(Article) “Ban on pre-employment marijuana testing to impact HR policies nationwide, experts say”

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, was recently quoted in an article for amNewYork:

A new law that bans most private companies in New York City from testing job applicants for marijuana as part of the hiring process may have an impact that reaches far past city limits.

“You’re going to see changes in employment policies across the country because for a national company it becomes too hard to have different HR policies, and then you run into discrimination issues if you’re drug testing in New Jersey but not in New York,” said Rob Wilson, president of the human resources firm Employco. “The last thing you want is a national drug policy and you’re not on top of this law, you could find yourself with some big headaches.”

The law doesn’t go into effect until May 2020, which gives affected companies time to rework their policies, but Wilson said he’s already seen a shift away from pre-employment drug testing as more states legalize medical and recreational use of the drug.

“A lot of our clients, they’re adjusting their policies for after a job has been accepted,” he said. “So our clients that have zero tolerance are pretty much in the group [of exemptions], working at the airports or clients that have people driving vehicles for work.”

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

Why You Shouldn’t Dress up as Donald Trump for Halloween…Plus, Other Do’s and Don’ts for Celebrating Halloween at Work

175 million Americans celebrated Halloween last year…but how should this holiday be approached in the workplace?

Pumpkin“Countless workplaces across the country permit or even encourage Halloween costumes in the office,” says Rob Wilson, human resources expert and President of Employco USA, a national employment-solutions firm. “Some even have costume competitions. Other offices have Halloween parties and put up decorations for the holiday. But, in this day and age, it is crucial to consider how your Halloween costume could impact your employer’s opinion of you, or what legal ramifications these common Halloween practices could pose for employers.”

To that end, workplace expert Rob Wilson has provided the below Do’s and Don’ts for celebrating Halloween in the workplace:

  • No Drag & No Donald. “Don’t wear any costume which mocks a certain religion, ethnicity, culture, gender or sexual orientation,” says Wilson. “For example, transgender people often find it offensive when cisgender people dress in ‘drag’ because they don’t want their identity to be seen as a joke. And, in our current political climate, it would be a bad idea to show up to the office in a Donald Trump costume or a peach costume, which is a popular choice for those who want to see the president impeached. Play it safe: Don’t dress up as any current celebrities or politicians, and avoid nun costumes, priest costumes, and certainly any costumes which would involve you making yourself over to look like a person of another ethnicity, i.e. “blackface,” or wearing Native American costumes or Geisha costumes if you are not of those ethnic backgrounds.”
  • Don’t decorate with ghastly or gruesome décor. “It can be festive to have a brightly colored pumpkin on your desk or a collection of gourds on the office break table, but avoid things like demons, dismembered body parts and witches. Many people are offended by such imagery or others might find gruesome displays triggering,” says Wilson. “Keep it professional and tasteful. Think harvest, not graveyard.” 

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Why so Many Millennials Are Leaving Jobs Due to Mental Health Issues

Employment trends expert talks new study which says that half of millennials have left a job due to a mental health crisis

Mental HealthA new study found that 50 percent of Millennials and 75% of Generation Z’ers say that they have left a job due to pressing mental health concerns. The study, led by Mind Share Partners, SAP, and Qualtrics has discovered that younger generations of workers are much more likely than older employees to leave a job due to the need for mental health care.

“The study is very important because it reflects generational differences as far as employees’ approach to therapy and self-care,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert. “Today’s incoming workforce is much more well-versed in therapy and the need for mental health services, and as this research shows, they seek out these resources when needed, even if it means leaving their current job.”

Wilson says this study helps reveal where companies and employers can do better in attracting and retaining younger talent.

“Offering benefits that include comprehensive mental health care can go a long way in attracting younger employees,” says Wilson. “Therapy is costly, but as research shows, there has been a 47 percent increase in major-depression diagnoses among millennials since 2013. Since therapy is the front-line recommendation for depression treatment, you can expect that nearly half of millennial workers are either in therapy, seeking therapy, or being advised to see a therapist by their doctor or family and friends. Hence, offering a benefit plan which covers these life-saving services and is in-network with many mental health providers would be a smart idea for employers.”

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Sexual Harassment at University of Illinois: Did UIUC Fail Employees?

Chicago-based employment expert explains how IL employers will have new training requirements soon

UIUC IllinoisIt was recently revealed that several professors and one staff member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been accused of sexual harassment. As the University faces criticism for not handling these cases swiftly and with transparency, upcoming changes to Illinois employment law such as the Workplace Transparency Act (“WTA”) could change the way Illinois employers handle such cases in the future.

Employment expert Rob Wilson says that the UIUC case offers an opportunity for Illinois employers to better examine their policies regarding sexual harassment, especially as new regulations are going into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

“If you are an Illinois-based employer or you have at least one employee located in Illinois, you will now have new requirements for sexual harassment prevention,” explains Wilson, who is the President of national employment solutions firm Employco USA, which is based in Chicagoland. “You must provide sexual harassment training to all of your employees at least once a year. Additionally, the Workplace Transparency Act will prevent employers from using confidentiality clauses to protect employees or hide past charges, as U of I is accused of doing in these recent sexual harassment cases.”

