Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management For 2011



Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management For 2011


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Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011

Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 #1 Health Care in 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 2012 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 2018 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 #2 FMLA Paid Leave Initiatives and the In Loco Parentis Rule . . . . . . . . .6 Paid Leave Initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 The In Loco Parentis Rule . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 #3 Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Best Practice: Ethics, Integrity, Training, Communication Steer Weyerhaeuser to Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Best Practice:Yahoo! Makes Ethics Training Entertaining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 #4 Social Networking and Blogging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Social Networking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Blogging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 FTC Guidelines on Testimonials and Endorsements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Best Practice: Look to Social Media for Disaster Preparedness Updates . . . . . . . . .19 #5 Corporate Social Responsibility and the Green Movement . . . . . . . .21 5 Reasons Why You Need a Green Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Going Green: Not Just Good Deeds … Good Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Best Practice: BLR’s Green Team Helps Employees Be Enviro Conscious . . . . . . . .25 10 Tips to Go Green—And Save Some Green! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 #6 Increasing Investigations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Wage and Hour Investigations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 #7 Employee FLSA Classifications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Recordkeeping Regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Amendments to the FLSA Companionship Services Regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 #8 Retirement of the Baby Boomers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Labor Shortages Are Predicted:‘Encore Careers’ May Be Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 U.S. Workers Toil on Through Their Twilight Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 12 Points to Consider with Retirement Plan Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Congressional Testimony Outlines OFCCP’s Priorities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49 Get Employees Engaged in Wellness by Creating Strong ‘Culture of Health’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Setting Up a Workplace Wellness Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 #10 Workplace Wellness . . . . . . . . .51 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .#9 Government Contracts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38 What Is Wellness? . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . .39 Legal Issues Related to Workplace Wellness Programs . . . . . . . . .42 Suggestions for Wellness Programs . .36 New Section 503 Disability Regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

An amount of $200M is authorized to be appropriated for the period of fiscal years 2011 through 2015 to fund grants to employers with fewer than 100 employees to provide their employees with access to comprehensive workplace wellness programs. and provided other administrative support to the business. how HR managers can anticipate and address some of the most challenging HR issues this year. as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA). This special report will discuss the top 10 best practices in HR management for 2011—in other words. 2012. HR processed payroll. launches an extended period during which far-reaching changes to the American healthcare system will take effect. The positive result of these changes is that HR professionals have the opportunity to play a more strategic role in the business. 2011 Wellness Grants for Small Employers. and 2018. Reform on this scale is multifaceted and initially takes effect in uneven increments between 2010 and 2018. the individual mandate and employer play-or-pay. legal. #1 Health Care in 2011 According to the recent BLR® survey HR Concerns for 2011. 2013. and MSAs. Exclusion of the Costs for Over-the-Counter Drugs for Reimbursement from HRAs. The challenge for HR managers is to keep up to date with the latest HR innovations—technological. 2010. 30610860 1 . don’t take effect until 2014. handled benefits administration. the HR department was viewed as administrative overhead. and otherwise. as the pieces of the reform package come into play. 2014. The information below covers what has to be planned for in 2011. Those times have changed.Introduction The role of Human Resources is changing as fast as technology and the global marketplace. 79% of over 850 respondents claimed that healthcare costs and requirements is their number one concern this year. Effective for taxable years beginning after December 31. The enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). kept personnel files and other records. These reforms are built on the current employer-based system and will impact every employer in the country. This report will give you the information you need to know about these current HR challenges and how to most effectively manage them in your workplace. Inc. HSAs. Keep in mind that the two biggest pieces of the reform process. managed the hiring process. the costs of over-the-counter drugs not prescribed by a doctor may no longer be reimbursed through a health reimbursement account (HRA) or health flexible spending account (FSA) and may no longer be reimbursed on a ©Business & Legal Reports. collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Historically. FSAs.

By March 23. 2011. a summary of benefits and coverage explanation that meets the national standards for providing a summary of benefits and coverage must be provided to applicants at the time of application to 2 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . Form W-2 Reporting of Healthcare Cost Information. plans must provide a rebate to each enrollee on a pro rata basis equal to the amount of premium revenue spent on nonmedical costs that exceed the percentage limits. 2010. Tax on HSA and MSA Distributions Not Used for Qualified Expenses. however. and plans in the large group market must maintain an MLR of 85%. If an employer qualifies as a small employer. Effective beginning after December 31. Effective for taxable years beginning after December 31. 2010. it retains the status until it employs an average of 200 or more employees during the preceding year. national standards for use in compiling and providing a summary of benefits and coverage explanation that accurately describes the benefits and coverage under group health plans and group or individual health insurance coverage are to be issued. or employee salary reductions to a flexible spending arrangement. 2011. plans in the individual and small group market must maintain an MLR of 80%. Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) Reimbursement. employers are required to report on Form W-2 the total cost of employer-provided group health coverage that is excluded from the employee’s gross income. an HSA. Beginning not later than January 1. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has stated. For each plan year. that reporting the cost of such coverage will not be mandatory for Forms W-2 issued for 2011 (IRS Notice 2010-69). 2011. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act) creates a national voluntary insurance program for purchasing community living assistance services and supports to provide individuals with functional limitations with tools that will allow them to maintain their personal and financial independence and live in the community through a new financing strategy for community living assistance services and supports. Simple Cafeteria Plans for Small Employers. 2012 Benefits Summary Requirement. 2012. establish an infrastructure that will help address community living assistance services and supports needs. and alleviate burdens on family caregivers. 2010. CLASS Act. By March 23. the tax on distributions from a health savings account or an Archer MSA that are not used for qualified medical expenses increases to 20% of the disbursed amount.tax-free basis through a health savings account (HSA) or Archer Medical Savings Account (MSA). The amount to be reported does not include amounts excluded from income through an Archer MSA. Internal Revenue Code Sec. Effective for tax years beginning after December 31. 125 is amended to provide for simple cafeteria plans for small businesses that include a safe harbor from nondiscrimination requirements for employers that employed an average of 100 or fewer employees during either of the 2 preceding years. Benefits Summary Requirement. Employers will be encouraged to participate in the CLASS Act and adopt automatic enrollment rules that default employees into the CLASS Act. starting January 1.

2013). The penalty takes effect April 1. and net gain from disposition of property for individuals earning over $200. requirements for use by group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage to report benefits and healthcare provider reimbursement structures that improve health outcomes through the implementation of activities are to be issued. 2014. Health plans must document compliance with these standards or face a penalty of no more than $1 per covered life. chronic disease management. enrollment and disenrollment in a health plan. 2013.000 for individual taxpayers and $250. FSA Contribution Limit. 2013 Health Insurance Administration Simplification.the enrollee before the time of enrollment or reenrollment.9% (from 1. royalties. activities to prevent hospital readmissions through a comprehensive program for hospital discharge that includes patient-centered education and counseling. There is also a 3. Rules for electronic funds transfer and healthcare payment and remittance rules must be adopted by July 1. Rules establishing a single set of operating rules for eligibility verification and claims status must be adopted July 1. gross income from a trade or business.000 and families earning over $250. written notice informing the employee of the existence of an Exchange. Plans and insurers must annually report whether the benefits under the plan or coverage satisfy these elements. Effective January 1. activities to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors through the appropriate use of best clinical practices. evidence-based medicine. care coordination. 2016. and postdischarge reinforcement by an appropriate healthcare professional.3%) on earnings over $200. and medication and care compliance initiatives. 2013. not later than March 1. 2011. Requirement on Employers to Inform Employees of Coverage Options. contributions to an FSA for medical expenses are limited to $2. 2013. and take effect January 1. dividends. and how the employee may contact the Exchange 3 ©Business & Legal Reports. and health information technology under the plan or coverage. Effective January 1. the Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) tax rate on wages goes up by 0. Quality of Care Reporting. 2013. and wellness and health promotion activities. and take effect January 1. rents. including a description of the services provided by such an Exchange. the tax deduction for employers that receive Medicare Part D retiree drug subsidy payments is eliminated. and take effect January 1. and to a policyholder or certificate holder at the time of issuance of the policy or delivery of the certificate. 2014. 30610860 . effective case management. Medicare tax. Employers are to provide to each employee at the time of hiring (or with respect to current employees. health plan premium payments. Examples of activities to be reported include quality reporting. No later than March 23. Effective January 1. Rules for health claims or equivalent encounter information. Inc. comprehensive discharge planning. 2012.8% Medicare tax assessment on investment income from interest.500 per year increased annually by the cost-of-living adjustment.45% to 2.000.000 for married couples filing jointly. 2014. and referral certification and authorization rules are to be adopted by July 1. 2012. Elimination of Tax Deduction for Part D Subsidy Payment.

family composition. Employers with more than 50 employees that offer coverage but have at least one full-time employee receiving a premium tax credit will pay the lesser of $3.000 for each full-time employee. Effective January 1.5-to-1 ratio) in the individual and the small group market and the Exchanges. Insurance Exchanges for Individuals and Small Businesses. Large Employer Automatic Enrollment Requirement. statebased American Health Benefit Exchanges and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges. employers with more than 50 employees that do not offer coverage and have at least one fulltime employee who receives a premium assistance tax credit must pay a fee of $2. plans and insurers may no longer impose annual dollar limits on coverage. The first 30 employees are not counted for assessing the fee. are to be operating so that individuals and small businesses with up to 100 employees can purchase qualified coverage.5% of household income. if the employer plan’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan is less than 60% of such costs. administered by a governmental agency or nonprofit organization. 2014. insurers will be required to guarantee issue and renewability and allow rating variation based only on age (limited to 3-to-1 ratio). Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1. 4 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . the employee may be eligible for a premium tax credit under Section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and a cost-sharing reduction under Section 1402 of the PPACA if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Exchange. 2014 Individual Mandate. Effective in 2014. By 2014. Employer Play or Pay—The Employer Mandate.000 per full-time employee. Effective in 2014. There will be exceptions given for financial hardship and religious objections.085 per family) or 2. the employee will lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for federal income tax purposes.to request assistance. citizens and legal residents will be required to have qualifying health coverage beginning in 2014.000 for each employee receiving a premium credit or $2. Those who do not have coverage will be required to pay a yearly financial penalty of the greater of $695 per person (up to a maximum of $2. and if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Exchange. Renewability. U. phased in from 2014–2016.8% of income to enable them to enroll in a plan in an Exchange and will not be subject to the above penalty. premium rating area. Annual Limits. Guaranteed Issue.S. Any automatic enrollment program must include adequate notice and the opportunity for an employee to opt out of any coverage. Employers that offer coverage will be required to provide a voucher to employees with incomes below 400% of the poverty level if their share of the premium cost is between 8% and 9. large employers with more than 200 full-time employees that offer coverage will be required to automatically enroll employees in the employer’s lowest cost plan if the employee does not sign up for employer coverage or does not opt out of coverage. and tobacco use (limited to 1. and Rating Variation Requirements. 2014.

an excise tax is imposed on insurers of employer-sponsored health plans with total values that exceed $10. 2014. Effective January 1. 2014. Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1. 30610860 5 .Limit on Waiting Periods. Inc. Preexisting Condition Exclusions. a group health plan may not provide any annual cost sharing in excess of those that apply to HSAs. a health insurance issuer that offers health insurance coverage in the individual or small group market must ensure that such coverage includes the essential health benefits package that includes at least the following general categories and the items and services covered within the categories: N Ambulatory patient services N Emergency services N Hospitalization N Maternity and newborn care N Mental health and substance use disorder services. 2014. Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1. employers may offer employees rewards of up to 30% (increasing to 50%. Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1.500 for family coverage. 2018 Excise Tax on Cadillac Plans. Comprehensive Health Insurance Coverage. 2014. insurers and plans must limit any waiting periods for coverage to 90 days. Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1. including behavioral health treatment N Prescription drugs N Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices N Laboratory services N Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management N Pediatric services. 2018. The application of preexisting condition exclusions for plan years beginning on or after January 1. is prohibited. ©Business & Legal Reports. including oral and vision care Limits on Cost Sharing and Deductibles. Wellness Incentives. if appropriate) of the cost of coverage for participating in a wellness program and meeting certain health-related standards.200 for individual coverage and $27. 2014.

N New Jersey provides eligible employees with up to 6 weeks of temporary disability benefits while taking leave under the state family leave law or the federal FMLA to care for a family member with a serious health condition or to care for a newborn or newly adopted child during the first 12 months following birth or placement for adoption. or compensatory time) for the illness of an immediate family member. parent. Under the law. N The city of San Francisco approved a ballot measure that requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees in the city. administered under a state-run insurance program. and any variety of other parental arrangements.#2 FMLA Paid Leave Initiatives and the In Loco Parentis Rule Paid Leave Initiatives Since 2007. or foster care child). or to bond with a new child (newborn. For example: N California has become the first state to provide paid time off for workers to provide care for a child. fewer than two parents. and ensure that their policies and practices take both state and federal leave laws into account. N Maryland law requires that employers with 15 or more employees that provide paid leave allow employees to use their paid leave (sick. a growing number of states and at least one city have passed laws to allow employees to have or use paid leave for family and medical needs. The In Loco Parentis Rule In its first Administrator’s Interpretation addressing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). parents of the same gender. As a result. State-mandated paid leave provisions are gaining popularity. Department of Labor (DOL) discussed the issue of nontraditional families and the in loco parentis qualification under the federal law. or because of the placement of a child with the employee for adoption. employees are entitled to up to 5 weeks’ paid family leave because of the birth of a child. employers should confirm the status of their state leave laws to determine if any paid leave provisions exist. N The District of Columbia entitles employees covered by the District Family and Medical Leave Act to paid sick and “safe” leave for use under certain circumstances. These “nontraditional” family units have created confusion for some 6 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . It is a fact of life that children today might have more than two parents. in order to care for the child. or domestic partner with a serious health condition. vacation. N Washington state has passed a law (currently scheduled to become effective in October 2012) requiring paid family leave. adopted.S. spouse. the U.

