Whopping $17M verdict in ugly sexual harassment lawsuit

The is likely one of the worst harassment lawsuits you’ll hear about this year. And it’s going to cost the employer in question a lot of money. 

A federal jury just awarded $17.4 million in damages to five former female employees of Moreno Farms Inc., a produce growing and packing operation on Felda, FL.

It was the result of a more-serious-than-usual sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of the women.

The suit accused two sons of Moreno Farms’ owner, as well as another male supervisor, of some pretty horrific and graphic acts of sexual harassment including:

  • regular groping
  • propositioning
  • threatening female employees with termination for refusing sexual advances
  • attempting to rape, and
  • raping multiple female employees.

As for the retaliation charge, the three men were also accused of firing all five women for opposing the men’s advances.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement via its conciliation process.

After a trial, a federal jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the five women, awarding them $2,425,000 in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages. However, it’s worth noting that it’s possible those damages will be reduced to statutory damage caps at a later date.

In a statement released by the EEOC about the case, Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District Office, said:

“The jury’s verdict today should serve as a clear message to the agricultural industry that the law will not tolerate subjecting female farm workers to sexual harassment and that there are severe consequences when a sex-based hostile work environment is permitted to exist.”

The EEOC’s statement also reminded employers that preventing workplace harassment through systemic litigation and investigation is one of the six main areas of focus outlined by the agency’s Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan, as is eliminating practices that prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statues.

For more HR News, please visit: Whopping M verdict in ugly sexual harassment lawsuit

Source: News from HR Morning

20 jobs for which pay is increasing most

If your company is looking to take on or retain employees in any of these positions, get ready to pay more than you expected to. 

The following 20 jobs are far outpacing the national average for salary increases, which currently sits at 2.2%.

This list was compiled by job site Glassdoor, which provides job seekers with salary figures sorted by position, company and location to help them in their job search.

Glassdoor looked at position-specific salaries in 2014 and compared them to this year’s salary figures to find these 20 jobs for which pay is increasing the most (sorry, HR isn’t one of them):

  1. Business systems analyst. Average pay in 2015: $83,300 — a 10% jump.
  2. Security officer. $24,000 — a 7% jump.
  3. Sales consultant. $49,008 — a 7% jump.
  4. Pharmacy technician. $26,000 — a 6% jump.
  5. Barista. $23,600 — a 6% jump.
  6. Customer service manager. $34,780 — a 5% jump.
  7. Certified nursing assistant. $25,000 — a 5% jump.
  8. Financial analyst. $71,550 — a 5% jump.
  9. Systems analyst. $80,000 — a 4% jump.
  10. Research scientist. $85,000 — a 4% jump.
  11. Programmer analyst. $79,638 — a 4% jump.
  12. Personal banker. $41,861 — a 4% jump.
  13. Branch manager. $63,500 — a 4% jump.
  14. Research associate. $51,948 — a 3% jump.
  15. Project engineer. $75,000 — a 3% jump.
  16. Cashier. $18,000 — a 3% jump.
  17. Cook. $20,000 — a 3% jump.
  18. Web developer. $68,407 — a 3% jump.
  19. Network engineer. $87,903 — a 3% jump.
  20. Software engineer. $105,000 — a 3% jump.

This is a pretty good indication of how in-demand people to fill these jobs are. It also serves as a benchmark for your salaries — to make sure they’re in the ballpark of what candidates are expecting.

Glassdoor recommends its users use its salary tool to make sure they’re getting fair compensation. But employers would also be wise to use this tool to see what job candidates and workers are being told they should be making. This can help you prepare communications explaining why you’re offering more or less than a candidate or existing employee thinks they should be paid, should the issue come up.

For more HR News, please visit: 20 jobs for which pay is increasing most

Source: News from HR Morning

A strong argument for starting the workday at 10 a.m.

Flexible scheduling options that allow employees to start their workday later may bolster a lot more than just morale.  

According to sleep expert and Oxford University Professor Dr. Paul Kelley, a traditional nine-to-five workday is only benefiting a very small segment of employees because that start time is too early for most people.

You heard that right — nine in the morning is too early to start work. Unless you’re in the 55-and-older demographic, Kelley says you’re fighting your body’s natural biorhythms by starting the workday closer to 10 a.m.

Optimal wake-up times

As reported in The Guardian, Kelley originally started conducting research to find out when school-age children experienced “true body awakening” and whether the starting time at most schools was optimal for those children.

