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With so much focus in Washington on stemming illegal immigration and the erosion of job opportunities for U.S. citizens, chances appear better than ever that the E-Verify system will become mandatory. President Trump's 2018 budget proposal includes funds to upgrade the system so that it can handle greater capacity, that is, if Congress authorizes requiring businesses to use it.

This can be one of the most contentious workplace issues: Dealing with employees' appearance, everything from what they wear on the job to how they are wearing it, to jewelry they wear, to where they are wearing it, to exposed tattoos and other forms of body art. 

Employers' attempts to dictate their employees' appearance on the job has led to many legal contests and court decisions. Following are three examples:Office dress

1. In one case, Alamo-Rent-A-Car was found guilty of violating an employee's religious rights when, after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, it reversed a previous practice of allowing an employee to wear a head scarf. The employee wore the scarf anyway and was fired. An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation found Alamo had no legitimate business purpose for the decision and made no effort to accommodate the employee's religion. (EEOC v Alamo Rent-A-Car, LLC; ANC Rental Corporation.)

Hiring the wrong employee can incur a tremendous cost on the employer. Not only training does cost money, but a poor fit may also reduce productivity and lower employee morale, among other hits to the bottom line.

The price tag for a poor fit is linked to the cost of employee turnover, which is between 16 and 200 percent of a person’s exiting salary, depending upon the strategic significance of an employee, their position their level within the organization, and the high-demand skills they may have.

A poor fit results in many costs to an employer. Here are just a few of the common costs associated with hiring the wrong employee:

  • Salary and other compensation-expenses related to the departing employee, such as severance pay
  • Declining productivity prior to the employee’s departure
  • Job advertising costs, seeking a replacement worker
  • Time costs associated with interviewing candidates
  • New candidate assessments
  • Reduced productivity in the position during on-boarding, orientation and training of the new recruit

Statistics show that one in four American adults has an arrest or conviction that shows up in a routine criminal background check. If we venture into credit checks, the statistics can get even higher.

While background checks are valuable to some industries, they’re not standardized practice for every hire. Besides the personal and privacy implications for a potential incumbent, background checks sap the time and resources of an HR department, and should only be employed when necessary.

Today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is giving greater attention to regulating background checks. That means employers need to be able to provide a valid business case for checking up on a potential employee.

Background checks are required by law in the following industries:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Childcare

The EEOC is also working to document the adverse impact of screening out workers with criminal backgrounds can have. Their findings are particularly pertinent for protecting minorities, where the rate of criminal histories is typically higher.

Employment is a vast and nuanced field. When it comes to in-house human resources departments, organizations tend to hire generalists, who can speak to many different issues, rather than specializing in compliance.

Therefore, when venturing into the complex area of Employment Law, an expert consultant can support and augment the performance of your HR team, ensuring compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) law, and other important regulations.

Employers and human resource departments must be mindful of the EEOC legislation, which protects workers from discrimination on the grounds of:

Online Learning

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Human Resources Report

Our very own Jonna Contacos-Sawyer was recently featured in the Human Resources Report TM. Read the article which explores the role technology will play in HR's future.

*Reproduced with permission from Human Resources Report, 32 HRR 453 (May 5, 2014). Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)

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