We Control the Norm

I rarely, if ever, make comments on our political environment. However, in light of our recent election, I felt that something needed to be said about the divide felt by many in our country. A large portion of individuals who are a fundamental part of our society feel that the tactics used in the recent presidential race encouraged a segment of our society to discriminate and harass others. There is a fundamental feeling that the recently acquired norm of respect and understanding for those that have been historically marginalized is just a facade and it is now open season on those that look, act, or believe differently than what some consider the norm.

I choose to believe that the majority of those who voted for our now president-elect did not vote that way because they thought he was going to bring back hatred into our country (sadly, some did, but those people do not represent the America that I love). Despite the poorly chosen words and sentiments used in the recent presidential race, we don’t have to give him or others the power to change the norm of our society. We the people, as a whole, set the tone of our society.

Ensuring a norm of respect starts with you. Take this time to reflect on how you interact with those around you. Are you are treating and interacting with those around you with respect and understanding? Despite what they believe (politically or otherwise), or even how they behave towards you, you can still treat individuals with respect and dignity.

Practice being impeccable with your words: they have meaning. Banish hate and demeaning language from your vocabulary. I believe that everyone, including myself, needs to be regularly reminded to choose our words and thoughts carefully.

In the workplace and beyond, leaders need to clearly model through their behavior and communication that a lack of civility will not be tolerated. In addition to the well-established legal protections, all individuals deserve to work in a place where they are not bullied or ostracized because of what they believe, who they are, or how they look. As leaders, we can set the tone and the norm for every organization by the way we act and respond. Here is a not-so-subtle hint: we all can be leaders regardless of our position.

I encourage you to help heal the divide in this country one person at a time. Take the time to understand someone else’s viewpoint, even if you don’t agree with it. At the end of the day, the norms of our society belong to us, not to politicians or celebrities. You can change the world’s view-point, one person at the time, starting with yourself.

Post It – 2017 Labor Law Posters

Every employee in the United States should recognize those official looking and hard to read posters in the break room.  And every employer should be updating those posters every year.  Even though many employees (and employers) don’t read these posters, those that have questions regarding their rights can look to these posters rather than searching online–which often provides conflicting information.

The purpose behind these posters is to ensure that every employee is informed of his or her rights.  These rights include minimum wage standards, OSHA, FMLA, etc.  As laws change and standards are updated both federally and at the State level these posters also need to be updated to comply.  HRCentral recommends updating your posters at the beginning of each year as many laws take effect around that time, and you should also post updates through-out the year (usually 1 to 2 depending on law changes).  Updates to these posters should be applied when they take effect, not earlier or later.

The basic law says these posters must be posted in a location where employees and applicants have an opportunity to view them.  If you have remote employees who work from home, you can post readable images on a company intranet/extranet or send them a poster.

This year there are several updates to the poster; highlighted below is just two of the major Federal changes that need to be updated (most states have changes as well, including minimum wage postings):


  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – These updates include new regulation revisions as of August 2016 including text regarding nursing mothers and overtime rules.
  • Employee Polygraph Notice – Revisions to the contact numbers and removal of the penalty amount up to $ 10,000

Don’t delay, HRCentral is offering 2017 Labor Law posters for $ 35.00 each, including shipping.  Contact us today, to ensure timely delivery (usually mid-December).  Contact Us

To Exempt or Not Exempt

Are you ready for the December 1, 2016 deadline? After two years of debates and evaluations of comments, a final rule was implemented on May 18, 2016 the final rule was published (DOL Final Rule) with an effective date of December 1, 2016.  The primary effect of this rule on employers is that exempt employee’s minimum standard has more than doubled.  Exempt employee’s minimum salary will now be set at $ 913 per week ($47,476 annually).   The minimum standard is also set to be adjusted every three years with the next adjustment beginning January 1, 2020.

In 2014 President Obama instructed the Department of Labor (DOL) to evaluate and propose a new rule that would address the deficiencies in the existing laws.  These deficiencies were some industries paying managers and team leads the minimum salary of $ 455 per week ($ 23,660 annually and then those companies expected those employees to regularly work more than 40 hours a week.  This of course led to some situations where managers were being paid less than the employees they supervised.

What does this mean for your business?  First, you need to ensure that all of your exempt employees meet the new minimum standard.  A simple report from payroll/HR can give you an idea if you already comply with the new regulation.

If you do have exempt employee’s that are below the minimum threshold, you will need to decide whether to increase their salary or move that employee to hourly.   In the event, you need to move the employee to hourly, make sure that you meet with the affected employee and explain the reasoning behind the change.  Additionally, you will also want to ensure that the employee understands the importance of keeping an accurate track of hours’ work.

Keep in mind that an adjustment to hourly may produce some hurt feelings and dissatisfaction.  Often, employees see exempt status as a higher position than and hourly employee or if they are like me, just don’t like to fill out time cards.

While you are checking the salary requirements, HRCentral also recommends reevaluating your job descriptions for accuracy and ensuring that each position is truly exempt.

For more detailed information on how to prepare, On July 2, 2015 we published an article for preparing for the new exempt rules.  Preparing for New Exempt Rules

It’s not too late to be prepared, HRCentral is here to help you and your HR Department be prepared.  Contact us today.