Top 5 HR concerns for California Businesses in 2013
By Alisa

In our inaugural blog, we tackle the top employment concerns for the new year. In California, several new laws have taken effect. Large jury awards continue to remind us that our employment policies matter to our pockets and our shareholders. So, here are the top 5 HR issues you should review:
1. CA’s new Social Media Law: The sharp reader will have noted that this blog is a form of social media. Right you are! Work and personal life intermingle in the Interweb – what’s a company to do? Craft a careful social media policy and educate your managers, supervisors and recruiters about best practices. This means managers should not send a friend request to an employee’s Facebook page, should not subscribe to a candidate’s private blog, nor demand to see an employee’s text message on the employee’s phone (even if using the phone during work hours violates company policies).
2. Pregnancy Disability regulations: It’s time to review and update your pregnancy disability policies. For all employers with 5 or more employees, this means you. A host of new, broad regulations mean your old handbook is probably not only out of date, it’s flat-out violating the new regs. Time to revise, and then train the managers on how it affects your business.
3. Sexual Harassment: I know, you think this is old news, but bad behavior in the workplace continues to be litigated, because employers continue to ignore it. Consider training everyone at your business, not just the managers, and talk about the topic at all-hands meetings. Harassment in the workplace doesn’t just happen because of one bad apple. An individual just won a $168M jury verdict because her employer (a hospital) couldn’t be bothered to investigate her 18 written complaints.
4. Written Sales Commission Plans: If you have sales people (and what business doesn’t have sales?), then there needs to be a written sales commission plan. It needs to clearly state when a commission is earned, and how it’s calculated, and the plan needs to be in writing. It needs to be signed (by the company), the sales people need a copy of the plan, and the company needs a signed receipt from the sales people.
5. Expanded Disability Regulations: California’s new disability regs greatly expand upon, and clarify, what it means to be disabled, and what the employer needs to do to accommodate a disability. Everything from considering telecommuting to allowing a worker to have a ‘support animal’ for emotional support can be an allowable solution. Remember to always, always engage in the interactive process, and document what you discuss!

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