DOL’s clarification leaves no doubt that all families—including those in the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community—are protected by the family leave laws.employers when it comes to determining eligibility for family leave. The fact that a child has a biological parent in the home. for example. Examples of In Loco Parentis Relationships DOL has provided the following examples of employees who would be entitled to family leave by virtue of standing in loco parentis to children: N An uncle who takes care of his young niece and nephew because their single parent is on active military duty N An aunt who assumes responsibility for raising a child after the death of the child’s parents ©Business & Legal Reports. The FMLA does not require a legal or biological relationship with the child. Inc. the FMLA does not limit the number of parents a child can have for leave purposes. In response. DOL clarified the definition of the parental relationship under the FMLA. 2010-3). does not mean the child can’t also be the child of an employee without a legal or biological relationship with the child for leave purposes. For example. would be entitled to take leave to care for that child in the case of a serious health condition. Each of those parents would have equal rights to take leave to care for the child. an eligible employee can take a job-protected. Family Leave Rights Under the FMLA. particularly in the absence of a legal or biological parent-child relationship. Who Stands in Loco Parentis? So which employees who don’t have a legal or biological relationship with a child are nonetheless entitled to family leave related to that child? According to the recent DOL Administrator’s Interpretation. could have four parents—the biological parents and the stepparents. The interpretation explains. or has both a mother and a father. 30610860 7 . unpaid leave of absence for up to a total of 12 workweeks in a 12-month period for: N The birth or care of a newborn N The placement of a child for adoption or foster care N The care of a child with a serious health condition Covered children include the child of a person standing in loco parentis to that child. Employers should apply the same standard to requests for leave for the birth of a child and to bond with a child within the first 12 months after birth or placement. an employee who provides day-to-day care for an unmarried partner’s child. but who doesn’t financially support the child. A child of divorce. that the regulations don’t require an employee who intends to assume parental responsibilities to establish that he or she provides both day-to-day care and financial support for that child to stand. the FMLA regulations define the term “in loco parentis” to include those individuals with day-to-day responsibilities to care for and financially support a child (DOL Administrator’s Interpretation No. however.

N A grandmother who assumes responsibility for her grandchild because her own child is incapable of providing care N An employee who intends to share parenting responsibilities with his or her same-sex partner However. only one of whom has a biological or legal connection with the employee. N An employee may take leave to care for her grandmother with a serious health condition if the grandmother assumed responsibility for raising the employee after the death of her parents when the employee was a child. Those situations include: N An employee may take leave to care for his aunt with a serious health condition. Some factors to be considered in determining in loco parentis status include: N The age of the child. 8 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . How to Handle Child-Related Leave Requests Whether an employee stands in loco parentis to a child—and thus is entitled to family leave—will depend on the particular facts and circumstances. an aunt. N The amount of financial support. unless an in loco parentis relationship existed when the employee was a child. and N The extent to which duties commonly associated with parenthood are exercised. Documentation of an In Loco Parentis Relationship DOL’s fact sheet clarifies that an employer’s right to documentation of family relationship is the same for an employee who asserts the need to care for an individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee as it is for a biological. provided. persons who are in loco parentis include those with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child. N The degree to which the child is dependent on the person. an employee who takes care of a child while that child’s parents are on vacation wouldn’t be considered in loco parentis or eligible for leave. an employee is not entitled to take FMLA leave to care for a grandparent. N An employee who was raised by same-sex parents. if any. or another noncovered relative with a serious health condition. Fact Sheet In order to provide further information on the use of in loco parentis relationships under the FMLA. adoptive. if the aunt was responsible for his day-to-day care when he was a child. Under the FMLA. DOL issued a helpful fact sheet. which contains examples of situations in which FMLA leave to care for a parent may be based on an in loco parentis relationship.“FMLA Leave to Care for a Parent with a Serious Health Condition on the Basis of an In Loco Parentis Relationship” (Fact Sheet #28C). may take leave to care for the nonadoptive or nonbiological parent on the basis of an in loco parentis relationship. According to DOL.

such as those regarding coverage. or between the community and the organization. N Sometimes it is hard to draw a line between personal and business relationships. It is a set of rules by which to judge decisions and conduct in the workplace. such statement may include. Employees forge friendships with co-workers. yet may have to make professional choices that do not seem very friendly. In Loco Parentis Status and Other FMLA Requirements DOL makes clear that in loco parentis status under the FMLA does not change the law’s other requirements. the name of the individual and a statement of the individual’s in loco parentis relationship to the employee when the employee was a child. or foster parent. 30610860 9 . the department. Now. Inc. ©Business & Legal Reports. Making ethical choices on the job. There may be many reasons that drive people to cross the line and act unethically. An employee asserting a right to FMLA leave to care for a parent who stood in loco parentis to the employee may be required to provide notice of the need for leave and to submit medical certification of a serious health condition consistent with the FMLA regulations.122). All requirements must be met for FMLA protections to apply. and qualifying reasons for leave. Such documentation may take the form of a simple statement asserting the relationship. is not always easy.S. an employee may have to report the situation. or the organization. Sometimes the choice is between the interests of a customer and the interests of the organization. and the U. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines have placed strict legal requirements on covered employers. Here are a few examples: N Conflicts of interest force employees to choose between self-interest and the interests of co-workers.step. for example. the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act) creates new whistleblower protections and expands those in existing law. Many corporate leaders who fail to act ethically have been prosecuted and incarcerated. if a co-worker does something wrong. An employee should provide sufficient information to make the employer aware that the individual in need of care stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a “son or daughter” (29 CFR Section 825. #3 Ethics Workplace ethics is a standard of acceptable behavior on the job. Congress has legislated significant changes in financial reporting and other laws to enforce ethical behavior. For an employee seeking leave to care for an individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee. the employee is in a difficult situation. even for the ethically minded. eligibility. If a customer with whom an employee has a good relationship tries to use the relationship in some unethical way. For example.

they do not have any basis for understanding or applying ethical standards in business. There are many confusing laws. ambition. N Misguided loyalty can cause employees to lie because they think that in doing so. employees cannot use any confidential business information for self-gain or pass along such information to benefit friends or family. and pressure from co-workers. It can be tempting to cut corners or forget about the details.Wyeth. they are being loyal to the organization or to their bosses. or violations of any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to their supervisors or other appropriate officials within their companies or federal officials with the authority to remedy the wrongdoing. N Pressure to succeed. If DOL does not issue a ruling within 180 days.3d tion about. Inc. Staples. and downright greed are at the bottom of a lot of unethical activity in business. or vendors to engage in unethical activities or at least look the other way can drive people to do things they would not normally do. fraud against shareholders. personal gain. To assert a claim under SOX. and the proper choice may be far from obvious. customers. 555 F 42 (1st Cir. an employee must show that he or she had a goodfaith and objectively reasonable belief that the employer’s conduct was unlawful (Day v. . whether that information is about the organization or its customers.” and failing to tell the whole story can all have an effect on the outcome of a situation. Employees claiming retaliation under SOX must exhaust administrative remedies before bringing an action in court. 2009)). telling “little white lies. or specula. wire. bosses. bank. Even if an employee understands the law. pressure to get ahead. Because such individuals have no personal ethical values. N Some people make unethical choices because they are not sure about what really is the right thing to do. there are those who simply never learned or do not care about ethical values. Ethical problems are often complicated.3d 2008)). 520 F 344 (4th Cir. it is not necessary that the employer actually was violating the law. pressure to meet deadlines and expectations. Complaints are handled by DOL. Also. The law also prohibits retaliation against employees who assist in any investigation of such violations or participate in any proceeding related to an alleged violation of these laws (18 USC Sec. 1514A). N Laws and regulations are another problem area. The Dodd-Frank Act provides significant financial incentives for employees to disclose to government officials what they believe may be illegal conduct by their employers. he or she may not agree with it. 10 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. SOX prohibits retaliation against employees of publicly traded companies who report acts of mail. However. N Confidential information is exactly that—confidential and privileged. or securities fraud. Below is a summary of the laws affected by the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower provisions. illegal activity is insufficient (Livingston v. N Self interest. the employee may seek a trial in federal court.N Massaging the truth. The mere possibility of.. Ethically.

Securities and Exchange Commission Act (SEC Act). and if they prevail. No. they may be awarded double back pay. GA 2004)). attorney’s fees. Employees claiming retaliation may bring a claim in federal court. assist in the SEC’s judicial or administrative investigations. or within 3 years after the employer knew or should have known of the retaliatory conduct. or make required or protected disclosures under SOX or other laws subject to SEC jurisdiction. unlike the SEC Act. N The statute of limitations is extended from 90 days to 180 days. As with the SEC Act. Predispute arbitration agreements are prohibited. On the other hand. Inc. Employees who provide information regarding securities law violations are entitled to between 10% and 30% of monetary sanctions recovered that exceed $1 million. Inc. 2009)). SOX and discrimination claims. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. In addition. courts were split on whether SOX grants whistleblowers a right to a jury trial. New Jersey. Beazer Homes USA. 07-16597 (9th Cir. However. Also. .D.In addition. For example. 07-3977 (3d Cir.Virgin Islands) has held that an employee who brings an unsuccessful SOX claim is precluded from then suing the employer for employment discrimination based on the same set of facts (Tice v.. and the U. Note: Practically speaking. No. Pennsylvania. 2009)). the DoddFrank Act amends SOX by adding the following provisions: N Nonpublicly traded subsidiaries of publicly traded companies are now covered by SOX. The Dodd-Frank Act creates a whistleblower program to protect employees who provide information related to violations of the Commodity Exchange Act or assist in an investigation or judicial or administrative action based on such information. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Delaware. in no case can a claim be made more than 10 years after the retaliation. N Predispute arbitration agreements are prohibited under SOX. as are waivers of rights under the Act. that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of protected activity (Collins v. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). ©Business & Legal Reports. an employee need show only that the protected activity was a contributing factor to the retaliatory employment action taken against him or her (Van Asdale v. The Dodd-Frank Act makes clear that jury trials are available under the law. Employers may not retaliate against employees who provide information regarding securities law violations to SEC. this provision gives SOX plaintiffs the opportunity to bring a claim in federal court without first following the administrative procedures required by SOX. individuals may bring retaliation claims in federal court. and other costs. by clear and convincing evidence.. CFTC whistleblowers are eligible to receive 10% to 30% of any fines recovered by CFTC that exceed $1 million. complaints under the CFTC whistleblower provisions must be brought within 2 years of the violation. 30610860 11 .2d 1365 (N. International Game Technology. Employees must bring their claim within 6 years of the retaliation. the employer must show. N Nationally recognized statistical ratings organizations are not covered by SOX. The Dodd-Frank Act creates new whistleblower protections under the SEC Act. The Dodd-Frank Act clarified some unsettled SOX issues.S. 334 F Supp. N Individuals cannot waive their rights or remedies under SOX.

