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employers increasingly drop marijuana testing of job applicants

​employers should think twice before drug-testing every job applicant, according to secretary of labor alexander acosta—advice many companies already are following in light of the patchwork of state laws affording rights to medical marijuana users and increased use of pot, experts say. acosta made his remark at a house ways and means committee hearing april 17.marijuana use by adults in the u.s. almost doubled between 1984 and 2015, according to a 2017 study. michael clarkson, chair of ogletree deakins' drug-testing practice group in boston, said one of his clients couldn't staff its third shift if it screened for marijuana and was considering stopping the testing. "i'm sure they're not alone," he said. despite acosta's statement, ...




sec’s investment advice proposal upends fiduciary debate

the securities and exchange commission (sec) on april 18 issued its own proposals to enhance the quality and transparency of investors' relationships with advisors and brokers.the sec's move comes at a time when the department of labor (dol) struggles over implementing the obama administration's fiduciary rule requiring retirement plan advisors to offer only advice that's in the best interest of plan participants regardless of fees or commissions—and holding plan sponsors liable for seeing that they do."this move by the sec comes after a march 2018 ruling by the 5th circuit that squashed [enforcement of] the department of labor's 2016 fiduciary rule, putting the guidelines in limbo," said john ryan, a partner in law firm se...




sec’s investment advice proposal upends fiduciary debate

the securities and exchange commission (sec) on april 18 issued its own proposals to enhance the quality and transparency of investors' relationships with advisors and brokers.the sec's move comes at a time when the department of labor (dol) struggles over implementing the obama administration's fiduciary rule requiring retirement plan advisors to offer only advice that's in the best interest of plan participants regardless of fees or commissions—and holding plan sponsors liable for seeing that they do."this move by the sec comes after a march 2018 ruling by the 5th circuit that squashed [enforcement of] the department of labor's 2016 fiduciary rule, putting the guidelines in limbo," said john ryan, a partner in law firm se...




11 ways to boost your versatility

in no other profession is versatility more relevant than in recruiting. at the peak of their game, recruiters demonstrate mastery in 11 skills, attributes and traits. these essential competencies make recruiters one of the most versatile groups of employees in the marketplace. in my new book, the essentials of recruiting: comprehensive training for mastering the principles and practices of recruiting(next century, 2018), i outline each of the "essential eleven" qualities that versatile recruiters have in their toolboxes. i suggest that as you read through each one, you rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the best.1. astuteness.  recruiters are expected to comprehend information about company operations, products, services, jo...




surgeon general calls on employers to combat opioid epidemic

surgeon general jerome adams called on employers to "step up" to combat the opioid epidemic."as employers, you already understand that the health of your employees has an impact on your bottom line," said adams, an anesthesiologist who was confirmed by the senate as the 20th u.s. surgeon general last august. "my challenge to you is to think about how you can impact health beyond the walls of your office, beyond the factory."adams spoke april 19 in washington, d.c., at business health agenda 2018, a conference sponsored by the national business group on health (nbgh), an association of large employers.addiction is a public health crisis, adams noted, with an estimated 2.1 million people in the u.s. struggling with an opioid-use con...




home health care workers may proceed for denied overtime pay

​dismissing the notion that plaintiffs of a collective action under the fair labor standards act (flsa) need to be identical, the u.s. district court for the northern district of ohio conditionally certified a class of home health care workers alleging that they were denied overtime pay.the plaintiffs have worked for certain care llc between jan. 1, 2015, and the present. they maintained that certain care had a uniform policy of not paying their home health care workers any overtime pay for hours worked over 40 hours a week, in violation of the flsa. plaintiffs moved the district court to conditionally certify a collective action of all home health care workers employed by certain care during the same period. [shrm members-only toolkit: ...




recertification q&a: different ways to recertify

​have questions about recertifying your shrm-cp or shrm-scp? twice a month, the shrm certification team will answer some of the frequently asked questions they receive from credential-holders. q:  can i obtain recertification credits for research, writing and publishing? what are the requirements? a:  yes, research, writing and publishing activities—such as through shrm's member2member solutions—can qualify for professional development credits (pdcs). they must occur outside of your own organization. the content must be related to the shrm body of competency and knowledge™, consist of at least 750 words, not be solely opinion-based...




will california hr staff be personally liable for retaliation?

the california senate judiciary committee has approved a bill that could possibly make hr professionals and other employees personally liable for retaliating against workers who complain about harassment and discrimination. "individuals need to understand that they will be held accountable if they try to interfere with or threaten someone who has made a … claim," said sen. connie leyva, d-chino, at a committee hearing on april 17. employers, however, are concerned about this bill, said benjamin ebbink, an attorney with fisher phillips in sacramento. "as the bill is worded now, it is extremely broad and would potentially make any employee … personally liable for alleged retaliation."the california state council of the society for ...




do your words deter women?

use the wrong words in your job description and women may not apply, researchers have found—and even if they do apply, it will take them, and men, longer to decide to do so. new software like that offered by textio and talent sonar, which recruiters use to remove gendered and other biased language from posts, and overall awareness of the effects of using certain words can eliminate inadvertent bias. as you write job ads, the software identifies your text as having either a feminine or a masculine tone. but "tone" here has less to do with writing style, textio director of communications marissa coughlin says, and more to do with vocabulary—which words "are statistically likely to attract more women or men to your job post." t...




oregon enacts tougher data breach notification law

oregon governor kate brown signed a bill last month toughening the state's already stringent data breach notification law, which will take effect on june 2.  the most significant change for companies to be aware of is the requirement that affected consumers be notified no later than 45 days following discovery of a breach. additionally, if a company offers free credit monitoring or identity theft protection services to the affected consumers, the company may not require the consumers to provide a credit or debit card number in order to receive such services.originally passed in 2007, and amended in 2015, the oregon consumer identity theft protection act (codified as ors § 654a.600 to 654a.628) already requires companies to notify ...




do your words deter women?

