You are a assistant manager of Human Resources for this regional office of Cost Club.
Briefing the Senior Regional Staff
Your boss, Pat, sends you this e-mail that defines your new assignment:
Briefing the Senior Regional Staff
As you know, we will have the semi-annual senior staff conference shortly, and the HR department is tasked with conducting a number of seminars at this high-level, high-visibility conference. I’d like you to lead the preparation for our session on Statutory Regulation of Employment.
There are five key regulatory areas that I want you to focus on:
1. Employee Privacy
2. Employee Unions
3. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
4. Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
5. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
With the exception of issues involving unions, these regulated activities deal with employer obligations that are a matter of law; for example, whether we like it or not, we have to live with FLSA. Most of these laws do not dictate how we deal with employees, with the exception of unions. The laws, however, do create a duty directly between us and the government.
Prepare an outline to hand out at the session that relates to these five areas. explains briefly what we are obligated to do, with maybe some examples in key areas. As an illustration, the part on FLSA might look like the following:
Fair Labor Standards Act
Overtime (OT) must be paid after 40 hours of work in the workweek.
o The OT rate is 1.5 times the employeeâ??s normal time rate.
o Employee cannot waive the right to overtime rightâ?”it is a legal obligation.
Some union contracts also require OT after 8 hours in a day.
An employer can agree to add more, but not less than the law.
o Benefits remain without a 1.5 times increaseâ?”only the wage itself.
Pat continues by validating that this is a comprehensive task, but an important one. He continues:
The goal is for you to prepare an outline that doesn’t exceed a four-page handout and provides practical, useful, and correct information to our senior managers on the five topics identified. Be sure to cover the range of employment law, even where it might not directly apply to Cost Club; for example, be sure to address where government employees are subject to a different rule. Our senior leadership may hear about some government agency’s obligations being different, and we want our folks to know the facts – not just those immediately relevant.
Also, focus on the finer points that can cause us problems, like the need to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable employment practices related to drug and genetic testing and other privacy concerns. You can sprinkle in some examples on the most significant items, if that may help the audience understand.
Finally, one of the most important areas of emphasis in our meeting is the need to weave together not just the legal principles of employment, but also the ethical issues that commonly arise in employment law matters. We want to close our presentation in a way that emphasizes both legal compliance and ethical behavior in employment.
As you read the memo from Pat, you begin thinking about how you will first understand, and then condense such important and complex information into a practical outline form.
As an employer we are obligated to do the following:
“All employees have basic rights in the workplace — including the right to privacy, fair compensation, and freedom from discrimination. A job applicant also has certain rights even prior to being hired as an employee. Those rights include the right to be free from discrimination based on age, gender, race, national origin, or religion during the hiring process.
There are certain pieces of information that an employer may not seek out concerning a potential job applicant or employee. An employer may not conduct a credit or background check of an employee or prospective employee unless the employer notifies the individual in writing and receives permission to do so.
Other important employee rights include:
?Right to be free from discrimination and harassment of all types;
?Right to a safe workplace free of dangerous conditions, toxic substances, and other potential safety hazards;
?Right to be free from retaliation for filing a claim or complaint against an employer (these are sometimes called “whistleblower” rights);
?Right to fair wages for work performed”.