Integrity. state. Also. it will order the employer to take affirmative action to abate the violation. upon request. These employers may not retaliate against an employee “performing tasks related to the offering or provision of a consumer financial product or service” who has: N Provided information to his or her employer. as well as double back pay. The Dodd-Frank Act creates a Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and provides whistleblower protections for employees who work in the consumer financial services sector.” It also provides that employees have 3 years from the time of the retaliation to bring a claim. compensatory damages and. the employee may file suit in federal court. predispute arbitration agreements are prohibited. Best Practice: Ethics. attorney’s fees up to $1. policy. If.). an individual may bring a court action. 3729 et seq. any of the other laws protected by the Bureau. the Bureau. known as a qui tam action. As with other whistleblower provisions under the Dodd-Frank Act.000. or any local. and attorney’s fees. after an investigation. 12 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . Weyerhaeuser Company has had an organizational code of ethics in place since 1976 and has received numerous awards for its efforts. employees may not waive their rights under this provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. Employees who prevail on a retaliation claim may be entitled to reinstatement. Under the False Claims Act. special damages. or assigned task that the employee reasonably believed to be in violation of any law subject to the jurisdiction of or enforced by the Bureau Employees who believe they have been retaliated against for taking any of the actions set forth above may file a complaint with DOL. If DOL does not issue a final order within 210 days after the employee filed the complaint. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who participate in a qui tam action. reinstatement. In addition. against any person who knowingly makes a false claim for payment from the government (31 USC Sec. or refused to participate in. or Bureau rules N Filed or instituted any proceeding under federal consumer financial law N Objected to. The latest honor was being named to the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” list by the Ethisphere Institute for the second consecutive year in 2010. any activity. companywide ethics and business conduct program. Communication Steer Weyerhaeuser to Success With a long-term. the employee will be awarded back pay. practice. False Claims Act. DOL finds in favor of the employee. The Dodd-Frank Act expanded covered individuals to include not only the whistleblower but also “associated others.Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. or federal authority relating what the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of one of the consumer financial services laws protected by the Bureau or other Bureau rules N Testified in any proceeding related to enforcement or administration of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010. or within 90 days after it has issued a written determination on the claim. costs. Training.

com). The overview of the Code highlights the fact that not only are employees expected to act with integrity and conduct business and themselves in a way that protects the company’s reputation for fairness and honesty. and at the end of 2009. Protecting our reputation has been essential to our success. which includes a module on ethics. 26-page document shared with all employees in a booklet. says. online through the employee intranet. I would involve our intellectual property law attorney in changes to the intellectual property section. Communication All employees are expected to stay current with the code of ethics and business conduct by participating in leader-led (with a PowerPoint® presentation) or online training that includes ethical dilemmas and requires employees to make decisions through quiz questions. a “series of leaders that includes the president and chief executive officer and the board of directors reviews all changes to the Code. we have had a reputation of conducting business honestly and with integrity. 30610860 13 .900 employees in 10 countries and in more than 70 primary locations. Many managers conduct leader-led ethics training so they’re role modeling at the same time that they’re educating employees about ethics and how it applies to their jobs. Weyerhaeuser’s culture of integrity is maintained through the leadership making principled and ethical decisions and is also employee driven.“An example is that our leaders set the tone by discussing ethical business conduct and role modeling. The organization grows and harvests trees. a comprehensive.weyerhaeuser.” she explains. Morris notes. began operations in 1900. and it’s more than having a code of ethics. an international forest products company. This year. but education and ongoing communication also provide essential elements to making ethics and integrity the principles by which Weyerhaeuser employees function. employed approximately 14.com/2du8lz9.” She comments that the Code provides a framework for employees to guide their decision making. and makes a range of forest products. Inc.Weyerhaeuser Company (http://www.” The Ethics Code The Weyerhaeuser Code of Ethics. wellrounded ethics and business conduct program requires a culture of integrity. director of Ethics and Business Conduct. for ©Business & Legal Reports. Weyerhaeuser’s Code is updated through partnering with appropriate internal subject matter experts. For over 100 years.“A successful. but they are also expected to demonstrate ethical leadership by raising questions and concerns about the right thing to do. says Morris. Every 3 to 4 years.“For example. Melissa Morris. was most recently updated in April 2010 and can be found at http://tinyurl. Companywide ethics training is mandatory. Training. builds homes. and discussed during new employee orientation. Our reputation is really due to our heritage and to our employees. Weyerhaeuser manages its timberland on a sustainable basis in compliance with internationally recognized forestry standards.” In addition. The education starts during new employee orientation.

and 100% completion is expected by year-end. On the Road With the Code. when he was relatively new at Yahoo! (http://info. vice president and chief compliance and ethics officer. international work culture. California. English-centric) and make it relevant from a global perspective. interactive.yahoo. to their managers. and execute it. Marketing and Public Relations. In fact. Morris says that when employees have ethical concerns. explains that 2 years ago. for example. and online. involved internal collaboration with the Ethics and Compliance staff. explains Farrell. The process that Yahoo! went through to create the training program.com). 85% of employees have already completed the training on the updated code of ethics.shareholder.) Next came the challenge of presenting the Code of Ethics to the approximately 14.e. and HR and Finance. managers may use other internally developed ethical dilemmas in supplemental discussions with employees.S.000 employees in a way that would be easily accessible and entertaining. notes Morris. and included an external partner. We had it translated into five or six languages so that employees taking it anywhere in the world would feel an effort had really been made to address them and have it resonate with them. and what their experience was [with codes of ethics] so we made sure we were on the right track.“The Network (www.cfm.”The code is comprehensive and available for viewing at http://yhoo.com/ index. 14 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 .“We also had to make sure that this training program was not U.aspx). The Network. Ongoing communication regarding ethics is handled through the online employee newsletter.” notes Farrell. what would be effective. explains Morris. helped us take the vision that we had and helped us to expand it. (It is the second listing under the “Documents” heading. a provider of incident-management solutions to help clients foster an ethical culture. The Code of Ethics now reflects Yahoo!’s values and unique.. headquartered in Sunnyvale. the ethics website on the employee intranet.client. The tagline added to the code is “Winning with Integrity. improve it. the focus groups provided feedback at different stages so the program could be made even better. they may report them locally. Best Practice: Yahoo! Makes Ethics Training Entertaining Learning about corporate codes of ethics and compliance issues doesn’t have to be boring for employees. and through other communications channels.-centric (i.example. notes Farrell. Dave Farrell.tnwinc. it can be entertaining. a plant manager. “We ran focus groups of employees early on to talk about what employees liked in an online training program. he interviewed senior leaders and executives to determine what should be included in a code of ethics and compliance program. and provide them with a good understanding of the new code and how to apply it. Yahoo!.com/documents. or the HR function.” As the training program was being created. provides the proof. In addition.

The Learning Modules The learning modules comprising On the Road With the Code include Conflicts of Interest. the Conflicts of Interest module uses a game show approach where the Yahoos [employees] play a game and decide whether a conflict of interest does exist or doesn’t exist.” Blending eye-catching design elements and customized.Yahoo!-specific content. General Ethics and Integrity. and new employees must go through the program within 60 days of their hire. The Yahoos provided positive feedback about the training in their evaluations of it. Every Yahoo! employee went through the program. Bounce your great ideas off your employees [audience] to make sure you are on the right track. approach. Farrell explains that in order to keep ethics and compliance on Yahoos’ minds. called Spotlights. Export Controls. getting it done. new animated vignettes.Your ethics and compliance program is only as good as the commitment and engagement of [the leaders] at the top. and also that the content is relevant to your unique industry.” Farrell further suggests that you “do exactly what we did—spend a lot of effort at the front end to solicit input and feedback from employees throughout the organization. “As you [an employee] take the course.” says Farrell. Anticorruption. and inquiries and questions regarding ethics concerns increased as each group of Yahoos participated in the program. says Farrell.” says Farrell. and Insider Trading. funding it and making it mandatory.“For example. you learn different subject areas of ethics and compliance and at the end of each one are given several different scenarios where the user interacts with the training program. related policies. Other Ethics Resources The online training program is housed on a website available through Yahoo!’s intranet. he adds. ©Business & Legal Reports. contact information. put together once a month with Marketing Communications. but you need to make sure you’re meeting their needs and expectations in terms of quality. 30610860 15 . highlight scenarios touching on a topic area of On the Road With the Code and are made available on the employee intranet. Creating Your Program “You must have executive management commitment to do something like this. The training is mandatory. Concerns may also be reported via a telephone hotline. and the ability for Yahoos to ask questions and raise concerns about practices that may be violating the Yahoo! Code of Ethics. Inc. notes Farrell. the company’s Code of Ethics was transformed into a ready resource for employees that began with a message from the CEO (as explained by The Network’s white paper about the creation of the program). and content. The CEO and board [of directors] were absolutely supportive of us doing this.” He cautions that you may have one impression of what will really resonate with employees.“We were fortunate to have that. which includes resources such as additional training on ethics topics.

even if not legally required to do so. employers may learn more information (e. accurate. However.J. employers should consider getting consent so that applicants are on notice that the information they post on social networking sites may be reviewed by the employer. Generally. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires employers to obtain applicants’ consent when a third party conducts a background investigation. by viewing candidate profiles.. 06-5754 (D. religion. Monitoring employee use of social networking sites. However. However. family/marital status. such as a social networking site. Some employers review social networking sites as a method of screening applicants. For example. Although these sites can be beneficial. The employees argued that one of 16 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . No. their use can also have risks. once an applicant or employee posts something on a public domain. as users of these sites sometimes “pretext” or pretend to be someone else. N. Therefore. The court also permitted the employees to proceed with their claim that the managers violated the federal SCA and similar state law. sexual orientation) than the employer could legally ask about directly. Discrimination. 2008)). the few cases in this area suggest that courts will be reluctant to uphold an invasion of privacy claim (whether based on the federal constitution or state common law) when an employee voluntarily posts information on a public site. age. both personal and professional. employers have recognized that social networking sites such as Twitter. It is unclear whether these laws would require consent from an applicant before an employer or third party conducted an Internet search as part of a background check. disability. an employer is free to view it. Hillstone Restaurant Group. Background check laws.g. a federal district court in New Jersey held that employees could proceed with their invasion of privacy claim when they were fired after uninvited company managers accessed their invitation-only Web discussions of workplace grievances (Pietrylo v. There is little case law addressing the monitoring by employers of employees’ social networking posts. Likewise. or even placed there by the prospective applicant. it is critical that employers base all interviewing and hiring decisions on job-related criteria. Social Networking Recently.“Have you caught any of your employees negatively blogging about your company or mentioning it in an inappropriate manner on a social networking site?” One quarter of the HR professionals who answered have faced this problem with an employee. LinkedIn. and MySpace can be useful marketing and recruiting tools. Facebook. race. Employers must also be aware that everything they find on a social networking site may not be current. employees have increasingly been utilizing social networking sites for a variety of uses. Some states also have their own background check laws.#4 Social Networking and Blogging BLR’s HR Concerns for 2011 survey asked respondents. But the outcome might be different if employees set up an invitation-only site and have an expectation that only invited users will be able to read their posts.

Moreover. however. coercing an employee to provide access to a private site may be an invasion of privacy. An employer in a state with such a law may face liability if it takes adverse action against an employee because of the employee’s legal activities shown on a social networking site. 172 Cal.” In contrast. this would show a violation of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) and state law. which protects employees’ right to engage in concerted activity regarding terms and conditions of employment. Practice tip: Because this area of the law is in its infancy. Hanford Sentinel. Employers should also keep in mind that some states have laws prohibiting employers from taking adverse action against an employee for engaging in legal activities while off duty. including some death threats from community members. employers should consult with legal counsel before taking adverse action against an employee because of his or her posts on a social networking site. Such policies should prohibit: N Harassment of co-workers or customers. employers should be aware that while it may not be an invasion of privacy to access an employee’s public social networking site. as well as a violation of federal and state law. 30610860 17 . The NLRA applies to both unionized and nonunionized workplaces. Another possible concern for employers that monitor employee use of social networking sites is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Right to organize. The student’s former school principal forwarded the post to a local newspaper that published it. On the basis of these cases. employers should have policies in place setting forth their expectations regarding employee’s social networking as it relates to the employer. Employees’ use of social networking sites. employee posts can also be detrimental to employers. a California state court rejected an invasion of privacy claim by a college student who posted an essay highly critical of her home town on a social networking site (Moreno v. employers may be liable for an unfair labor practice if they appear to be interfering with those discussions. Therefore. noting that she posted the essay on a social networking site available to anyone with Internet access. actions taken based on the information on the site may lead to liability under other legal theories. App. Inc. 4th 1125 (2009)). If employees use social networking sites to discuss employment conditions. because authorization to view the site was not “freely given. N Interference or disruption of work because of social networking. N Exposing trade secrets or other proprietary company information. The student and her family were then subject to hostile treatment. Unfortunately. and N Disparaging comments about the company or its employees. ©Business & Legal Reports. The court did. The court rejected her claim. The student claimed that the school principal invaded her privacy by sending the post to the newspaper. The court reasoned that if proven. Employers may find that employees use social networking sites to post positive information about their organization’s products or work culture. permit the student to pursue a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against the principal.the managers pressured an employee to provide him with her password to the site.

and laws regulating confidential information). employers should consider adding a blogging provision to any existing Internet or electronic communication policy or creating a separate policy on blogging. Many states prohibit employers from taking action against employees who engage in lawful off-duty activities. When addressing blogging by employees. include such a statement in the blog policy. Legal considerations. blogs can also be used to harass or defame co-workers or others. Include a statement that the blogger should respect the dignity of others and refrain from posting personal information about or pictures of co-workers. Blogging has grown quickly in recent years both with regard to the number of individuals reading and posting to blogs and the number of blogs available on the Internet. N Media. Blogging Policy Issues and questions to consider when formulating a blogging policy include: N Confidentiality. Describe what obligations employees have to maintain the company’s and customers’ proprietary information in confidence (including existing policies. If an employer requires employees to disclose all business developments or ideas that are within the scope of the company’s business. If the company allows the employee to use company facilities to create or maintain the blog. In order to prevent inappropriate blogging. Are employees permitted to reference the company in their blog entries? If yes. However. contracts. the company may be liable for the illegal actions of the employee. employees should be asked to include a disclaimer stating that the blog posting represents their personal opinions and is not the official position of the company. May employees use a blog to tout competitors? Criticize competitors? Disparage competitors? Defame competitors? N Identification. N Respect of dignity. N Business developments/ideas. supervisors.It is also a good idea to train employees on the proper and improper use of social networking at or relating to work. There have been a number of highly publicized cases in which employees were disciplined or fired for disclosing confidential or proprietary information about their companies and/or describing their employers in an unflattering light. employers should be aware of legal issues such as the employee’s right to free speech and free association and the right to be free from restriction on off-duty activities. Blogging A blog (short for “Web log”) is an online journal where the writer posts his or her opinions on the Internet about any topic—including the workplace. N Competitors. or managers. May employees comment to the media about the company’s business or about customers? May they publicly criticize customers? Vendors? Co-workers? Supervisors or managers? The company? 18 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 .

etc. N Correlate with other policies. computer systems. it is unlikely to bring an enforcement action against a company for the actions of a single “rogue” employee who violated an established company policy. harassment. In the past. and the like. Practice tip: In addition to the tips above. at any time. These guidelines could affect employers if their employees tout a product or service on a social networking site or blog without mentioning the employer/employee relationship. duty of loyalty. the FTC has brought law enforcement actions against companies whose failure to establish or maintain appropriate internal procedures resulted in consumer injury. citizens instead of passively waiting for people to visit their websites. confidentiality. up to and including the immediate termination of employment. files. ©Business & Legal Reports.) for compliance with this policy and monitors the use of its name and trademarks on the Internet. N Deleting. However. 30610860 19 . copyrights. State that the company monitors its facilities (Internet. The FTC has stated that when determining whether to initiate an enforcement action. FTC Guidelines on Testimonials and Endorsements The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued guidelines requiring individuals who are paid to provide testimonials and endorsements on social networking sites to reveal that they are being compensated (16 CFR 255. Include references to related policies such as computer and Internet use policies. What discipline will be imposed if the employee violates the policy? Generally. and storage media any unauthorized materials it may find. it will consider whether the employer had policies and practices relating to employee participation in social media. computer systems. employers should reserve the right to decide the appropriate level of discipline in any given circumstance. proprietary rights. and maintain their websites/blogs? Are employees permitted to read and post messages to blogs during work time or from the workplace? N Monitoring. Companies should also enforce these policies as a matter of good business practice and to ensure their credibility in case the FTC reviews a situation. State that the company will delete from its website.5).S. N Discipline. Best Practice: Look to Social Media for Disaster Preparedness Updates Certain federal departments and agencies are utilizing Twitter and Facebook to proactively reach out to U. Inc. networks. media.N Facilities. design. employers should make sure that their blogging and/or social networking policies contain provisions requiring employees to reveal their employment status whenever they discuss company products or services using these media. May employees use company facilities to develop. and without notice.

