Podcast: Legal vs. Illegal Interview Questions

Rob, Scott, and Jason discuss legal vs. illegal interview questions; from laws that prohibit hiring discrimination to questions that you can and cannot ask. Plus, some recommendations on best practices for interview scenarios.

Employco also has an upcoming live webinar discussing “Legal Recruiting and Hiring” on June 21st. Register here: http://www.employco.com/blog/2018/06/06/webinar-june-2018/

Interview Questions

Contact us with any questions you may have, we’re here to help: hr@employco.com

Webinar: June 2018

Legal Recruiting and Hiring

Webinar, June 2018

Join us on Thursday, June 21 for a live, 30-minute webinar designed to provide you with information on the latest legal trends and requirements related to recruiting and hiring new employees.

The recruiting and hiring process is complicated enough without the additional burden of having to worry about potential legal concerns and discrimination claims. Several federal and state laws influence a company’s search, evaluation, and selection of new employees. To help avoid discrimination claims, information requested from the applicant should be directly related to the position he or she is interviewing for.

Registration is FREE for current Employco clients and first time participants (the cost is $249 otherwise).

Webinar Registration

California Says “No Medical Marijuana at Work”

Employment expert explains why groundbreaking bill was shot down, and what employees need to know

CaliforniaLast week, California made the decision to shelve a law which would have offered workplace protections to employees who are qualified to use medical marijuana. In part, the bill could have allowed these qualified users to be “under the influence” of medical marijuana at work, provided that they were not unduly impaired or having a negative impact on the company.

“Critics of California’s AB-2069 said that the bill was too broad and impinged on an employer’s ability to maintain a drug-free workplace,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment solutions expert. “This is an issue that is only growing in size and scope, as many states now allow marijuana use, either medically or recreationally or both. This has led to some very murky waters for employers, especially as some states prohibit the discrimination of employees with a medical marijuana card, while other states do not.”

So, what should an employer do to navigate this issue?

First, Wilson advises employers to get familiar with their state’s specific legislation. He also says, “If your employees are part of a collective bargaining unit, then it is likely that drug stipulations already exist, including specific limits for drug use. For example, in a recent case, an employee was found to be under the influence while on the job, but he claimed his medical marijuana card gave him permission to use while working. However, a drug test revealed that he was 10 times above his prescribed limit.”

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Should Employers Be Allowed to Ask About Your Salary History?

Employment expert explains why it’s illegal in many states to ask about past salary

Salary HistorySeveral cities and states have banned the infamous “salary history” question from the interview process, including California, Delaware, Massachusetts, New York City, New Orleans, and many more. But, why is this question being banned, and what do employers need to know in order to protect themselves?

“Part of the thinking behind banning the salary history question is that it will help to minimize the gender pay gap,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and Employment Trends Expert.

The belief is that inquiring about salary history can create a vicious cycle in which women are paid less presently and in the future, simply because they were paid less in the past. Concerned civil rights activists point to the fact that women are offered less when compared to similarly trained and educated males, even when these interviewees are coming right out of college.

“In other words, social justice activists want to reverse this trend by wiping that question off the interviewer’s docket,” says Wilson. “And, interviewees who lie or fudge their past earnings do so at their own peril: It is possible for employers to discover your salary history, as some employers ask for W-2 forms or pay stubs to confirm your compensation, or they might ask you to sign a form to permit them to ask your employer about your past earnings.”

Wilson says that people also say asking about salary history is unfair when it comes to employees who are moving from a city with a lower cost of living.

“For example, if a Chicago-based employer asks someone who lives in rural Indiana about their salary history, it could be seen as problematic because that employee is going to be faced with the high cost of city living although they are going to be receiving compensation based on their previous low cost of living,” says Wilson.

So, what should employers do?

  • Revise and review on a periodic basis.  It is always a good idea to review what each job title in your company earns elsewhere in the marketplace, regardless if the position is open or currently filled. “At a minimum, I recommend obtaining new salary survey data for each open position,” says Wilson. “This provides the current market rate for the position and what the employer can expect to pay for average vs all-star talent.”
  • Be transparent about salary whenever possible. “If you’re going to pay within the market average, consider advertising the salary range to the candidates,” says the employment expert. “Demystifying what you intend to pay the chosen candidate will help to foster an environment that is immune to criticism and charges of inequality.”
  • Get clear on candidates’ expectations. “Ask candidates early in the recruiting process for their compensation goals,” says Wilson. “Asking ‘What is your salary target?’ is an invaluable and simple question which is beneficial to both parties. In situations where candidates are looking for more than you feel they are worth, it will save everyone’s time if there is a significant discrepancy.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

The New Rules of Office Etiquette

H.R. expert reveals what employees need to know about their rights

AnnoyedA new survey of 2,000 employees has revealed that 100% of people say that their coworkers are annoying.  Simply put: We all have a coworker that gets on our last nerve. The most annoying behaviors in the workplace include: loudness, gossip, bathroom/eating habits, and email/meeting behavior.

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, and human resources expert, says, “It makes sense that loudness tops the list of most annoying behaviors, because many offices are now embracing an open-floor plan. As a result, it can be difficult to retreat from noise or find peace and quiet to do your work.”

