New Challenges for California Employers are Coming Soon

Oct 29, 2017
Starting January 1, 2018, employers in the state of California will face two new challenges, in a state that is already highly regulated in favor of the consumer.  Employers in other states may be impacted, too, so everyone should read this article.  The issues that will affect employers throughout the state starting the first of next year are: Employers will be prohibited from asking job applicants about their wage and salary history, and "Ban-the-Box" becomes the law for the entire state, i.e., employers will be forbidden to inquire or consider an applicant's criminal conviction history before the applicant receives a conditional employment offer. Wage and Salary History Inquiry Ban California Assembly Bill 168 was signed into law earlier this month, which added Section 432.3 to the California Labor Code.  In addition to inquiries into salary history being outlawed, employers generally will be barred from using an applicant's salary history as either a factor in the salary that is offered, or whether an employment offer is even made.  This law will affect all employers, regardless of size, both public and private. California is not alone on this issue.  Other states (ter…
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Best Practices to Safeguard Confidential Documents

Sep 25, 2017
With more of our sensitive personal information making its way online, it's never been more important to safeguard it. Hackers and identity thieves need surprisingly little to turn your world upside down, and the easier you make it for them to access these private details, the more likely they are to take advantage. We've assembled a list of best practices for both document security and online safety. Employing these strategies proactively can help ensure your organization doesn't find itself on the wrong end of a security breach, which could do harm not only to your business, but to your customers, as well. Don't leave sensitive information lying around. Documents like credit card statements and billing invoices, even if they redact some information, can still be used to obtain sensitive data via social engineering. Shred documents in a secure way. When you no longer need a document with confidential information on it, don't throw it away. Shred it. Keep shredded materials locked up and hire a company to securely transport them away or use a cross shredder to make sure they cannot be reconstructed. Use anti-virus software. Installing an anti-virus and an anti-malware soluti…
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The Limitations of References and Referrals

Aug 24, 2017
Have you ever played a "matchmaker" by introducing two people and it didn't quite work out as you envisioned it would? Don't feel badly... we all have. When this happens in business relationships, the consequences are much higher! It is very tempting for a business owner or manager to hire someone who was recommended by another employee, a friend, or family member. The enticement to 'take someone's word' goes beyond just hiring employees. We see vendors being selected just because they provided great references, tenants and residents approved based on a recommendation from a previous landlord, contracts signed with partners and franchisees after a couple of phone calls to associates, and country club membership applications approved based on another member's referral. As a matter of fact, on just about every application for any of the above-mentioned situations, there is a section for "references", as if knowing someone guarantees future conduct. Asking for references and accepting referrals are good practices. Making decisions based only on those without conducting thorough background checks can spell disaster. Consider the following: Does anyone ever provide a reference w…
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Discrimination Allowed with Employee Screening? Well, Sometimes.

Jul 23, 2017
Discrimination is allowed with employee screening.  This shocking statement may surprise you, especially those of you who are either human resources professionals or employment attorneys.  Those individuals familiar with Title VII (of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), know that it prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  They also know that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, forbids discrimination against individuals who are 40 years of age or older. Not to be left out, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has further stated that discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is covered by Title VII's protection against employment discrimination based upon sex.  Given all of the above, how can discrimination be permitted with employee screening? An employer is able to discriminate, i.e., differentiate employee screening processes based upon job classifications.  As long as all individuals within the same job classification are treated equally, it is permitted to have different employee screening procedures by job classification. For example, an employer might define job classes as ho…
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