An example of one emergency Tweet from “readydotgov.gov One great resource for businesses and individual citizens for advance planning of all types of emergencies is www. The introductory page for businesses is www.gov/america/beinformed/ index.” 20 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . it is a good idea to check it annually as many communities change the locations of shelters and sometimes even evacuation routes due to changing population sizes and community needs.S. available through the U.html.cdc.bt .twitter . natural disasters. fires. Department of Homeland Security. so you can sign up to receive Tweets (posts) in the form of emergency messages and tips to help prepare for emergencies. floods. The CDC The CDC website has a section on Emergency Preparedness and Response including public health emergencies.Ready.gov is now on Twitter.) For both individuals and businesses. and locations of emergency shelters. For example. chemical threats. click on the “Natural Disasters and Severe Weather” button to access information about specific disasters. The introductory page for individuals is www. making a plan. you can get information under “Prepare Before the Storm” about getting supplies. From the main page. the site advises that you keep eye wash solution in a kit at your disposal in order to flush your eyes or to use it as a general decontaminant. The CDC also has plenty of information for your employees to begin planning for weather disasters that could affect their families’ health and well-being. “CDCemergency. Several emergency situations are listed. Ready. along with detailed information regarding what businesses should do to prepare for each and what to do if they occur: among these are biological threats.ready. one of the first things that the CDC recommends when an individual or a business is beginning to create a hurricane preparation plan is to learn about your community’s emergency plans. such as hurricanes.ready. earthquakes.gov. blackouts. and hurricanes. what to include in a basic emergency kit. and learning about hurricane recovery. and severe weather at www. Even if you already have this information.html.ready. warning signals. The Twitter ID is “readydotgov” and you can sign up at no cost for this service at www. Under the hurricanes section. Just key “readydotgov” into the search window to access recent Tweets. explosions. and what to keep in a first-aid kit.gov/ business/index. evacuation routes. there are many downloadable resources (in PDF format) that are available at no cost via the above links.com.” in May was an alert to readers about a tornado watch in portions of south-central Kansas and central and western Oklahoma. not just disasters. providing a link for more information. (For example. This section provides details regarding creating a family emergency plan. The first-aid kit information is valuable for everyday life.gov. The CDC also shares emergency alert tweets on Twitter using the following Twitter ID.

Simple tasks like printing on both sides of paper. If you want to stay competitive or gain an advantage. and Registration. It’ll keep you ahead of the regs. is also a division of the U. It’s simple. 30610860 21 . In a recent World Economic Forum survey. Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS).This is a great opportunity for you to shine in the eyes of your workers and be an employer of choice because most employees link positive environmental and social activities to brand reputation. known as FEMA. corporations are finding that jumping on the sustainability train benefits their bottom line. Department of Homeland Security. It’ll save money. 3. 4.S. turning off computers and lights during nonworking hours. recycle. If you play in the global market you’ll have to follow several European directives like Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). cutting energy costs and waste will save your company money. or general office space. It’s easy! Whether it’s a factory.You can easily train workers to save energy. Most employees are interested in how their company is practicing corporate social responsibility. and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH). #5 Corporate Social Responsibility and the Green Movement 5 Reasons Why You Need a Green Program You know that green programs are good for business. and conducting water audits can add up to a huge savings for your company. opportunities to be green are in every workplace. more than half of the companies said they produce a sustainability report separate from their annual reports. and reduce waste at little cost to your company. 5. 1. FEMA is the agency that assists individuals and state and local emergency management agencies when a major emergency occurs.FEMA The Federal Emergency Management Agency. Your competitors probably have one. Inc. Evaluation. Here are some convincing reasons from a recent BLR® audio conference to help you pitch starting a green program at your company. Going Green: Not Just Good Deeds … Good Business With climate change and environmental pollution topping industry news. plant. ©Business & Legal Reports. Your workers want it. 2. a green program will help you do that. so why is it so hard to get upper management buy-in? Maybe it’s because they don’t fully understand all of the benefits of a green program.

Corporate Communications. companies are finding that sustainability is good for business and has a positive impact on the bottom line. Baxter’s Reasons for Sustainability Baxter International. At a NAEM Forum. Our Common Future: “meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. N It supports the company’s mission of sustaining lives. balancing business operations with social. and environmental responsibilities may determine business performance in the future. N It enhances the company’s reputation among various stakeholder groups. Some of the benefits of having a sustainable business or going green include: N Sets a positive example for stakeholders N Boosts morale. Corporations are also discovering that demonstrating a commitment to sustainability offers a competitive advantage—nationally and globally—and it makes good business sense. And what exactly does that mean to you as a business owner? Sustainability is a proactive approach on the part of a company for managing natural resources and reducing environmental and social impacts that ensures viability and enhances reputation with stakeholders (employees. Why Go Green? The answer. corporate responsibility and sustainable business practices can encourage creativity and innovation. economic. offered these reasons why Baxter International believes sustainability makes good business sense: N It differentiates Baxter from other companies. customers. is a company that has focused on sustainability for many years. Elaine Salewske. leads to recruiting and retaining the best employees N Builds customer loyalty N Positions you as supplier of choice N Sets your operations beyond compliance and reduces your risks N Benefits the community and the environment Of course. a multinational healthcare products manufacturer. lies in the bottom line. As sustainability progresses from disjointed projects to a philosophy integrated at all business levels. N It helps identify and manage risk. senior manager. N It drives efficiency and creates a competitive advantage. 22 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . as always.” Sustainability is the premier buzz word and one of the significant global issues facing business today.But what is sustainability? The Brundtland Commission issued the most commonly recognized definition of sustainability in its 1987 report. and suppliers). while not compromising profitability. Although every organization has a different vision of how sustainability fits into their business model.

You must also invest in steps to meet your goals. the report allowed Baxter to establish a baseline and demonstrate progress over time. ©Business & Legal Reports. Triple Bottom Line In the “Age of Corporate Responsibility. and natural resources to offer supplies. 30610860 23 . a business is simply unsustainable in the long run.” a commitment to sustainability implies a commitment to triple bottom line reporting:“People. The phrase “triple bottom line” was coined by John Elkington in his 1998 book Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business.However.S. N Create a workable program to achieve measurable results. states. It is a serious and increasingly recognized concept. in order to fully take advantage of the benefits that a robust sustainability program will create. Inc. this means expanding the traditional reporting framework to take into account environmental and social performance in addition to financial performance. Challenges of ‘Going Green’ Moving toward sustainable business practices can present challenges in balancing economic interests against social and environmental concerns. N Get employees on board and committed. Communicate objectives with stakeholders. Baxter International produced their first sustainability report in 1999 and. information must get to the appropriate stakeholders. The following concerns can easily be curbed if your focus remains on demonstrating commitment— especially from top management. business decisions considered only profit—but now the triple bottom line recognizes that without happy. Sustainable practices need to be taken seriously by devoting time to define objectives and set goals. Encourage input so they can see themselves as valuable team players. more and more companies are producing annual sustainability reports to document their efforts as good corporate citizens and progress toward reducing their environmental footprint. A number of corporations have advocated for sustainable corporation laws that grant triple bottom line or sustainable businesses benefits such as tax breaks and low-priority routine inspections.” In practical terms. Profit. Triple bottom line is an ongoing process as companies continually adapt to the changing marketplace and the environment. For example. and companies are embracing it as a way to demonstrate commitment to sustainable business growth. including Minnesota and Oregon. As a result. healthy people. N Secure time and money. Triple bottom line legislation is under consideration in some U. according to Salewske. a cleaner environment to sustain those people. In the past. If your employees see a real commitment and enthusiasm through communication. which ultimately helps the company advance its various sustainability programs. it will trickle down. Planet. in addition to providing stakeholders with an overview of company performance.

) —e-mail. Your sustainability program should be built on the “Plan. Act” approach. You must take a closed-loop approach to obtain and sustain maximum benefits—this enables continuous improvement. create an incentive program to encourage proactive involvement by employees. N Distribute employee questionnaire—no more than 8 questions. Do. 2. determine what systems to use to disseminate information with stakeholders (employees. customers. Create a timeframe to meet your goals. Once you’ve assessed your current situation. for continual improvement. Start small—target a few areas for improvement and commit to those. N Contact suppliers for exact costs. Step 1—Plan First. Focus on ideas that require minimal capital investment. Involve all employees—motivation is key to a successful green program. This follows the ISO 14001 and ISO 9100 management systems model. 1. Check. as described here. posters. and you can set your goals. Keep your focus on the triple bottom line. 3. you will know the direction you should take. create a “green team” and appoint a respected person with project management experience as coordinator of the team. investors. Be realistic about what is possible in a given timeframe. Members of the team should come from all levels and areas of your company and must include one person from top management. N Conduct an energy audit. Next. Tip: Start with an energy-saving or conservation plan—it is easy to implement. training presentations. assess your current situation to determine your energy consumption. Getting Started There is no one-size-fits-all solution to developing a green policy or sustainable workplace. etc. Finally. N Consider variations in energy use.You must work with what you have and remember that your employees are your best resource. and identify how and where energy and materials are being wasted or usage reduced. 24 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . Then. Secure a budget for promotional materials and possible upgrades or for the purchase of energy-efficient technologies. improve. 4. easily measured. or word of mouth. and adapt a green program with a forward-looking focus. and may present immediate benefits.N Maintain. Participate in business partnerships to share best practices.

blr. customers. A sustainability report is a great way to communicate progress and demonstrate commitment to investors. ©Business & Legal Reports. Planet. safety. and environmental compliance solutions and has 150 employees. Some companies have a special launch event. you must monitor and measure progress— perform audits. the publisher of this special report. Be sure to communicate your progress internally and externally—and be transparent about it. Overall. identify corrective and preventive actions. Inc.com). employees. headquartered in Old Saybrook. BLR. Profit—your company can improve its operational efficiency and reputation among stakeholders. including new employee orientation. (www. compensation. 30610860 25 . The program should be integrated into all areas of your business. consider any recommendations and act on needed improvements.Step 2—Do After you define roles. Best Practice: BLR’s Green Team Helps Employees Be Enviro Conscious Empowered staff with a special interest can start the ball rolling for an entire organization. Connecticut. regulators. Step 4—Act After upper management has reviewed your progress. Your Outlook If you take corporate responsibility and sustainable business seriously—People. Develop training materials for your employees. and authority among members of your green team. Be sure to document everything so you are able to communicate results and findings to top management for review. Step 3—Check To see the results of your program. while reducing risk exposure and encouraging loyalty and innovation. In order to fully take advantage of the benefits that a robust sustainability program will create. responsibilities. If you find areas that need improvement. information must get to the appropriate stakeholders. is a provider of employment. Inc. you can implement your new program. And remember also to convey results to employees to keep motivation up on all levels. That’s exactly what happened with an environmental sustainability initiative at Business & Legal Resources. and joint venture partners will see your company as a good investment and a company of choice.

