It's a new year which means new you, new resolutions, blah, blah, blah. It also means new HR topics to consider for 2018, particularly considering all the fun 2017 brought us like this, this, this, and, oh yeah, this. Here's some friendly HR advice to prepare for the New Year.
1. #MeToo Means Employers Should Take Sexual Harassment Seriously.
If there is one buzzphrase for the end of 2017 it was "sexual harassment." Celebrities exposing Hollywood-level sexual harassment and inequality gave voice to thousands of other claims of sexual harassment both in and out of the workplace. Regardless of your personal thoughts on the topic, all Employers should consider requiring Sexual Harassment Training for all its employees to (1) show the employer does take these claims seriously and (2) inform employees of the applicable employment policies forbidding sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment and retaliation claims are on the rise with the EEOC which means employers should be taking this topic very seriously. If you do not already have an anti-sexual harassment policy in your handbook, I'd add it ASAP.
Pro Tip: if you take the time to conduct sexual harassment training, steer clear of jokes and always make sure your employees sign an attendance sheet.
2. Overtime Reform is Coming Back... Maybe.
Remember overtime reform and how you made a bunch of preparations that didn't matter? Yes, that dreadful topic is coming back with a tentative due date of October 2018. While I certainly wouldn't hold my breath, it does look like the Trump administration is looking to raise the salary threshold for the "white collar exemptions." Before you start panicking, it is highly suspected that the salary threshold will only raise to about $30K as opposed to the $47K suggested by the Obama administration. Its worth a sit-down conversation with your accountant at the very least.
3. Employer-Friendly Agencies Do Not Mean Do What You Want.
While its no secret that many of President Trump's appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and U.S. Department of Labor sway heavily on the Employer side of things, this does not mean the next few years are a free-for-all. Employers should regularly update Employment Handbooks with revised policies. Employers should always abide by federal and state employment laws, and at least for North Carolina employers, if you are drafting a non-compete agreement, you should probably have an attorney review it. For many industries, like construction, finding and keeping a talented workforce is a bit of a challenge so consider creative ways to keep employees happy while still maintaining a positive bottom line. If you are using contractors in North Carolina, you should probably consult with an attorney since the Employee Fair Classification Act went into effect 12/31/17. And whatever you do in 2018, try to avoid turning out like these guys.