of young workers and when both are applicable, the law with the stricter standard must be obeyed. Employers should be aware of any discrepancies between the federal laws and the laws of the state(s) in which they are conducting business to remain compliant.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) establishes both hours and occupational standards for youth. Children of any age are generally permitted to work for businesses entirely owned by their parents, except those under age sixteen (16) may not be employed in mining or manufacturing and no one under the age of eighteen (18) may be employed in any occupation the Secretary of Labor has declared to be hazardous.
HR Partners frequently has inquiries regarding exempt employees and managing their schedules. See below for a few of the most common questions and answers.
Can an employer create a specified schedule for exempt employees?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) does not specifically prohibit employers from requiring exempt employees to work a particular schedule or to track the hours they work. The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has stated that employers may require exempt employees to work a specific schedule and to record and track hours without affecting their exempt status. 29 CFR Part 541. However, it is important to note that if you require exempt employees to work a certain number of hours and account for their work time on an hourly basis, you may jeopardize the exempt status of these employees if the accounting has the effect of treating them like hourly workers. This will likely create liability for overtime payment for the employer.