The main focus of the Green Team is to increase awareness among staff members and educate them so that employees glean knowledge that will help save the environment and money—at home as well as at work.” explains Ellington. an agency that promotes public transportation for commuting and carpooling. Rideworks (www. the beginning of the sustainability efforts at BLR. such as cookies and other dessert items. The Green Team The Green Team was formed with seven employees who meet every 2 weeks. explains Czepiel. the Green Team tries to make their efforts interesting and in many cases. they set about together creating presentations for employees about reducing waste and increasing environmental sustainability. Of course. report that because they both have a strong interest in pollution prevention and sustainability.“And also our company had purchased two new servers. and putting the computers on hibernate. who immediately supported Ellington and Czepiel’s efforts and provided a small budget for the establishment of a companywide green program.com). in organizing BLR’s first Green Fair in May.Ana Ellington.“We had the challenge of employees not understanding the importance of turning things [equipment and lights] off. electric suppliers that offered discounted power 26 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . with employees supplying their own brown bag lunches and reusable mugs or glasses to enjoy lemonade or iced tea. Everything that was served. A Green Fair Maturo took the lead. The fair included outside vendors that sell energy conservation hybrid vehicles. comments. Their first presentation regarded how to achieve a paperless office. One of the Team’s first initiatives was a “Shut It Off” campaign. turning off the lights. explains Ellington. J.. The Green Team was in attendance to answer questions about the Team’s activities. HR generalist and also a Green Team member.“We had to work on changing employees’ behaviors to stop and think about turning off the monitors. with smaller subsets of the team consisting of two or three employees to work on specific tasks and projects. Chief Operations Officer Brian Gurnham and Managing Editor—Environmental Clare Condon. another member of the Green Team and BLR’s purchasing agent.rideworks. These employee training presentations. along with Nancy McAnany. two companies that focused on solar energy. were noticed by senior executives. energy-saving robotic lawnmowers and solar-powered lawnmowers (which zipped around the BLR grounds). senior editor.D. fun as well. notes Czepiel. made by the Green Team and presented in large thermoses instead of disposable containers. explains Ellington. legal editor.” Andrea Maturo. so we had a significant increase in energy use due to that. held in a format similar to BLR’s annual employee health fair.” Earth Day in April provided an opportunity for BLR employees to have lunch together out on the patio. was presented on reusable platters. she adds. and Amanda Czepiel.

says Czepiel. the results can be reported to employees and upper management. Seal drafty doors.’ companies that are prepared to demonstrate that they operate according to sustainable policies are proving to have a competitive edge. also available for the public to see.rates. comments Ellington. 5. and Maturo agree that keeping the initiatives in front of your employees is also extremely important.blrgreenteam. as well as on office machines such as copiers. The blog. who heads the BLR Green Team. monitors. Better yet. BLR’s Green Team (which also includes employees Margaret Amore. plug them into power strips so it’s one easy switch to turn them all off and on. Inc. Shut off any lights you are not using. e-mails to staff and periodic events and training sessions. and televisions when not in use. cable boxes. windows. a better reputation. We took the tips that they had and created two different models [a series of questions and a spreadsheet] and found that the spreadsheet was easier to use. an organic lawn care service. Use the energy-savings setting on all appliances. says BLR Senior Editor Ana Ellington. An Environmental Audit Another effort that the Green Team has worked on is an environmental office audit. Unplug computers. 3. Department of Energy. and the local gas and electric companies. 30610860 27 . 1. which offered energy conservation tips and home energy audits. Linda Costa. 2. modems. visit www. provides updates and resources for environmental sustainability efforts.“The idea was gleaned from the U. Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Leadership Support Counts Ellington notes that senior management support and leadership becomes paramount in order for staff to take an organization’s sustainability initiatives seriously. BLR does that through its blogs posted at least twice a week. higher retention of good employees. 4. To see it. ©Business & Legal Reports. and decreased costs. 10 Tips to Go Green—And Save Some Green! “With growing pressure to go ‘green.S.com. Czepiel. Maturo explains. and Barbara Mathieu) also put together a booth to educate employees about everything that the Green Team had been doing. In turn. says Ellington. The information gathered creates a baseline so that progress can be tracked in obtaining Energy Star-rated equipment when equipment is replaced. and holes around plumbing fixtures to keep out winter cold and summer heat.” The Green Team conducted the organizationwide audit with input from different departments. particularly air conditioners and refrigerators. The Green Team also stresses that it’s important to be flexible and rework your programming and communication as necessary. Ellington. They use less than 25% of the electricity of standard bulbs and last 10 times longer.

biogas. Inc.” said Bowman. EEOC “is more energized” with investigations and has “a renewed focus on systemic issues.energystar.“Are employers talking about disability accommodation or religious accommodation? Do compliance programs include age and national origin discrimination? These are all topics that we’re seeing in terms of EEOC charges.000 and that over 200 new investigators will help to trim that backlog while producing stronger enforcement of regulations going forward. according to Reid Bowman. and low-impact hydro. such as increased scrutiny on company background screening processes.“Green power” is defined as electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable. Drive less! Walk. geothermal. general counsel for ELT.“Juries really believe in retaliation and as a consequence. biomass. Esq. “From the EEOC charges.” With the current infusion of dollars into its budget.” commented Bowman. and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will affect your company?” on BLR’s HR Concerns for 2011 survey.. They use electricity even when they aren’t charging! 7. 10. During a recent webinar. 8. wind. When asked. which use 10% to 50% less electricity than standard models.6. Esq. Unplug cell phone and PDA chargers when not in use. Use green power. Retaliation Claims Margaret Hart Edwards. shareholder of Littler Mendelson (www. for example. #6 Increasing Investigations Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Federal legislation has been enacted to expand the compliance efforts of federal agencies in 2010 and beyond. 9. The EEOC has received an additional $23 million for its budget with an appropriation passed in December 2009.“Do you feel that the increasing investigations by the IRS. Bowman explained that EEOC’s case backlog was about 70. Switch to paperless bank statements and bill paying to save millions of trees and billions of gallons of water—plus the cost of stamps. renewable sources such as solar.littler. since they may have an adverse impact on certain population groups. Consider Energy Star®–qualified appliances.. retaliation 28 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . bike. A list of qualified products is available at www. or take public transportation.com). 34% responded positively. added that retaliation claims are also in the forefront of EEOC investigators’ and juries’ minds. we see that [some] employers are only addressing sexual harassment or workplace compliance and might be overlooking overall EEOC compliance. DOL.gov.

. Tennessee (No.gov): “President Obama also continues to support the ENDA and believes that our antidiscrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Inc. filing a false report with an unemployment compensation office. 06-1595)). explained Edwards. and special provisions regarding dressing and grooming standards. was introduced again in June 2009 in Congress with gender identity back in the bill (HR 3017). and in November 2009. regardless of perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. most recently passed by the House of Representatives in November 2007.“It is any time you take action against someone because they’re engaged in a protected activity.” Edwards cited a Supreme Court decision in 2009 (Crawford v.“ENDA wouldn’t create any exceptions to sexual harassment prohibition.” commented Edwards.White decided by the Supreme Court in 2006 (No. or disability and dropped the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity. restrooms. hearings were held before the House Education and Labor Committee.verdicts tend to run much larger [monetarily] than verdicts for ordinary discrimination. and it includes participating in any investigation.” She notes that Obama signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in October 2009. gender identity.” she says. “Retaliatory conduct is any conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in opposition to unlawful conduct. The Employment NonDiscrimination Act (ENDA).” she explained. etc. and false references to damage job prospects. which includes making an informal complaint internally or a formal complaint in a lawsuit. noted Edwards. It would also include special provisions regarding what to do with shared showers. Once that is done.” Policy and Training Review HR executives should do a thorough review of policies and practices if they haven’t within the past 12 months. In September 2009. Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County. in light of already enacted legislation and in preparation for the legislation that is ahead. sexual orientation.” Edwards’ take on ENDA is this: Why wait until this federal legislation is passed (which she believes will occur this year or next year)—start preparing now. She shared the broad definition of retaliation that is followed by EEOC. the Senate Health. they should turn a critical eye toward their training and revamp it where needed in order to prevent potential claims. without gender identity included. Labor. Edwards cited a quote from the White House website (www. She explained that what is prohibited conduct has been broadened through the Crawford case and through Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. Education.whitehouse. and Pensions Committee held hearings on ENDA as well. “Retaliation can reach beyond the workplace. ©Business & Legal Reports. 30610860 29 . 05-259). which “expanded existing federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender. The employee doesn’t have to be right—just operating in good faith. but would make any sexual harassment policies applicable to all. Some specific areas include “filing false criminal claims. suggests Edwards.” Another area that employers should be watching is sexual orientation and gender identification discrimination issues. v.

family responsibility discrimination. Information from an employer’s records will not be revealed to unauthorized persons. and be advised by DOL to make changes in employment practices in order to avoid future violations. the employment of vulnerable workers. These records include those showing the employer’s annual dollar volume of business transactions. The investigator has sufficient latitude to initiate unannounced investigations in many cases in order to directly observe normal business operations and develop factual information quickly. WHD does not typically disclose the reason for an investigation. WHD often targets low-wage industries because of high rates of violations or egregious violations. which also highlights racial discrimination issues. Occasionally. N Interviews with certain employees in private to verify the employer’s payroll and time records. a number of businesses in a specific geographic area are examined. and whether a complaint exists may not be disclosed. During an investigation. although investigators will often advise an employer before opening the investigation. In 30 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . In addition to complaints. DOL representatives visit a business and gather data on wages. so the name of the worker. involvement in interstate commerce. and equal pay issues. Many are initiated by complaints. N Examination of payroll and time records and taking notes or making transcriptions or photocopies essential to the investigation. face penalties. or rapid changes in an industry such as growth or decline. the employer may owe back pay. and to confirm that minors are legally employed. if any. industries.com/newsand-events/webinars. If violations are found. and access the entire webinar by clicking on the link found there. Interviews are normally conducted on the employer’s premises. The objective of targeted investigations is to improve compliance with the laws in those businesses. N Examination of up to 3 years of records to determine which laws or exemptions apply. and other employment conditions or practices in order to determine compliance with the law. and work on government contracts. DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) conducts investigations for a number of reasons. WHD does not require an investigator to previously announce the scheduling of an investigation.elt-inc. go to www. An investigation consists of the following steps: N Visitation and inspection of the business under investigation. Regardless of the particular reason that prompted the investigation. the nature of the complaint. or localities. Wage and Hour Investigations Wage and hour investigations are on the rise. hours. under the “Past Webinars” listing. 2010. to identify workers’ particular duties in sufficient detail to decide which exemptions apply. all investigations are conducted in accordance with established policies and procedures. all having to do with enforcement of the laws and assuring an employer’s compliance. All complaints are confidential.To view the entire webinar. scroll down to May 20. WHD selects certain types of businesses or industries for investigation.

and to encourage greater compliance by employers. Any employers that seek to exclude workers from the FLSA’s coverage will be required to perform a classification analysis. This is an issue of transparency and is critical to workers’ understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities. and retain that analysis to give to WHD enforcement personnel who might request it. The current recordkeeping regulations require covered employers to keep specified payroll records and other information but do not require that such information or other information regarding a worker’s employment or exemption status be disclosed to the worker. after health care. 30610860 31 . The employer will be told whether violations have occurred. and unambiguous pay records for every employee for each pay period from the past 3 years. DOL is considering a proposed rule requiring covered employers to notify workers of their rights under the FLSA. the investigator will request payment of back wages and may ask the employer to compute the amount due. well-organized wage and hour records that can be produced quickly. If back wages are owed to employees because of minimum wage or overtime violations. Inc. accurate. The proposal will also address burdens of proof when employers fail to comply with records and notice requirements. the Department plans to amend laws concerning recordkeeping for exempt employees and companionship services.some instances. disclose that analysis to the worker. it is imperative that employers strive to keep accurate. to increase awareness among workers. #7 Employee FLSA Classifications According to DOL’s 2010 Spring Regulatory Agenda. Amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Recordkeeping Regulations DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) intends to update the FLSA recordkeeping requirements to foster openness and transparency. BLR’s HR Concerns for 2011 survey revealed that these potential requirements are the second most pressing concern for HR professionals in 2011. and to provide information regarding hours worked and wage computation. DOL looks for complete. ©Business & Legal Reports. what they are. N When all the fact-finding steps have been completed. the investigator will ask to meet with the employer or a representative who has authority to reach decisions and commit the employer to corrective actions if violations have occurred. present and former employees may be interviewed at their homes or by mail or telephone. As a result. and how to correct them.

Employers covered by the FLSA are currently required to provide notice regarding the Act and to keep records on wages. regular rate of pay (nonovertime rate) when overtime is worked. The Wage and Hour Division intends to consider amendments to the regulations in light of the changed nature of the employment relationship for the majority of the companions to the aged and infirm. DOL also intends to address the scope of training required to render a worker “trained personnel” excluded from the companionship exemption. Most of the information required to be kept is of the kind employers generally would maintain in ordinary business practices. Amendments to the FLSA Companionship Services Regulations DOL intends to update the companionship services regulations in order to clarify when domestic service employees. address. who provide companionship services to the aged or infirm. The regulations governing this exemption have remained largely unchanged since they were promulgated in 1975. hours. and to reflect the Secretary’s strategic objectives. and other items. 32 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . to enhance awareness among workers of their status as employees or independent contractors and employee rights and entitlements to minimum wage and overtime pay. as specified in recordkeeping regulations established to ensure compliance with the various provisions of the Act. are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA. DOL intends to consider whether the current exemption of companions working for a party other than the family or household using the companionship services is consistent with the status of a companion in light of significant changes in the homecare industry. date of birth (if under 19 years of age). and to facilitate DOL enforcement. DOL intends to consider whether the scope of the companionship exemption as currently defined in the regulations continues to be appropriate in light of substantial changes in the homecare industry over the last 35 years. The FLSA was amended in 1974 to exempt companions for the aged and infirm from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Act and granted the Secretary regulatory authority to define and delimit the terms of this exemption. hours worked per day and per week. the increased formalization of this sector of the labor market. and the amount of household work that may be performed by the worker without losing the companionship exemption. and deductions from or additions to pay. Employers must keep additional information on certain employees who are homebased or work under uncommon pay arrangements or to whom lodging or other facilities are furnished or other special requirements apply. Updating the recordkeeping requirements to promote transparency is expected to encourage greater levels of compliance by employers. Required records generally include the employee’s name. amount of straight time earnings and overtime pay for each workweek. The FLSA generally requires employers to pay minimum wage and overtime unless otherwise exempt. The regulations also specify the records an employer must keep in order to confirm that particular exemptions from some of the FLSA’s requirements may apply.

