Jan 1, 2013
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2013 New Years’ Resolutions for Employers

"Let's spend Christmas and New Year's this way! And not in a hospital!", 1941 - 1945

Hey! It’s 2013! Congratulations for making it another year everybody.

In case you’re looking for a few more things to change about your life at the start of the “year of the lucky number” as we call it in the Eavenson household,1 here are a few employment law-related action items for your Resolution lists. I’ll be posting on each of these issues in more detail throughout January, so stay tuned.

Update Your HR Policies

This should be a no-brainer. With the new year traditionally comes a list of legal changes that require you to re-examine those HR policies to make sure you’re still in compliance.

In Illinois, the big one is the new “Facebook privacy” law, that makes it unlawful for employers to ask applicants or employees for their online passwords.2 As I’ve said before, even without the law there are a million reasons why demanding facebook passwords is a patently bad idea, but now the $200-plus fine should drive the point home pretty well.

A note: you can still legally request usernames in order to see what is publicly displayed by your applicants and employees, you just can’t get access to the stuff they’re keeping private. Sort-of makes sense, right?

Aside from that, I’ve been harping on you guys to review your policies all year, given the NLRB’s continued focus on the legality of standard HR policies. If you’ve been putting it off, now’s the time – for real.

Hire Smarter

Looks like the economy’s getting better and better - hallelujah. Let’s hope it keeps going throughout 2013. But if you’re hiring for the first time, or the first time in a few years, you had better make sure you’re doing it right. Laws like the aforementioned social media privacy bill, as well as shifts in focus by the EEOC and the fact that so many applicants have been out of work for longer than you probably expect may require you to tweak your normal line of questioning.

Take a Hard Look at Your Managers & Supervisors

Management training is one of those things that sounds so great, but gets pushed to the back burner so much it ends up getting stuck behind the stove. Don’t let it happen in 2013. Seriously, go back and look through the posts on this blog, or click any link on the blogroll down there and do the same. 90% of the cases that we talk about on these sites could’ve been avoided by hiring and training and monitoring managers. And with the Supreme Court possibly loosening the rules on what a “manager” is, training and clarity in job descriptions are going to be all the more important in 2013 and beyond.

…And one for the Growing and Big Companies (100+ Employees):

Take A Look At Your Legal Provider Options

Is this one a little self-serving bit of propaganda? You bet. But I mean it. I’m going to devote a post to this soon, so here’s all I’ll say right now: At the moment, I am a solo. And there are certain situations – like bet-the-farm class actions, for example – where I’m going to be the first to tell my smaller clients that they need to go bigger than me. But the opposite is just as true. There is no logic behind paying a first year associate at a international mega-firm to rep you in a pro-se discrimination claim that you know isn’t going anywhere when you can call me, get more experience, and save some coin.

That’s all I got for now. I’m going to go formulate my plan for making 2013 my @#+$%. Did I miss anything? Let me know.

 

 

 

Footnotes:
  1. 2013 is going to be a killer year for me and mine. Trust. []
  2. We are the third state to pass such a law, but several others have followed suit, so even if you are not in IL, you should check your state to see if this type of law is either new on the books or on its way. []

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