Wilson also says that tech-based missteps also rate high on the list. “People who hit ‘reply all’ when it is not necessary to do so, or who send kissy-face emojis or use text speak in their emails (such as ‘LMK’ or ‘TTYL’) tend to get under other people’s skin,” he says. “It shows a lack of professionalism and an assumption of familiarity that can feel invasive.”

Another new issue that many employees are facing is related to allergens, such as a person who might have a sensitivity to certain fragrances, yet they are sitting close by a coworker who douses themselves in floral perfume every morning.

So, what are employees’ options if they find their coworker annoying?

“When it comes to a small matter such as an issue with a person’s speaking volume or if they have a habit of eating smelly tuna at their cubicle, the best thing to do is to approach the person one-on-one. Keep it light, and you can even be a bit self-deprecating,” says Wilson. “Mention that you have a health issue which makes your nose sensitive to fragrance and can even lead to serious migraines, or explain that you struggle to concentrate when music is playing.”

But, if the employee won’t compromise, you are going to need to speak to H.R., says Wilson. “If you have a suggestion box or an anonymous form, you could select this option if you are concerned with anonymity. Some offices now even have an online suggestion box where people can send in anonymous questions and comments to H.R., and these can be very invaluable. Human Resources can often easily find a solution, whether it’s moving your cubicle farther away from a loud-talking employee or instituting ‘quiet hours’ or allowing noise-canceling headphones.”

Ultimately, Wilson says, some annoying behavior from coworkers is unavoidable, but for the most part, employees can work together to create an enjoyable and pleasant environment for everyone.

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

What Illinois Employers Need to Know About New Required Retirement Plan

Chicago-based employment expert explains “Illinois Secure Choice”

Starting in May 2018, a new retirement plan called Illinois Secure Choice is being introduced in Illinois. For the first several months, this program will be voluntary, but beginning in November 2018, employers will be legally required to participate in this plan. However, many companies are still woefully uneducated or undereducated about this program.

“It is imperative that employers in Illinois become better acquainted with these changing retirement requirements,” says Rob Wilson, President of employment-solutions firm Employco USA, which is based in Chicago, IL and services a number of prestigious Illinois companies.  “This is especially true right now, as big changes are coming with the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program, which is a retirement savings plan that enables Illinois-based workers to save their own money through a regular payroll deduction.”

Here the employment expert outlines what Illinois employers need to know about Illinois Secure Choice:

  • Voluntary Pilot Phase. “After several delays, the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program is ready to launch its pilot phase in May 2018. Starting in May, employers that elect to voluntarily participate can begin to process employee payroll deductions and remit the funds to the retirement plan provider,” says Wilson.
  • Employer Requirement Phase. “Starting in November 2018, employers will be notified of their legal requirement to participate in the program. Employers in Illinois that have 25 or more employees, have been in operation for at least two years, and that don’t offer a qualified savings plan (e.g., a 401(k) plan) will be forced to automatically enroll their employees into Secure Choice,” says Wilson.

“Employees can opt-out at any time. Employers will be responsible for dispersing information packets (provided by Secure Choice) to each of their employees. Employers will also facilitate enrollment of employees into Secure Choice, set up the payroll deduction process, and remit employee contributions to the plan provider. Employers who do not comply with the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act may be subject to fines and penalties.”

Wilson concludes, “Instead of participating in Illinois Secure Choice, an employer can choose to offer an employer-sponsored plan, similar to ones that we have helped clients transition to. However, you need to move quickly in order to make sure you have your ducks in a row in time for these new deadlines.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Webinar: Employee Engagement

Jason Eisenhut, Vice President of Human Resources for Employco USA, recently joined Jim Wurm of the EACA (Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association) for a webinar on “Employee Engagement.”

Check out the recorded webcast to learn how this workplace approach can result in: all members of an organization giving their best each day, as well as remaining motivated to contribute to the company’s overall success and value.

Jim Fannin Show: The Constants in Life Determine Your Success

Rob was recently a guest on Jim Fannin’s weekly podcast, The Jim Fannin Show:

“Rob Wilson (President of Employco, USA) joins the show to talk about the essential constants that are a must in the hiring and firing process of every company. This interview provides valuable insights from a world-class expert that could save your company money by avoiding major blunders! If you are a leader in your company, don’t miss this segment.”

Read more and follow the link to listen below:

Can Teachers Be Punished for School Walk-Outs?

Employment/human resources expert talks freedom of speech in the workplace

ClassroomIn the wake of numerous school walk-outs across the country, many students as well as teachers are facing potential consequences for their decision to express their beliefs about the Second Amendment. This begs the question: How much free speech is truly allowed in the workplace, and can you get in trouble for expressing anger about gun control or our President or anything in between?

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and H.R. expert says, “In today’s acrimonious political climate, an employee’s right to free speech is a very important topic. Managers around the country need to become aware of what speech is legally protected in the workplace and what steps they should take to tighten up policies regarding political discourse in the office.”

Here, Wilson outlines what employers and employees need to know:

  • Employees’ rights are quite limited. Wilson says, “Unless you work for a state or federal employer, you do not have legal protections when it comes to expressing your views. Whether you are pro-Trump or pro-gun control, if you work for a private employer, you are not promised the right to share your views without impunity.”
  • Few states make it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their political affiliation. “Only a handful of states expressly state that employers are not allowed to discriminate based on an employee’s political views,” says Wilson. “And only two states make it illegal to discriminate against an employee’s ‘lawful conduct outside of work.’”

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