7 million jobs will be available in local. explains “After the Recovery: Help Needed. The authors’ research shows that there could be 14. If this shift to an ever-increasing older population follows the same retirement pattern as earlier generations.” written by Barry Bluestone and Mark Melnik of the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. Census Bureau to be 47 million between 2015 and 2030.“Encore careers combine personal fulfillment. enabling people to put their passion to work for the greater good. including self-employed workers. The white paper predicts that the social sector. state. educational services. by 2018. Trying Something New The authors suggest that instead of retiring out of the workforce altogether. Baby Boomers should consider “encore careers. and special education teachers. nonprofit community and religious organizations. and those in farming.3 million new positions. with an unemployment rate close to 10%. museums.” Specific job titles listed in the executive summary of the white paper that the authors believe would particularly benefit from the presence of Baby Boomers include: primary. libraries. and government. according to the white paper. will have more than 5. and continued income. and another 1. The authors note that the best example is the early 1940s (coming after the Great Depression). 30610860 33 . The authors estimate that there will be approximately 9.#8 Retirement of the Baby Boomers Labor Shortages Are Predicted: ‘Encore Careers’ May Be Solution The United States. Baby Boomers will leave a large void in the labor force.S. the increase in the number of individuals 55 and older will be more than double the increase of those aged 20 to 54 (an additional 25 million versus an additional 12 million). and federal government agencies.9 million new social sector jobs overall. They expect a similar labor shortage after recovery from the current recession. the performing arts.S. with an expected return to healthy economic growth and with no change in current U. History shows that after a recovery from a recession. consisting of industries covering health care and social assistance. secondary.2 million new jobs. labor shortages typically follow. labor force participation rates or immigration rates. is still in the throes of a major recession. With population growth projected by the U. childcare workers and ©Business & Legal Reports. with a grand total of 15. social impact. Inc. along with the rest of the world.” According to the white paper.1 million additional workers to fill all positions. totaling 6. family members working in a family business. But according to a new white paper. there will likely be more jobs than people to fill them.9 million new nonfarm payroll jobs created between 2008 and 2018.

teacher assistants.7%. if not accelerate.” 34 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 .4% of adults aged 55 or older were in the workforce.4% were working. “Consequently. according to a recent study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI). licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses. instead of having to tap into their savings to pay for their expenses.” the report explains. 29. all race/ethnicity categories. nursing aides.org/ research. and social and human services assistants. business operations specialists. “Workers increasingly are facing more responsibility in paying for their retirement expenses. To access and download the entire white paper at no cost. 18. The opinions and analysis shared in the white paper are based on forecasts of population growth from the Census Bureau. 1987-2008” study. official forecasts of job growth and labor force participation from the U. and estimates of the number of jobs in specific occupations based on the Labor Market Assessment Tool developed jointly by the Dukakis Center and the Research Division of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. registered nurses.2%). the need) to continue to accumulate assets in defined contribution plans and to have access to employment-based health insurance coverage. general and operations managers.S. For example. in 1993. part-year work—over the 21-year period from 1987 to 2008. and in 2006.” EBRI suggests in its “Employment Status of Workers Ages 55 or Older.” The study adds. full-year.encore. U. in 1985. “Private-sector workers who have access to an employment-based retirement plan most commonly have a defined contribution plan (typically a 401(k) plan. medical and health service managers. and all educational levels. the EBRI study found that. personal and homecare aides. with those possessing a college degree being the most likely (at 68. such as the ability (and in some cases. clergy.S.” Viewing older workers by educational level. Workers Toil on Through Their Twilight Years Many Americans have altered their retirement plans.Younger near-elderly/elderly workers were far more likely to be working full-time.“The well-documented aging of the labor force that is now underway will most likely continue. orderlies and attendants. medical assistants. in 2008. “The employment status of workers age 55 or older has significantly moved toward full-time. this figure rose to 39. as the first members of the postWorld War II Baby Boom generation have now surpassed age 60. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “This trend was found across all groups age 55 or older. In the group of adults aged 65 to 69. but older workers had larger percentage-point increases in full-time. this figure increased to 30. receptionists and information clerks. home health aides. workers today have greater incentives to stay in the workforce. financed at least partially with workers’ own contributions). full-year work from 1987 to 2008. according to EBRI. and retiree health insurance is becoming increasingly scarce. full-year work—with a corresponding decline in part-time. and in 2008. workers over 55 who had attained higher educations were more likely to work fulltime.4%. visit www.

he cautions. The best way to deliver that message is for employers to make a “reasonable and consistent contribution every year” to employees’ retirement plans. Inc. Acheson says each plan participant should receive a similar computerized analysis explaining their projected income from all sources in retirement.“When evaluating the investment funds available on a particular investment platform.e.“A lot of plan providers strictly make available actively managed funds because there are more fees involved. Map out projected income. LP (www. 5. Position retirement plans as part of the compensation package.” Acheson says. look to a custodian offering open architecture” (i. are met and associated plan sponsor liabilities are minimized. this process is important because “not all retirement plans are created equal. Look for an open architecture investment platform. Communicate the importance of saving for retirement. “Restrictions usually are a result of revenue-sharing agreements between a fund and the platform provider or the platform provider is pushing their own proprietary options. Plan sponsors “must communicate to participants that their retirement plan is a valuable part of their overall compensation. 4. 7. this trend of older workers staying in the workforce will be helpful to employers requiring the expertise and skill sets of seasoned professionals in order to rebuild business profits and expand products and services.. to create better preset portfolio options.com/ya4gwin. visit http://tinyurl. Hire a professional. according to Jeff Acheson.” Acheson says. offers 12 key points to help create better retirement outcomes for plan sponsors and plan participants: 1. Look for ways to incrementally improve long-term results with better performing funds.com). Consider using a mix of actively and passively managed funds.” 8. he says. Actively managed funds outperform passively managed funds only about 30% of the time—over time—but the fees 35 ©Business & Legal Reports.sdwealthmanagement. 3.As the international economy continues to move toward recovery. known as ERISA. 12 Points to Consider with Retirement Plan Options Many employers that provide retirement benefits to their employees do not have the resources or time to thoroughly research retirement plan alternatives and options. Engaging a fiduciary service to manage retirement plans will help ensure that fiduciary responsibilities mandated under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.” Acheson. A provision in the Pension Protection Act of 2006 established the regulatory framework for plan sponsors to automatically enroll participants in retirement plans—to help overcome participant apathy. 2. Keep it simple. partner and managing director of Retirement Plan Solutions for Schneider Downs Wealth Management Advisors. Just as the Social Security Administration issues annual projections to individuals about their future benefits. QPFC. 30610860 . However. and to reduce overall investment and plan management costs. To access the complete 16-page report. no imposed restrictions). 6. Provide auto enrollment.

The ADAAA requires government contractors to look more closely at applicants and employees to determine whether they are considered to be disabled. Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). and many plan sponsors are questioning the value received for the fees paid. 36 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . Acheson recommends that plan sponsors “demand” that their current provider disclose all of the fees being paid.” 11. 2009. Then. Provide older participants access to a retirement planning advisor. the plan sponsor can solicit requests for proposals from other plan providers (in the same format) and compare the fees. expanded the definitions of who is considered an individual with a disability. which took effect January 1. 9. most people are better served by hiring an outside advisor to “professionally design an investment portfolio that automatically adjusts itself over time” and that provides the “best opportunity for long-term performance.“most people wing it. Participants need to understand the importance of turning to a professional fiduciary to manage retirement plan investments. Look at fee disclosure and transparency issues.charged for actively managed funds are significantly higher. allowing more individuals to claim coverage under the law.000 or more must take affirmative action to employ mentally or physically qualified disabled individuals.” he says. The amendments substantially broaden the definition of “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).pdf). Educate participants. using DOL’s 401(k) Plan Disclosure Form (www. When it comes to money management.dol. #9 Government Contracts New Section 503 Disability Regulations Under Section 503 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This requirement is part of OFCCP regulations that implement the Rehabilitation Act. 12.“Far too many participants do a good job accumulating money and then make poor decisions immediately following retirement and undo years of hard work and financial prudence.gov/ebsa/pdf/401kfefm. Recommend use of an outside investment advisor. Noting that fees vary widely by plan provider.” says Acheson. 10. an employer with a government contract or subcontract amounting to $10. Covered employers are required to take all necessary actions to ensure that no one attempts to intimidate or discriminate against an individual for filing a complaint or participating in a proceeding under Section 503. Consequently.

roughly 30% of all on-site reviews conducted by OFCCP found recruitment violations pertaining to protected veterans. According to Jin. In order to strengthen enforcement. OFCCP has. As a result. OFCCP has instituted a new protocol that requires OFCCP compliance officers to go on-site and verify how contractors are treating protected veterans and people with disabilities. In FY 2010. Jin cited OFCCP’s “ambitious process of making major regulatory revisions to our enforcement program that will allow OFCCP among other things.142 desk audits and conducted 683 on-site visits. more than doubling the amount referred in FY 2009 and tripling the number from FY 2008. Jin also reported that OFCCP has completed more than 450 evaluations of contractors who received federal funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. rather than simply accepting contractors’ self-reporting. Also. would require federal contractors and subcontractors to strengthen affirmative action programs and measure the effectiveness of their equal employment opportunity efforts with quantitative dates. Les Jin. OFCCP announced a proposal to revise VEVRAA’s regulations in DOL’s Spring 2010 Regulatory Agenda. for the “worst offenders” OFCCP will impose contract-related sanctions against contractors or subcontractors for failure to comply with the laws enforced by OFCCP and their implementing regulations. help veterans get good jobs. part of the Committee on Veterans Affairs. according to Jin.917 establishments.” Chief among these regulatory revisions are OFCCP’s recent proposed changes to VEVRAA and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. to . Priority 2: Implementing the Regulatory Agenda In order to address specific questions regarding treatment of veterans. in FY 2010 OFCCP referred more than 34 cases to the Solicitor of Labor for litigation. for which OFCCP has performed 1. said Jin. become more aggressive in the way it resolves cases. OFCCP’s three priorities are: ◆ Strengthening enforcement. Jin stressed three of OFCCP’s top priorities and the means by which OFCCP intends to serve them. Specifically. and ◆ Identifying more individual complaints through greater outreach Priority 1: Strengthening Enforcement In 2009. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. ©Business & Legal Reports. OFCCP investigated a total of 3. OFCCP’s deputy director. Inc. According to Jin. In addition to on-site reviews.975 cases for evaluation this year. ◆ Implementing a robust regulatory agenda. this past fall.Congressional Testimony Outlines OFCCP’s Priorities In a recent statement to Congress. Speaking to the House Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. by its own admission. 30610800 37 . says Jin. more on-site reviews are necessary to improve OFCCP’s verification efforts and increase contractor accountability. OFCCP has 3. which is scheduled to be published next winter. Jin stressed OFCCP’s recent regulatory activities pertaining to The Vietnam Era Veterans Rehabilitation and Adjustment Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. revealed the agency’s top priorities on an agenda filled with enforcement activity. For example.

wellness programs must target the health concerns of employees and their families. employers must consider federal and state laws when setting up a workplace wellness program. in order to realize this return. In other words. employers must make sure wellness programs are well-focused and well-executed. In addition. ment goals and quantitative analysis versus the quality of data available and the burden this process can create for federal contractors. from simple things such as discounts in membership fees at health clubs and in weight loss programs to specific help with managing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Priority 3: Identifying Individual Complaints Through Outreach According to Jin’s testimony. OFCCP is utilizing social media. However. a new team at OFCCP dedicated to focusing on community-based engagement as part of “communication and outreach strategies” has formed. As a result. instead. However. the agency pursued fewer cases of discrimination against protected veterans and persons with disabilities. There is evidence that an effective workplace wellness program will result in a healthy return—both in terms of employee productivity and reduced healthcare costs. OFCCP believes that in recent years. which rarely raise systemic issues.” said Jin. partnerships with civil rights advocates and other grass roots efforts to educate veterans about their rights in the job market. in our schools. In order to give these claims priority. it isn’t surprising that wellness is a topic of discussion at home. As with any workplace program. Workplace wellness program offerings may vary. focusing on systemic discrimination across businesses and whole industries. and in the workplace. cases involving veterans and persons with disabilities will now receive priority. 38 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . As a result of the input received. #10 Workplace Wellness In this age of skyrocketing healthcare costs. at all levels of government. OFCCP is in the process of crafting proposed regulatory changes to Section 503 that “better address disparities that people with disabilities— including some veterans with disabilities—face in the workplace. OFCCP recently issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM).Also. the company must communicate with employees about the program and its benefits to make sure it is being used effectively. the agency has not prioritized individual complaints. in which the agency asked for public input on 18 key questions aimed at strengthening the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in order to help people with disabilities obtain employment. A total of 127 comments were submitted to the OFCCP focusing on the objective to set place.

