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R. C. Rulka Human Resources Consulting

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Human Resources Compliance Audits

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Whether the HR Department is established or just starting up, a review of HR forms, policies, and procedures is a smart way to ensure legal compliance.  We can set up an HR Department for you, or perform an audit that will let you know where you are doing well and where you need to make some adjustments. If you need help with our recommendations, we will be happy to provide assistance as needed.

What We Do

The HR Audit will include a review of HR forms, hiring practices, I-9s, personnel and benefit files, the performance management system, and federal and state posting requirements.  If you need updated forms, we can provide them.

Many employers don’t realize the potential costs of failure to comply with legal requirements.

For example, did you know that:

  • Every “clerical” error on an I-9 can cost you $110, up to $1100 per I-9?
  • You can self-audit your I-9 forms and make needed corrections, but you cannot use white-out or scratch out entries? Sometimes it’s better to do a new I-9, but you have to retain the incorrect one.
  • If you have a group health plan (medical, and /or dental and/or vision) and you had 20 or more employees on more than 50 percent of your typical business days in the previous calendar year you  are subject to COBRA? Failure to comply with COBRA can cost you Excise tax penalties of $100 per day ($200 if more than one family member is affected) PLUS Statutory penalties of up to $110 per day under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  • If you conduct background checks, you are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements? The FCRA gives applicants and employees the right to sue businesses when they fail to comply with the FCRA’s requirements. Penalties for a business’ willful noncompliance with the FCRA can be either: 1) the actual damages suffered by the applicant or employee or 2) damages that may not be less than $100 and not more than $1,000 per violation. The applicant or employee will also be awarded reasonable attorney fees. Additionally, in severe cases, a court may choose to award punitive damages that have no set limit.
  • An incorrectly worded offer letter can lead to claims of “promised” employment and compensation?
  • Failure to obtain a resignation letter, even a very simple one, can lead to the employer paying unemployment to an employee who quit?
  • Failure to have the correct posters in place can lead to fines in the thousands of dollars?
  • Incorrectly worded “forms” that you created can lead to the exact opposite result of what you intended?

We can solve all these problems for you so that you can rest easy knowing that your business is in compliance with the law.

Review of HR Forms and Posting Requirements:

  • COBRA Continuation Forms
  • Disciplinary Action Forms
  • Employment Application
  • Employment eligibility verification Form- I-9 Form Immigration and Naturalization Service
  • Exit Interview Form
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act Forms
  • Offer Letters
  • Resignation Form
  • Reference Checking Release Form
  • Tax Forms:  W-4 Federal Income Tax Withholding Allowance/ Exemption Forms and State Form W-4- State Income Tax Withholding Allowance/ Exemption Form (where applicable)
  • Termination Form

Review of Hiring Practices

  • Job Posting policies and procedures
  • Advertising
  • Applicant Tracking (Mandatory for Affirmative Action Plans)
  • Interviewing and Selection Procedures
  • Decline Letters
  • Background Checking and FCRA compliance
  • Drug testing policies and procedures
  • Pre-employment testing
  • Application acceptance/retention polices

Review of I-9s

  • Verification of documents
  • Timely completion
  • Consistency with policies
  • Correct completion of the forms
  • Retention and destruction policies
  • Updating and re-verification

Review of Personnel Files

  • Proper separation of personnel files from benefit files
  • Correct forms in correct files
  • Retention policies
  • File security

Review of the Performance Management System

  • Periodic reviews in place
  • Employee input
  • Supervisor Training
  • Retention of appraisals
  • Uses of performance appraisals (compensation, promotion, training, etc.)
  • Disciplinary procedures

Review of Posting Requirements

  • Federal requirements
  • State requirements

Compensation Administration

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Compensation can be an administrative nightmare as well as a potential area for expensive lawsuits. We can help you design a fair and competitive pay plan.