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What the New Overtime Ruling Means for Employers

Employment expert explains the recent DOL decision

DOLThe U.S. Department of Labor’s recent decision on overtime extends to 1.3 million U.S. workers. The number is much lower than what the Obama administration tried to accomplish during President Obama’s tenure in office.

“Since 2016 when President Obama signed an overtime law which made employees who earned less than $47,000 a year eligible for compensation, many small business owners were fearful that they would not be able to keep pace with new requirements for overtime compensation. When a Texas judge blocked that ruling, it offered a small reprieve until President Trump took office,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment compensation expert.

In the following years, both Republicans and Democrats have struggled to agree on an overtime solution, until revealing their new decision last week.

Previously, workers were automatically entitled to overtime pay only if they earned $23,660 or less a year, says Wilson. But, starting on Jan. 1, 2020, that salary ceiling will be raised to $35,568.

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How to Secure Top Talent in a Tight Job Market

Employment expert explains how your company can shine as an outstanding employer

JobsThe national unemployment rate is just 3.7%. In August, 130,000 new jobs were created.

“The number of Americans who are currently employed is at a high of 157.9 million,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment expert. “Labor force participation has not been this high since August 2013. While this is great news for employers, it means that companies need to work harder to stand out to prospective hires.”

“Working with an employment solutions firm such as Employco USA is a wise way to stand out from the pack,” continues Wilson. “Not only will this help increase the number of candidates you reach and help streamline your hiring procedures, but a human resources firm can also help you to establish a robust benefits package.”

From an economic standpoint, you need to think in terms not only of salary and health insurance, but also a total compensation package, says Wilson.

“There are many benefits which today’s employees are looking for, including whether you match a 401(k), what is the value of the paid time off offered, along with medical, dental, vision, and life insurance” he explains.

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The Small Business Advocate Show, Podcast

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, was recently a guest on The Small Business Advocate Show with Jim Blasingame. Check out the links below to listen to each topic.

How artificial intelligence is being used in the hiring process
“Rob Wilson joins Jim Blasingame to reveal some of the AI tools and practices that are now available to make the hiring process more effective and successful.”

How small businesses will use AI in the future to hire
“Rob Wilson joins Jim Blasingame to report on the artificial intelligence innovations that are going to increasingly empower small businesses to be more effective finding and hiring new employees.”

For more on these topics, contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

What Employers Can Learn from the Mississippi Raids

Employment expert Rob Wilson discusses how companies can safeguard their staff

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)Last month, ICE officials detained hundreds of undocumented workers in Mississippi. When the raids (which took place in 7 different cities and 6 different work sites) were complete, 680 employees were in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

As the debate over illegal immigration rages on, the Mississippi raids also raise an important concern for companies. How much blame do hiring managers and employers hold when it comes to using undocumented people for labor? Is this just a public relations nightmare and staffing disaster for companies, or can charges be levied against these employers?

“The answer is yes, to put it simply,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment expert. “It is illegal not only to hire an undocumented person, but also to recruit them or refer them to another employer. Employers who knowingly do so and are shown to have a ‘pattern and practice’ of hiring undocumented workers can be fined $3,000 per worker and even face potential jail time.”

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After #MeToo: New Sexual Harassment Training Requirements for 2020

Employment trends expert reveals sexual harassment training requirements in the upcoming year

Policy ManualAfter shocking crimes of sexual assault came to light thanks to the #MeToo movement, many employers have been inspired to rededicate themselves to making their workplaces safer and more equitable for men and women. But, starting January 1, 2020, new changes to sexual harassment policies will require all companies to pay closer attention to this very important issue.

“We are finally starting to see people take sexual harassment in the workplace more seriously, and the new regulations coming into effect in 2020 reflect that,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and human resources expert. “These regulations will vary from state to state and will be dependent upon the size of your company and the number of employees you have, but there are several things that employers need to know.”

For Illinois employers, Wilson points to Public Act 101-0221 (the “Act”) which was created to strengthen sexual harassment policies in the workplace and ensure that all employees are better protected from sexual impropriety and predation.

“Workers in Illinois will now be afforded greater protection under the Act, which includes language that prohibits sexual harassment between employees even when it occurs outside the workplace or online,” says Wilson. “It will also offer greater protection for contract employees and freelance workers, as opposed to only protecting salaried and hourly employees.”

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Salary History Ban Expands to Illinois Employers

Employment expert explains why Illinois employees can’t be asked about their past salaries any longer

SalaryEmployers in Illinois will be required to make changes to their hiring practices in the near future. Starting September 29th, it will become illegal for employers to ask prospective employees to share their salary history.

“Currently, 17 states and 19 localities have banned questions about salary history during the application process, and Illinois will be joining these ranks shortly. Several states like Alabama have banned these application questions for all potential employees, and other states like California go so far as to require employers to provide pay scale information if employees request it,” says Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and President of Employco USA.

Wilson says that many experts agree that salary history questions can lead to income inequality for women and minorities.

“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,” explains Wilson. “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.”

So, what should employers consider moving forward?

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