30610860 39 . cofounder of the National Wellness Institute (http://www. and it prohibits employers from making medical inquiries or requiring medical examinations (unless job related and consistent with business necessity). Employers must treat any information acquired as a confidential medical record. offering employees the opportunity to voluntarily participate in health screening programs for high blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring is not likely to violate the ADA. and abstaining from harmful activities.nationalwellness . and control feelings and moods N Intellectual—mental health through developing creativity. Bill Hettler. it is a good idea to review any program with an attorney. The six dimensions are: N Physical—bodily health through exercise. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) The ADA requires employers to offer a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a known disability. Dr. and employers should work closely with insurance providers if the wellness program will offer financial incentives or benefits through group health plans. express.org). In 1979. Inc. Under the guidelines. and problem-solving skills N Occupational—job satisfaction through learning individual aptitudes and skills and finding meaning in work N Social—community connections through learning the part we play in our interconnected world N Spiritual—larger life questions through learning to choose and live by a set of values that give meaning to our lives Legal Issues Related to Workplace Wellness Programs Employers have a great deal of flexibility in designing wellness programs. as long as there is no penalty (economic or otherwise) for not participating. developed a model called The Six Dimensions of Wellness. learning ability.What Is Wellness? The concept of wellness encompasses every aspect of our lives. The EEOC has offered employers some guidance on the ADA’s restrictions on medical inquiries and examinations. However. nutrition. which is generally accepted by the wellness community. There are a number of laws to be aware of when developing and implementing these programs. an employer may conduct medical examinations and activities that are part of a voluntary wellness and health screening program. It is also unlawful under the ADA to take any adverse employment action based on an individual’s actual or perceived disability. ©Business & Legal Reports. such as smoking N Emotional—emotional health through learning to recognize. Therefore.

Health factors include: health status.Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) In late 2006. it must not exceed 20% of the cost of employee-only coverage under the plan. HIPAA nondiscrimination provisions generally prohibit group health plans from charging similarly situated individuals different premiums or contributions or imposing different deductible. copayment. N The program must be reasonably designed to promote health and prevent disease. the Internal Revenue Service. Generally. 40 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . for example. genetic information. evidence of insurability (including conditions arising out of acts of domestic violence). or other cost-sharing requirements based on a health factor. claims experience. and the Department of Health and Human Services published final rules that provide guidance in complying with the nondiscrimination provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). N The reward must be available to all similarly situated individuals. Under the regulations. medical history. DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). examples of wellness programs that comply with HIPAA’s nondiscrimination requirements without having to satisfy any additional standards (assuming participation in the program is made available to all similarly situated individuals) include: N A program that reimburses all or part of the cost for memberships in a fitness center N A diagnostic testing program that provides a reward for participation and does not base any part of the reward on outcomes N A program that encourages preventive care through the waiver of the copayment or deductible requirement under a group health plan for the costs of. and disability. there is an exception that allows plans to offer wellness programs if they meet certain criteria. prenatal care or well-baby visits N A program that reimburses employees for the costs of smoking cessation programs without regard to whether the employee quits smoking N A program that provides a reward to employees for attending a monthly health education seminar A wellness program that conditions a reward on an individual satisfying a standard related to a health factor must meet these five requirements: N The total reward must be limited. The program must allow a reasonable alternative standard (or waiver of the initial standard) for obtaining the reward to any individual for whom satisfying the initial standard is medically inadvisable or unreasonably difficult due to a medical condition. N The program must give individuals eligible to participate the opportunity to qualify for the reward at least once per year. The rules also provide guidance on the implementation of wellness programs. However. receipt of health care. medical condition (including both physical and mental illnesses).

g. The checklist is part of Field Assistance Bulletin No. some employee incentives may constitute taxable income for employees. 30610860 41 . Once an employer has established that its program is subject to HIPAA. The information is available on the DOL website at http://www. but not health insurance or other employee insurance benefits.html. Oklahoma. the checklist helps determine if the program is in compliance.N The plan must disclose in all materials describing the terms of the program the availability of a reasonable alternative standard (or the possibility of a waiver of the initial standard).dol. a union may claim that a wellness program is a term or condition of employment that mandates bargaining. and other terms and conditions of employment. Rhode Island. ©Business & Legal Reports. there are some exceptions. New York. State Laws that Protect Off-Duty Conduct Several states have laws protecting the off-duty conduct of employees. gift cards. Generally. including Connecticut.dol. National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Employers who have negotiated a collective bargaining agreement with a union are required by the National Labor Relations Act to bargain over “wages. the value of an incentive is includible in the employee’s gross income (e. Some states. which is available on DOL’s website at http://www. However. Inc. including: N Free or subsidized access to a gym or athletic center that is operated by the employer and located on the employer’s premises N Discount on employee contribution required to participate in employersponsored health plan N Contributions to an employee’s flexible spending account In addition.”Therefore. New Mexico. DOL issued frequently asked questions on HIPAA’s nondiscrimination requirements to assist the employee benefits community in complying with the new rules. Employers should also check the governing collective bargaining agreement to see if a wellness program falls under a subject they have agreed to negotiate. For example. Maine. a discount to an employee’s healthcare insurance offered as an incentive to employees who participate in a wellness program would probably not be considered taxable income for employees. Kentucky. Indiana. hours. For example. North Dakota. Louisiana. Internal Revenue Code Depending on the incentives and benefits included in an employer’s wellness program. there may be tax consequences for the employer and the employee. DOL has also published a Wellness Program Checklist to help employers determine if their wellness initiatives are required to comply with HIPAA regulations. a bargaining agreement may mandate negotiation over the amount of employee-paid insurance premiums. Employers are well advised to obtain guidance from a tax professional as tax laws are complex and regulations can change frequently. memberships to off-site exercise facilities).gov/ebsa/pdf/fab2008-2. Nevada. and the District of Columbia.pdf. 2008-02.gov/ ebsa/faqs/faq_hipaa_ND..

When designing a wellness program. No. However.” The applicable state law does not have a provision prohibiting discrimination against employees who use tobacco products. adjusting as necessary when needs are identified. A federal court decision demonstrates the difficulties that arise when a mandatory wellness program conflicts with an employee’s off-duty conduct (Rodrigues v. In this case. nor will it preempt state insurance laws. assessing the current level of wellness in the workplace. ERISA’s preemption clause may come into play—but it would depend on whether the program is part of an employee benefit plan within the meaning of ERISA’s preemption clause. particularly if employee participation in a wellness program is mandatory. Finally. employers should take steps to ensure that employment decisions are not based on conduct that is protected by law. remote or peripheral connection” to employee benefit plans. When it subsequently discharged an employee who tested positive for nicotine.have “Smokers’ Rights” laws that protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of the lawful use of tobacco products outside of the workplace. employers should review state laws prohibiting employment discrimination to be sure the program complies with state requirements. Note: Because state laws and regulations vary widely. such as California. employers should have their wellness programs reviewed by an attorney familiar with applicable state laws. and communicating with and educating employees about the plan. Once a program is in place. ERISA will neither preempt state laws that have only a “tenuous. 2008)). If a wellness program is challenged based on a state law that protects off-duty conduct. the employee filed a lawsuit based on various claims. 07-10104 (D. the employer instituted a mandatory wellness program that included a tobacco-free policy prohibiting “smoking of tobacco products by its employees at any time and at any place. It is necessary to keep in mind that ERISA may preempt state law when a wellness program is part of an employee benefit plan. Other states. launching the wellness plan. creating a customized operating plan. Mass. Ultimately.The Scotts Company LLC. whether or not in the workplace or during work hours. The employer used random testing of employees to enforce its policy. These include obtaining support from senior management. 42 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . but not on his claim of wrongful termination or a violation of the state civil rights law. have broader coverage that includes any lawful activity occurring away from the employer’s premises during nonworking hours. the court ruled the former employee could pursue his lawsuit based on his claims of invasion of privacy and a violation of ERISA. employers should continually measure and assess the effectiveness of the workplace wellness program. Setting Up a Workplace Wellness Program There are a number of steps employers should take when setting up a wellness program to make sure it will be effective.

is the bottom line of every business. smoking. employers can earn back the cost of programs over the course of 5 years if they can reduce risk factors by less than 0. most workplace wellness programs do not result in a positive return on investment (ROI) without the committed support of senior management. Making the specific case requires gathering crucial numbers such as the number and cost of workers’ compensation claims and disability claims. Ron Goetzel of Cornell University. sedentary lifestyles. Make the Business Case for a Wellness Program Profit. save for a few notable grassroots exceptions. A helpful step in gathering information is to research other workplaces in the industry or the local community to find wellness success stories close to home that will give senior management similar scenarios to compare. 30610860 43 . positioning health promotion as an integral part of the organization. senior executives can provide additional assistance to link health promotion objectives to business outcomes—thus. This bad news should next be contrasted with the good news about how the financial side of an effective workplace wellness program works.“major change initiatives must be actively led by senior management. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to the Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA) agree: senior-level support is imperative to get maximum employee acceptance of and participation in workplace wellness programs. according to Dr.Obtain Support from Senior Management The critical first step in starting and running an effective wellness program is getting senior management on board. More good news is that it doesn’t take much of an improvement (less than a 1% reduction in risk factors) to make wellness initiatives pay off. senior executives can significantly increase the likelihood that an initiative will be ultimately successful by crafting and implementing supportive corporate policy. ©Business & Legal Reports. To secure the financial resources necessary to deliver effective programming or to have effective access to the rest of the organization. Inc. In fact.S. Management expects bad news when it comes time to renew health insurance contracts. but certainly not least. the financial case should be easy to make. the senior staff must be committed to the effort. Added to the rising increase of health insurance. or at least sound financial practice. and stress both in terms of healthcare costs and lost time at work.2%. and the cost of lost productivity due to sick days and light duty. According to management guru Peter Drucker. Moreover. Data is also available about the cost of obesity. Last.” Other prominent organizations ranging from the U. In general. Senior officers need to be convinced that wellness is not merely a “nice” thing to do for employees’ health but that it’s also a “necessary” thing to do for the bottom line financial health of the business. Senior executives are the people responsible for setting priorities and allocating resources. and senior management absolutely needs to see the financial benefits of incorporating wellness into the workplace culture.

. including as many of the six dimensions of wellness discussed above as possible).g..g.That’s why businesses do market research. An effective wellness mission statement is broad enough to include the many aspects of wellness (i. gym membership discounts)? N What potential barriers to success does the wellness program face (e. For example: N What wellness concerns are unique to the industry (e. There must be a detailed operating plan that provides specific definitions of what “works” and doesn’t work for the workplace. businesspeople.. Assess the Current Level of Wellness in the Workplace Assessment is required for any program to be successful. and detailed enough to mention the specific wellness initiatives the program offers.. politicians take polls. or high employee turnover)? Create a Customized Operating Plan For a wellness program—as well as any other workplace project—to be effective. anyone who has a message to present.g.“Know your audience” is the primary piece of advice for speakers. The wellness mission should also support the company’s mission statement and goals. writers. Everyone who wants his or her project to succeed needs to research the market. politicians.e. Mission statement. it is important to consider and develop an organizational structure to support the initiatives.. and the competition. Leave room for flexibility to add and delete initiatives as the program offerings change. short-term commitments.g. In the context of setting up a workplace wellness program. areas with excessive noise or wet floors)? N What wellness initiatives would most benefit employees (e. 44 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . this means understanding the needs of the company and those of the employees and their families. wellness should be treated as an integral part of the workplace organizational culture by referring to it with the same terminology and respect that is used for other workplace departments. ergonomic issues for processing plants)? N What wellness concerns are unique to the workplace (e. the buyer. weight loss programs)? N What wellness initiatives do employees want (e. such as a wellness team and committees to run individual initiatives.Finally. The following items should be an integral part of the wellness program operating plan: N Mission statement N Objectives N Specific initiatives N Implementation timeline N Evaluation plan N Budget In addition. all facets must be defined.. lack of participation.g. and producers show films to test audiences.