That research uncovered the following body wake-up times for children:

  • Up to age 10 — 6:30 a.m.
  • Ages 10 to 16 — 8 a.m., and
  • Ages 16 to 18 — 9 a.m.

From there, Kelley took his findings and estimated body wake-up times for adults. What he found: Adults lose sleep during the night and, as a result, don’t fully awaken until much later than the start of the traditional work day.

Then, around their mid-50s, people start to return to their 10-year-old awakening patterns, Kelley said.

Finally, Kelley drew some conclusions about why the nine-to-five schedule is still the dominant schedule of most workplaces: because it’s ideal for older workers — the employees who generally set the schedule in the first place.

Kelley identified the starting times that are most likely to translate to maximum efficiency for workers. These included:

  • 8 a.m. (ideal start time for 50-somethings)
  • 10 a.m. (workers in their 30s), and
  • 11 a.m. (Millennials).

Flexible-scheduling bias

Of course, simply allowing workers to start work according to their optimal body wake-up times isn’t a feasible option for many companies.

Among other things, research has shown managers have a bias against employees who start their work day later than their peers. As HR Benefits Alert covered previously, a report by the University of Washington’s Foster School on flexible scheduling found that flex-time workers’ who work early hours are considered better overall employees by their managers than those employees who choose to work later hours.

This is the first report of its kind on flexible scheduling bias.

After conducting three separate experiments on managerial bias toward flexible scheduling, researchers came to the same conclusion: Managers view employees who start work earlier as more conscientious and more productive than their peers.

According to one of the study’s co-authors, Kai Chi (Sam) Yam:

Compared to people who choose to work earlier in the day, people who choose to work later in the day are implicitly assumed to be less conscientious and less effective in their jobs.

Based on the findings in this study, employees who choose to set their schedules to work later hours could wind up having their performance judged by factors that actually have nothing to do with their performance. And this type of bias could unfairly impact these workers’ pay and advancement opportunities.

For more HR News, please visit: A strong argument for starting the workday at 10 a.m.

Source: News from HR Morning

Find the Best Human Resources Software – Free Quotes & Relevant Recommendations

Finding the right HR software for your organization is essential to implementing and executing a transition from the old to the new. Many software companies have focused on developing integrated suites that allow HR departments to track an employee’s entire life cycle within an organization. But there are so many HR software systems available today, how do you find the one that’s right for your organization? Software Advice’s team of unbiased experts has reviewed 125 HR software systems and they’re ready to help you narrow down your choices so you can find the vendor that will give you the best pricing on systems that match your needs.

Click here to learn more!  

For more HR News, please visit: Find the Best Human Resources Software – Free Quotes & Relevant Recommendations

Source: News from HR Morning

Top 5 Learning Management (LMS) Software – Get Reviews, Free Demos & Price Quotes

Learning Management Systems (LMS) software helps educational institutions and businesses better manage online learning programs. Using a LMS, organizations can create curricula to educate students and/or employees, and allow them to demonstrate competencies or gain certification in areas relevant to their role. Analytics and reporting functionality also gives organizations more insight into training or learning program success. If you need help making an informed buying decision for your organization, let the unbiased experts at Software Advice help. They’ve reviewed nearly 40 learning management systems and can help you find the vendors that best match your needs.

Learn more!  

For more HR News, please visit: Top 5 Learning Management (LMS) Software – Get Reviews, Free Demos & Price Quotes

Source: News from HR Morning

Top 10 Talent Management Software of 2015 – Get Free Quotes & Expert Advice

Talent management is a hot topic within the Human Resources (HR) software market. This software category refers to two primary functions: the acquisition of new hires and development of employees. There are more than 100 different software solutions available to improve your processes of interviewing, hiring, onboarding and retaining employees. Let the unbiased experts at Software Advice help. They’ve reviewed 46 talent management systems and can provide you with free demos and quotes to narrow your search and identify the vendors that best meet your needs.

Learn more!  

For more HR News, please visit: Top 10 Talent Management Software of 2015 – Get Free Quotes & Expert Advice

Source: News from HR Morning

ACA reporting rules: A plain-English breakdown

ACA reporting rules: A plain-English breakdown

ACA reporting requirements

If you think the Obamacare reporting requirements issued by the IRS are confusing, you’re not alone. But we’ve cut through the clutter to get to the point of what’s required. 

Who has to report

First of all, let’s make it clear who has to abide by these reporting rules. Who knows maybe you’re small enough to recuse yourself from all this mess.