We Can Provide

  • Up-to-date Wage and Salary Surveys, tailored by industry, SIC code, and recruitment area. Data is available by years of experience for hourly and lower level salary employees, and by company revenue for upper level management. Date is available in many market percentiles, allowing the employer to see where they fall in relation to comparable businesses.
  • Compensation System Design, including competitive base rates and incentives, comp-ratios, grading, and an analysis of problem areas with recommendations.
  • Equal Pay compliance: We can help you make sure your compensation plan is not favoring one group/person over another without proper documentation in place.
  • Wage and Hour compliance, including audits: Many employers have discovered that their overtime practices do not comply with the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act). This preventable error can be enormously expensive for the unwary employer.
  • Job Descriptions: Job Descriptions are the heart of any compensation plan. Done correctly, they are not only the primary tool for obtaining good matching salary data, but can also be a defense in the event of an ADA discrimination complaint. In addition to compensation uses, Job Descriptions are useful for:
    • Job postings and recruitment
    • Designing interview questions
    • Screening candidates
    • Training needs and training design
    • Performance Evaluations
    • Promotion decisions
    • Disciplinary actions
    • Terminations
    • Unemployment protests

Employee Relations Issues

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Most employers hate dealing with employee relations issues.  There is the conflict, the tension, the anger, the frustration, the time it takes, and the impact such issues have on employee morale and productivity. Unfortunately, employee relations issues rarely, if ever, get better when left alone.  They just get worse.

So, what do you do when an employee says they are being harassed or bullied at work? Or you have a poor performer and are uncertain of how to proceed? Did you “inherit” a problem? Do you have an employee who has had many chances but still doesn’t perform as needed? Is someone constantly “pushing your buttons?”  Or perhaps it’s an attendance issue.

Employee relations issues can be time-consuming and aggravating for all concerned. We have years of experience with the many aspects of :

  • Helping with EEO charges, including investigation and writing position statements
  • Internal investigations
  • Discipline issues
  • Performance Improvement Plans
  • Employee Termination Issues

Did You Know That

  • The main reason employees do not do what they are supposed to do is that they really do not know what they are supposed to do?
  • Supervisors can unwittingly create a “contract” of employment, thus defeating Employment-at-Will?
  • All conversations with an employee, which are disciplinary in nature or could lead to disciplinary action, need to be documented in writing?
  • In a court of law, if something is not documented, it did not happen?
  • A properly documented disciplinary action can defeat an unemployment claim?
  • Employment-at-Will is limited? Actions such as discrimination, violation of public policy and employment contracts override Employment- at-Will.

Employee Handbooks

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Is your employee handbook up to date?  Handbooks are not static documents. At a minimum, they should be reviewed and updated as needed at least once every 2 years. Laws change and new case law precedents are set frequently. Regulatory agencies such as the EEOC, Department of Labor, OFCCP, and NLRB hand down rulings every year that impact employers whether they are aware of them or not. In court, a well-written handbook can be your best friend; but a poorly written handbook can be a “smoking gun”! We can create a handbook for you, tailored to your particular needs.

  • Have you updated your handbook within the last 2 years?
  • Do you have the proper disclaimers in place?
  • Is the proper “Non-contract” language in place?
  • Have you established Employment-at-Will for your company?
  • Do you have the most recent, up-to-date language for your Harassment and Bullying policies?
  • Have you included a policy for reporting harassment and preventing retaliation?
  • Have all employees signed an acknowledgment of receipt for the handbook?
  • Have you included at least the following policies in your handbook?
    • Non-Contract Language
    • Employer right to change policies as needed
    • Definition of Employment Categories
    • How to handle reference requests
    • Confidentiality
    • Conflict of Interest Issues
    • Outside Employment
    • Pay Issues, such as pay frequency, pay day, the payroll week, timekeeping, direct deposit, payroll deductions, hours of work, and overtime
    • Attendance policy
    • Performance reviews
    • Medical Leave of Absence (non-FMLA)
    • FMLA (if 50 or more employees)
    • Worker’s Compensation Leave
    • Military Leave
    • Paid and Unpaid Time Off: Bereavement, Holiday Pay, Vacation, Sick Time, Personal Time. Voting time, Jury /Witness duty. Federal law does not require paid time off, but many state laws do. For example, in Arizona, all employers are required to have a Paid Sick Pay policy in place.
    • Data Systems Protection Policy, including reserving all rights to the employer
    • Social Networking
    • Dress Code
    • Workplace Violence
    • Workplace Safety
    • Right to Search
    • Drug Testing policy
    • Code of Conduct
    • Company Expectations
    • Disciplinary Policy