​use the wrong words in your job description and women may not apply, researchers have found—and if they do, it will take them, and men, longer to decide to do so. new tools like augmented writing platforms textio and talent sonar, tools that recruiters use to remove gender bias from posts, and overall awareness of certain words can eliminate inadvertent bias. as you write job ads, the software identifies your text as having either a feminine or a masculine tone. but "tone" here has less to do with writing style, textio director of communications marissa coughlin says, and more to do with vocabulary—which words "are statistically likely to attract more women or men to your job post." take "exhaustive," for example—a word...




step back to step forward

​best-selling author martin yate, a career coach and former hr professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in hr. contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.  i recently marked my sixth year working for the same company and have taken on many roles. i started as an entry-level manager and was promoted to retail supervisor and then to general manager, a position i was in for over three years. at the end of 2016 i decided to step down from this position to continue working toward a bachelor's degree in hr management. i plan to graduate in december 2019. my goal is to obtain a position in hr with my present company. though i do not have a degree, i have several years of indirect hr experien...




effective onboarding should last for months

consider the human resources director at a 250-person high-tech startup who wants to strengthen her organization's onboarding practices. currently the company does little more than a half-day new employee orientation that consists of a code-of-conduct video, safety demonstration, and mounds and mounds of new-hire paperwork. before the lunch hour hits, new hires are whisked off to their departments and set free, never to hear from hr again until performance review time or some other exigency arises."employers often mistakenly allow new hires to integrate into the organization without specific touch points or check-ins to measure progress and assess the individual's role and comfort level in the new organization, and that's a missed oppo...




recertification q&a: different ways to recertify

​have questions about recertifying your shrm-cp or shrm-scp? twice a month, the shrm certification team will answer some of the frequently asked questions they receive from credential-holders. q:  can i obtain recertification credits for research, writing and publishing? what are the requirements? a:  yes, research, writing and publishing activities can qualify for professional development credits (pdcs). they must occur outside of your own organization. the content must be related to the shrm body of competency and knowledge™, consist of at least 750 words, not be solely opinion-based, contain factual informat...




shrm-scp to lead federal hr agency

​the federal government's hr department has a new permanent director for the first time in nearly three years. the u.s. senate voted in march to confirm jeff pon, shrm-scp, as the director of the office of personnel management (opm). pon was most recently shrm's chief hr and strategy officer. he previously served in the george w. bush administration as chief human capital officer for the department of energy and as a deputy director of e-government at opm during the launch of the usajobs careers site. pon's confirmation comes as the current administration is set to unveil its federal workforce agenda, including significant civil service reform proposals. at his confirmation hearing in october 2017, pon said his priorities as opm directo...




how to choose hiring assessments that work for you

​remember the four v's the next time you're being pitched by a selection assessment vendor, whitney martin told attendees at the recent society for human resource management 2018 talent conference & exposition.martin, the president of proactive consulting, an assessment strategy consulting firm in louisville, ky., said she's inundated with calls asking which prehire assessment is the best. the data support the growing appeal of assessments. according to the talent board's 2016 north american candidate experience research report, 82 percent of companies are using some form of pre-employment assessment test. martin responds to the question of which test is the best with, "why are you thinking about using an assessment? what are you r...




will california hr staff be personally liable for retaliation?

the california senate judiciary committee has approved a bill that could possibly make hr professionals and other employees personally liable for retaliating against workers who complain about harassment and discrimination. "individuals need to understand that they will be held accountable if they try to interfere with or threaten someone who has made a … claim," said sen. connie leyva, d-chino, at a committee hearing on april 17. employers, however, are concerned about this bill, said benjamin ebbink, an attorney with fisher phillips in sacramento. "as the bill is worded now, it is extremely broad and would potentially make any employee … personally liable for alleged retaliation."the california state council of the society for ...




massachusetts adjusts limits on criminal history inquiries

a provision in the massachusetts criminal justice reform law signed by gov. charlie baker amends the state's restrictions on the questions employers may ask a job applicant regarding the applicant's criminal history during the hiring process. the new restrictions include an adjusted limitation on asking about misdemeanor convictions and a bar on asking about sealed or expunged criminal records.the new restrictions go into effect on oct. 13, six months after april 13, the date baker signed the measure.in 2010, massachusetts became the second state in the nation (hawaii was the first) to ban both public and private employers from requesting criminal record information on initial job applications. the massachusetts "ban-the-box" provision...




new jersey legislature passes paid-sick-leave bill

on april 12, the new jersey state senate, by a vote of 24-12, passed the new jersey paid sick leave act. the act, which passed the assembly last month by a 50-24 margin, requires businesses of all sizes to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees during an employer-established benefit year.the act, which gov. phil murphy pledged to sign, expressly preempts municipal paid-sick-leave ordinances passed in cities and towns, such as newark, morristown and paterson, in an effort to provide uniform obligations to businesses operating within the state. the act includes the following provisions:accrualthe act requires businesses to establish a benefit year of 12 consecutive months during which an employee may accrue up to 40 hours of p...




screening candidates’ social media may lead to tmi, discrimination claims

​recruiters and hiring managers can't seem to stop themselves from perusing candidates' social media profiles during the hiring process, a practice that can save employers from making bad hires but that carries significant risk."screening social media allows employers to look inside a person's head to see who a candidate really is," said les rosen, founder and ceo of employment screening resources, a background screening firm in novato, calif. "but if you use it incorrectly, there's a world of privacy and discrimination problems that could arise," he said at the recent society for human resource management 2018 talent conference & exposition.[shrm members-only online discussion platform: shrm connect]employers need to be especiall...