The reporting requirements apply to “applicable large employers” (ALE) — those who employ 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees. They also apply to anyone who provides minimum essential health coverage under the law to an individual — this would apply to a very small self-insured employer, for example.

Who’s a full-time equivalent employee? That’s an issue we tackle here.

The IRS then says: “If an employer has fewer than 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on average during the prior year, the employer is not an ALE for the current calendar year. Therefore, the employer is not subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions or the employer information reporting provisions for the current year.”

Reporting requirements

Now it’s time to get down to brass tacks.

There are four forms ALEs need to familiarize themselves with:

  • Form 1094-B — Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns.
  • Form 1094-C — Transmittal of Employer Health Insurance Offer and Health Coverage Returns.
  • Form 1095-B — Health Coverage.
  • Form 1095-C — Employer Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Insurance.

Who files what?

The reporting system mirrors the current W-2 reporting system in that a 1095-B or 1095-C will be prepared for each applicable employee, and those forms will be filed with the IRS using a transmittal form — 1094-B or 1094-C.

Form 1095-C and Form 1094-C will be filed by ALEs. These forms will be required if the employer offers an insured or self-insured group health plan, or does not offer any group health plan.

ALEs must prepare a Form 1095-C for each full-time employee regardless of whether the employee is participating in an employer-sponsored group health plan. In addition, ALEs with self-insured plans will complete a Form 1095-C for each non-full-time employee who’s enrolled in the self-insured health plan. The employer will not prepare a Form 1095-C for non-full-time employees who are not enrolled in a plan.

Form 1094-C must be used to transmit Forms 1095-C to the IRS.

Form 1095-B and Form 1094-B must be filed by insurance companies to report individuals covered by insured employer-sponsored group health plans.

In addition, small, self-insured employers will also use Form 1095-B and Form 1094-B to report employees and their family members who have coverage under the self-insured plan. Employees who are offered but decline coverage are not reported.

Form 1094-B must be used to transmit Forms 1095-B to the IRS.

What do employees get?

A copy of the applicable Form 1095, or a substitute statement, must be given to each employee by January 31 every year and can be provided electronically with the employee’s consent. But since January 31 falls on a Sunday in 2016. The 2016 deadline has been moved to February 1.

When are the forms due to the IRS?

Employers must file these returns for the 2015 year by Feb. 29, 2016 (March 31 if filed electronically). Any employer filing at least 250 returns must file electronically. The deadline for future year’s returns will be Feb. 28.

It’s important to note that employers with between 50 and 99 full-time and full-time equivalent employees were granted transition relief from having to comply with the ACA’s employer mandate to provide insurance to employees. But even those granted transition relief must files these forms in 2016.

Penalties apply

Warning: Failing to provide these forms in a timely manner to the IRS or employees can result in fines — $250 per return.

But like with many ACA penalties, the IRS said that it won’t impose penalties if firms can prove they made a good faith effort to comply with the 2015 reporting regs. But an “untimely” filed form won’t meet the good-faith requirement, the IRS said.

Filing electronically?

Electronic filing takes place in four stages:

  • Naming your responsible official(s) and IRS contacts
  • Obtaining a Transmitter Control Code (TCC)
  • Test filing, and
  • Actual filing.

Responsible officials

You must file an application with the IRS to obtain a TCC needed to e-file. But before the application process can begin, you must register responsible officials and contacts with the IRS (here’s the link to register).

The responsible official(s) you name will have authority over the e-filing process and are the contact persons for communications with the IRS. All companies that plan to e-file must put at least one responsible official and two contacts on their applications.

Applying for a TCC

Once that registration process is complete, you can apply for a TCC. Anyone transmitting info to the IRS is required to complete an ACA Information Return Transmitter Control Code Application through the IRS e-services portal.

The TCC will then be mailed to you.

Test filing

After receiving your TCC, transmitters are encouraged to complete a communication test using the IRS’ Affordable Care Act Assurance Testing System.

Actual filing

Once you’ve test filed, you’re ready to file for real. To do this, you must use the IRS’ Affordable Care Act Information Returns Program — aka AIR.

But the program won’t be ready until Oct. 22, 2015.

Extension available in some cases

If you don’t think you’ll be able to hit the aforementioned reporting deadlines, don’t panic just yet.

There’s a 30-day reprieve available from the reporting requirements.

In order to take advantage of the extension, employers must use Form 8809 (Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns) and submit it by the reporting deadline. If that form seems familiar, that’s because it’s the same form used to request an extension for filing W-2s and 1099s.