Perhaps some of the objectives will involve modifying existing plans. And when the wellness program has specific. decide whether external or internal resources will be used. or smoking cessation program). SMART objectives are: ◆ Specific. such as Weight Watchers. many employers start a formal walking program by mapping out routes in and around the worksite.Objectives. there are several commercial weight loss programs available that include meetings and support groups. Inc.ymca. ◆ Measurable. is crucial. Goals are quantifiable with specific numbers. The “YMCA Activate America” program can help employees and their dependents get involved in an active lifestyle (go to http://www. When employees get specific targets to aim for that are challenging yet achievable. issuing pedometers. or health savings account (HSA). ◆ Achievable (attainable or actionable).net/activateamerica). benefits. exercise program. a Weight Watchers® program. Describe the initiatives that will be used to achieve objectives. results can be measured against those goals to demonstrate the effectiveness of the programs. Goals are appropriate to employees and the organization’s mission statement. disability. employee assistance program (EAP). Goals are to be achieved within a set time. ◆ Relevant (realistic or results-oriented). If the workforce is a typical American workforce. Based on demographic and medical research. Regarding weight loss choices. consider partnering with the local YMCA. Goals are clearly defined. Once these are identified. targeted goals. 30610800 . mentors. list the problem areas in the workforce. weight loss programs and/or get active programs may be a good starting point. Goals are possible for employees to meet with the resources provided. ◆ Timed (time-framed or time-specific). such as health insurance. Having employees involved on wellness teams makes the team less intimidating to other employees and will encourage more participation. The HR manager should also act as a point of contact for any other portions of the wellness program (for example. set specific objectives in each health area using the so-called SMART system. HR should take responsibility for the company health policies (insurance. they are more likely to rise to the occasion. employees need SMART goals that inspire and motivate. Continue the process of integrating wellness into the workplace culture by including the wellness initiatives already in place. both for the wellness program and for employees. Identifying specific initiatives for achieving goals. and counting steps. In addition. In choosing initiatives. 45 ©Business & Legal Reports. Goal-setting. as well as ensuring that all federal and state regulations are followed). Consider partnering with one of these groups that has a local chapter. For those programs kept inhouse. In order to change employee behavior. and coaches on the wellness team. Meetings can be held in the workplace or off-site to include family members as well. leave. but it will be more effective for non-HR personnel to work as team leaders. Whether using in-house or outside resources. choose the initiatives that will best meet the organization’s goals. and vacation. create a leadership team and assign team members. For get active programs. dental insurance.

consider smaller incentives. and other expenses. incentives. Effective wellness operating plans need to have a clear evaluation plan. such as discounts to sports or health food stores. Even if the company does not intend on investing a significant amount of money initially on the wellness program. Next. Design pre. How many employees will be involved? If it is a program where employees have to elect not to participate.At some point in the workplace wellness journey. describe how each initiative will be measured. Develop a communication plan.000. Give ample time for each step to be completed. Follow the process and format for budgeting used by other departments in the company. According to some studies. others may want to ease into their wellness program and help build momentum by promoting an upcoming health fair at which more wellness initiatives will be revealed. gym memberships. Some workplaces may choose to kick off their wellness program with a health fair.and post-assessment forms for the overall wellness program and for individual initiatives. first consider the scope of the program. the most effective monetary values run from $300 to $1. How many dependents and retirees will be involved? Will there be paid guest speakers? Will the company plan on buying equipment. and/or prizes awarded. Outline when each step of each initiative will begin and end.” In the evaluation plan. There are several options. a health fair at the worksite may be a good option. 80% of employees are likely to participate. The wellness operating plan also needs to detail how the wellness message will be communicated. estimate what the program will cost. Plan for the ongoing evaluation of wellness initiatives. consider who 46 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . including but certainly not limited to: N Including a brief wellness tip in workplace meetings N Sending a weekly wellness e-mail tip N Including a wellness section in workplace newsletters N Hanging wellness posters on cafeteria or break room bulletin boards N Distributing a wellness newsletter monthly or quarterly N Conducting monthly or quarterly lunch time wellness talks N Regularly communicating wellness success stories Develop the implementation timeline. This is the only way to know definitively whether the initiatives have “worked. Financial incentives can be great motivators. an itemized budget is still important. such as pedometers? What kind of incentives will be offered? This is a good time to consider what kinds of incentives the company would consider offering for participation in the wellness program. Develop a budget for the wellness program. Create a specific timeline for the wellness program. With these factors in mind. Gather figures for outside speakers. When developing a budget. If this expense is too great. This will continue the process of integrating wellness into the organizational structure and give it the same level of importance as other departments. or extra vacation time. equipment.

Some workplaces choose to launch their wellness programs with a health fair. this is an important measurement. Because the success of the workplace wellness program depends on employee participation. If a health fair is the kick-off activity.will pay for the wellness program. The wellness program. and Adjust Measuring the results of the overall wellness program is vital to assess and adjust the program based on what works best with a particular group at a particular location. think of wellness performance reviews as an (at least) annual time to report the progress and problems in the wellness program. absenteeism. Generate excitement for wellness by making the launch activities enjoyable. or perhaps even challenge employees to a contest to see if they can reach certain goals before senior managers meet those goals. Inc. and to set new goals. Execute this step in the same way as employee performance reviews. educate. more productive employees. to make adjustments. and retention and turnover. motivate. Play to the audience. In other words. annual. For most workplaces. make sure it is well-organized so that it will run smoothly. But it is also important to measure health changes and employee satisfaction. those employees who are generally healthy but who have one or two problem areas and are considered a medium risk. make sure the program launch includes these three elements: Get senior management involved. annual budgeting. that encompasses approximately 80% of the workforce. Once the program is launched. Doing so provides yet another way to ensure the wellness program is integrated into the organizational culture. Also be sure to keep in mind and address the health needs of employees’ family members and dependents. Measure. Assessments should not measure only dollars and cents. An annual employee survey is a good tool for gathering information that will help ©Business & Legal Reports. Therefore. and it is important to have positive numbers to report to senior management to continue or even enlarge the scope of your wellness program and perhaps receive a bigger budget. Remember that effective wellness programs are aimed at the vast middle ground of the employee population. Will the employer pay all expenses? Will employees pay for the initiatives they participate in? Will they share the expenses? Launch and Communicate the Wellness Plan To help make the wellness program as effective as possible. maintain an ongoing effort to communicate. Some key indicators include employee morale. Have senior management speak at a kick-off event. it is important to continuously communicate with employees. or other formal. The real benefit to the company of a wellness program is the long-term reduction in healthcare costs and healthier. and goals should be a regular part of employee communication. Employee satisfaction. A financial return on investment (ROI) is critical. Assess. and empower employees with the goal of changing behavior. 30610860 47 . a wellness program will succeed only if senior management is part of the process and supports the initiative. Make it fun. continual improvement efforts. As noted above. initiatives.

materials (pedometers. cholesterol level. outside consultant). productivity increases through presenteeism reductions. ROI analysis deals strictly with the financial impact of the wellness program and is fast becoming an essential evaluation method for workplaces that invest in wellness. walking paths. CBA works hand-in-hand with ROI and monetizes all 48 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . promotion (newsletter and poster printing). first assess the current level of wellness. employee wages (wellness team members). the wellness program will focus on specific areas and goals.“For every dollar invested in wellness. lower workers’ compensation costs. including: design and development (outside consultants for health risk assessments. technology. health fair supplies). keep track of wellness costs. while it is important to immediately track and measure the return on a wellness investment. blood sugar. over time. absenteeism reductions. ROI. In addition. including: health insurance savings. it is important remember that most financial benefits will be long term. outside partnerships). Two other measurements to consider are cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and cost-benefit analysis (CBA). Based on the health risks identified during the assessment. The goal of the wellness program is to help employees stay well. how many dollars does the employer get back?” Calculating ROI is critical to the longterm success of a wellness program because it: N Is a concrete way to validate the wellness program as a business tool N Can be used to justify the cost of the wellness program to senior management N Can be a useful tool for choosing future wellness initiatives Using the following formula when measuring the ROI provides the percentage of return earned for every wellness dollar spent. outside gym memberships). Measurements might include changes in BMI (body mass index). it is important to manage expectations in the short-term. and prescription usage. it is important to measure individual activity level. In addition. measuring related changes in employee health is important. and evaluation (outside evaluation consultants). blood pressure. After wellness program implementation. However. ROI percent = ((Monetary Benefits minus Wellness Costs) divided by Wellness Costs) multiplied by 100 To get the figures for this formula.assess employee satisfaction before and after the implementation of a wellness program. facilities (on-site exercise equipment. When a program is developed. So. Because the program targets key health concerns. and established timelines for achieving goals. Employee wellness. delivery (staff. administration. smoking habits. ROI analysis answers the question. statistics on who is participating in the program and to what extent they are participating will provide important data for measuring employee satisfaction. keep track of monetary benefits. and lower turnover costs. a company should realize financial benefits such as reduced healthcare costs and greater employee productivity. A wellness program requires a long-term commitment to improving employee health and.

It may take some trial and error to find the ones that create an enthusiastic response and achieve high levels of participation. and other chronic conditions N Health insurance discounts for nonsmokers N Health insurance surcharges for smokers N Discounted gym memberships N Partnering with local restaurants to provide healthy lunch options N Reimbursement for membership in Weight Watchers or other weightmanagement programs N Healthy food options in company cafeteria or vending machines N On-site medical facility. The cost effectiveness of Program A can be compared to the cost effectiveness of Program B by looking at the cost for each employee who achieved a goal to stop smoking or to reach goal weight. e-mail notices. fitness center. diabetes. ©Business & Legal Reports.g. e. Inc. well-child exams. cholesterol levels. 30610860 49 . A 3-to-1 ROI means $3 was saved for every dollar that was spent. Results are reported as an incremental cost per unit of effectiveness for each respective program. annual physical exam. and other risk factors N Personal finance education and counseling N Smoking cessation program N Financial incentives for voluntary participation in healthcare assessment N Reduced copayments for drugs that treat asthma. Careful assessment of workforce needs. and inflation adjustments. bulletin board postings. tailoring of programs to meet those needs.costs and all benefits. Cost-effective analysis is helpful when trying different programs to achieve the same wellness initiative. and pharmacy for employees’ use N No out-of-pocket cost to employee for preventive care. and a comprehensive health management strategy are all components that will help an employer’s wellness program succeed. hypertension.. Results are then presented in a ratio of benefit-to-cost and ROI. Some successful programs have included one or more of the following: N Voluntary screening to check blood pressure. mammograms N Flu vaccinations N Newsletters. Costs include program discounts. such as smoking cessation or weight loss. and other awareness strategies to increase participation in wellness initiatives Both large and small employers can implement wellness programs that help reduce the cost of health care and improve the health of employees. group rates. Suggestions for Wellness Programs Ideas that employers can use in their wellness programs are as varied as the employees in an employer’s workforce.

career paths.. during a recent webinar titled. and exercise participation (exercise classes and walking or jogging). She explained that in late 2009.” Bruno. Other wellness programs reported in the study as having good participation rates in companies with a strong culture of health included physical fitness assessments. noted Bruno. overall work life. policies.e. and leadership.com/24hs2ze). commitment. What’s a ‘Culture of Health’? Bruno shared this definition of a “culture of health” from Nico Pronk. almost 75% of employees in a strong culture of health participated in eating healthy foods in their cafeteria (less than 50% did so in weak or moderate cultures of health). Employees in companies with a perceived strong culture of health “rated all aspects of their performance higher than employees whose employers do not have a strong culture of health—overall personal life.S. and benefits that support employee health.. Inc.. outcomes measurement (i. including management support.” Bruno explained. and ability to reach full potential at work. two-way communication between the employer and employee. only 26% of respondents to the survey described their company as having a strong culture of health. Ph.” stressed Jennifer Bruno.” Bruno stressed that a culture of health shares common themes. motivational programs and environmental influences that help employees sustain behavioral changes. Notably.000 full-time employees aged 25 to 60 that found that in companies with a strong culture of health. weight loss programs. commented Bruno. health risk factor reduction). a Johnson & Johnson Company (J&J). 50 Top 10 Best Practices in HR Management for 2011 . For example. International Association for Worksite Health Promotion:“A workplace ecology in which the dynamic relationship between human beings and their work environment nurtures personal and organizational values that support the achievement of a person’s best self while generating exceptional business performance. job performance. procedures. employees were three times more likely to report taking action on their health than in other companies. The study also found that such companies have significantly higher employee participation rates across all their wellness programs. She also stated that the study results showed an employer’s commitment to employee well-being is as critical as a commitment to opportunity for advancement and is more important than being competitive with other employers in the areas of pay and benefits for overall job satisfaction. executive director of Wellness & Prevention. cited a 2010 Towers Watson survey (http://tinyurl. which reported that 58% of employers rated lack of employee engagement as the biggest obstacle to changing employee health. Wellness & Prevention. and health improvement. president. fielded its own study of 3. B.D.Get Employees Engaged in Wellness by Creating Strong ‘Culture of Health’ “Lack of employee engagement is one of the biggest obstacles to changing health behaviors.“Defining a Culture of Health and the Link to Business Performance.. Inc..

the culture of health includes shared attitudes and values between leadership and employees.com/2fp45t5. Examples are encouraging people to take a walk during the day or starting meetings with a health or safety tip. If you would like to see the complete library of publications available through BLR. Conclusion We hope that you have enjoyed this special report. ©Business & Legal Reports. FACOEM. cer. Inc.blr. Inc. she explained. noted Bruno.com/ygzrcuf).“Staying@Work Report 2009/2010” (http://tinyurl.).D. please visit our website at www. go to http://tinyurl..You will need to register. executive director. M. 30610860 51 ..P H . and that you found the information contained in this report useful. which found that companies committed to health as a business imperative achieve significantly better financial outcomes and lower employee turnover. BLR strives to provide Human Resources professionals with practical and easy-to-use information on a wide variety of topics. which includes a case study regarding J&J’s experiences and successes with its employee wellness initiatives (shared by Fikry Issac. Impact on Bottom Line Bruno cited another Towers Watson report. Wellness & Prevention. Global Health Services and chief medical offi. M.At J&J. Those are outcomes that any organization would be happy to achieve! To access the webinar. but the webinar is free.com or call our Customer Service Department at 800-727-5257.

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