But that’s not all.

The 30-day extension can be extended even further in certain situations. According to the instructions on Form 8809, an additional 30-day extension may be provided if the request for an additional extension is filed before the expiration of the original extension.

Employers shouldn’t bank on getting the additional extension, however. The IRS makes it clear that “requests for additional time are granted only where it is shown that extenuating circumstances prevented filing by the date granted by the first request.”

For more HR News, please visit: ACA reporting rules: A plain-English breakdown

Source: News from HR Morning

The Pope has some management advice for your supervisors

When you’re trying to increase your managers’ effectiveness, a little divine intervention can’t hurt.  

OK, maybe we’re not talking about direct intervention from above. But we’ve got the next best thing: management advice from Pope Francis.

Nick Pipitone, writing on ResourcefulManager.com, recently outlined the Pontiff’s rules for getting the best out of an organization. Here’s a taste:

Patience is a virtue.  Things rarely happen as fast as management hopes they will, and bosses need to build some patience into their expectations. Take one of your firm’s initiatives and compare it to making changes in the structure of an institution as old and rigid as the Catholic Church. Your project’s a piece of cake.

Foster an open dialogue. Open communication can be a messy process, but then so’s every other aspect of human behavior. Pope Francis’ first move was to create the “Vatican Eight,” Pipitone writes. It’s a council of eight cardinals from churches worldwide. Their goal: Give advice on how to open up the church’s hierarchy.
The cardinals describe council meetings as â€œfree, frank and friendly” — can your managers say the same about relations with their employees?

Give employees ‘your blessing.’ Yes, we know — few managers are qualified to confer blessings on their charges. But what this piece of guidance really means is that managers need to make their employees feel valued — and protected. Loyalty breeds loyalty.

Other pieces of the Pope’s wisdom:

  • Don’t micromanage
  • Put the big picture before your personal interests
  • Know when to be assertive and when to step back, and
  • Stay humble.

Timely ideas

How do the Pope’s suggestions fit with the real-world workplace?

A recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management cited the following:

  • the top contributor to job satisfaction was “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels,” rated as very important by 72% of employees
  • the relationship with their immediate supervisor was seen as key by 58% of respondents, and
  • 56% said they strongly valued their immediate supervisor’s respect for ideas.


For more HR News, please visit: The Pope has some management advice for your supervisors

Source: News from HR Morning

Did company actually work this man to death?

If you’ve got any employees who are logging serious overtime week after week, you’ll want to take note of how the court handled this case.  

Judith Dietz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal was a case that centered around a Pennsylvania municipal water department employee, Robert  Dietz, who had a deadly heart attack on the job. Dietz was a 48-year-old field maintenance worker who routinely logged more than 40 hours per week and was always on call. He was also a heavy smoker.

Dietz’s heart attack took place during a 14-hour shift.

Long hours or smoking habit?

After Dietz’s death, his widow, Judith Dietz, sued her husband’s former employer for death benefits. The company tried to get the case dismissed arguing that it was Dietz’s pack-a-day cigarette habit and not the long hours and constantly being on call that caused his death.

While Dietz’s widow did acknowledge the smoking habit, she relied on the testimony of a cardiac specialist, who said what killed Dietz was his long work day performing strenuous physical labor, to make her case.

On appeal, the court sided with the widow and said that the long work hours were to blame for Dietz’s death.

As Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt stated:

The overwhelming circumstantial evidence in this case shows that exertion from Decedent’s regular work activities over the course of a 14-hour workday caused his heart attack.

That means the employer is on the hook for up to 60% of Dietz’s wages as well as another $3,000 in burial costs, under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.

For more HR News, please visit: Did company actually work this man to death?

Source: News from HR Morning

Top 5 Employee Evaluation Software – Get Reviews, Free Demos & Price Quotes

Employee reviews are arguably the best opportunity an organization has to energize and motivate its employees. For many organizations, though, the process of scheduling, executing and documenting reviews can be incredibly arduous. Performance management software can help modernize and automate the process, but there are so many software solutions on the market, how do you know which one is right for your organization? Let the unbiased experts at Software Advice help. They’ve reviewed nearly 60 systems and are ready to help you narrow your search so you can find the vendor that’s right for you.

Click here to learn more!  

For more HR News, please visit: Top 5 Employee Evaluation Software – Get Reviews, Free Demos & Price Quotes

Source: News from HR Morning