Where Companies Fail: The Most Common Employee Lawsuits

Surveys show that most companies think they follow the law. The reality is that many businesses are unknowingly breaking state and federal laws, which can result in expensive and time-consuming lawsuits and litigation.

Ninja Gig compiles a list of the most common types of employee lawsuits and how you can prevent them.

Discrimination

Discrimination is the most common employee lawsuit. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 89,385 charges in 2015. During that same year, they secured settlements of more than $356 million for victims that experienced employee discrimination. The EEOC focuses on protected categories, including nationality, race, sex, sexual preference, religion, disability and age. They also tackle cases related to discriminatory discharge, which is when someone’s employment terminates for falling into a protected class or category.

Retaliation

Retaliation and whistleblower claims are a huge expense. Retaliation can occur when someone files a complaint that relates to discrimination, and he/she then receives a layoff notice. Companies cannot fire employees that help participate in discrimination claims. Additionally, companies cannot ask employees to lie about discrimination claims and then fire them if they are not willing to be dishonest.

Harassment

We have all seen headlines that relate to harassment – Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas, the Navy Tailhook Scandal and Senator Bob Packwood, to name a few. Harassment lawsuits lead to messy litigation and expensive settlements.

 

Harassment encompasses a wide variety of offensive behavior, including offensive objects, jokes or pictures, physical assaults, name-calling and threats. If this type of conduct creates a hostile work environment, an employee may have a harassment case.

How can employers avoid lawsuits?

It may be difficult to prevent all lawsuits, as some employees may only be looking to cash in on settlements. However, businesses can help to avoid lawsuits by practicing state and federal employment laws.

 

Federal employment laws include the following:

 

  • Equal Pay Act – It is against the law to discriminate between women and men that perform the same job and same duties.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – You may not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This section also extends to include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Employers may not discriminate based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act – You may not discriminate against employees’ age 40 and older. Please note that some states expand this and decrease the age to 18.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act – You cannot discriminate against parents and pregnant women. This also includes prohibiting discrimination against employees with serious health conditions.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act – You may not discriminate against qualified employees due to a disability.
  • Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act – Employers may not discriminate against employees based on their genetic information. This includes prohibiting health insurance companies from discriminating against genetic information obtained through tests.

 

The best way to avoid lawsuits is to educate employees to create a healthy, positive work environment. Businesses need to practice harassment prevention by establishing complaint and grievance procedures. Always take action when employees complain about harassment. Most importantly, companies always need to stay apprised of the latest employment law changes.

 

Ninja Gig allows companies to accept employment applications online. Employers can easily include a non-discrimination notice during this application process, which can include a nondiscrimination statement.

What a Trump Presidency Means for Businesses

Americans collectively agree they are happy this presidential election is finally over. Whether you agree or disagree with the outcome of the election, one fact remains: Donald Trump’s policies will impact businesses.

The stock market’s initial reaction to a Trump presidency was plummeting, largely due to the shock that all the pollsters were wrong about calling this election. Once the market re-opened and the initial surprise wore off, stocks rallied and finished up.

Trump’s business plan includes cutting taxes, which will make America more attractive to big businesses. He wants to focus on eliminating regulations, which would greatly help U.S. energy resource efforts. Trump has attacked current trade deals; he wants to overhaul how the U.S. currently trades with other countries. Trump’s team estimates that by working on these three areas of business that the U.S. economy could grow at a 4-percent clip. Currently, the annual rate is approximately 2-percent.

Companies are anticipated to see a big tax reduction, as he wants to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35-percent to 15-percent. He believes this will help to retain businesses on U.S. soil. In the past, many companies have fled to foreign countries to conduct their businesses, as tax rates are substantially less.

Election results gave way to Republican sweeps in the House, Senate and the presidency. Since 1945, there has only been 12 times when a party has held all three of these crucial positions. Out of the last 12 times, only two have been Republican reigns.

Eliminating and/or changing the Affordable Care Act is a high probability with a Republican Congress and president. Trump’s reasoning behind eliminating and implementing a new affordable healthcare plan is because insurance premiums have increased by as much as 25-percent.

Trump’s plan to help eliminate illegal immigrants that take jobs away from Americans, is to have an H-1B visa program, which will allow a set number of immigrants to work in the U.S. Many large companies, such as Google and Facebook, use skilled foreign workers. Trump is looking for a solution that is similar to what Canada has instituted – U.S. companies would need to hire skilled American workers before using for a visa and immigration program.

 

While Trump ran on these platforms, it is yet to be seen how many of his ideas will be met with open minds by Congress.

 

Trump does not advocate increasing the federal minimum wage, but companies should note that many states increased minimum wage requirements in this 2016 election. Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington voted to increase the state minimum wage to a minimum of at least $12 per hour by 2020. Human resources professionals should check with each state for exact amounts and more information.

 

Ninja Gig focuses on creating online job applications. These applications make it easy for employers to ask specific questions, including if employees are authorized to work in the U.S.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial of this awesome software that allows you to accept job applications online and fill all your employment needs.

The 2016 Presidential Election and Its Impact on Human Resources

No one can escape this year’s election. It’s on every channel, Saturday Night Live skit and in all magazines. As a Human Resources professional, you’re probably wondering how this upcoming election will impact your career. Ninja Gig has the scoop.

Equal Pay
According to President Obama, women still earn less money than their male counterparts do. In fact, studies show that women earn approximately 78 cents for every dollar that men earn.

Hillary Clinton supports equal pay for both genders. She supported the failed Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014.

Republicans voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 because they said it would make it too easy for employees to sue corporations or businesses. Additionally, they said that the 1963 Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act provided the necessary protection for women.

Despite the negative press, Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he supports equal pay for equal work. Trump was quoted in an interview as saying, “You can have a woman that’s much better than a man; you can have a woman that’s not as good as a man. If you start to say everybody gets equal pay, you get away from the whole American Dream.”

Minimum Wage
Many states are increasing their minimum wage, but the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Democratic lawmakers advocate increasing the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020.

Hillary Clinton supports the $15 per hour minimum wage for New York City’s fast food restaurants’ employees. She also believes that minimum wage for other fast food workers in different states should also be that high. She also supports raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour.

Instead of increasing the minimum wage, Donald Trump supports allowing families to deduct child-care expenses on their federal taxes. In the past, when this childcare credit increased, more single mothers could afford to find long-term employment. Mr. Trump advocates a maximum supplement that equals one-half the amount of an employee’s payroll taxes, which includes Medicare and FICA. The maximum amount for married couples is based on the lower-earning spouse’s income.

Bottom Line: Increasing the minimum wage or reenacting the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 could influence businesses.

Ninja Gig offers online employment applications, which helps simplify record-keeping while streamlining the applications process. Start accepting job applications online today with a 30-day free trial.  Sign up now!

When do you need to fire a bad employee?

A bad employee grows like cancer within a company, infiltrating every cell and creating a negative work environment. Many employers have a hard time firing bad employees, but the problem with keeping them employed is that they will soon turn your entire workforce against you. This hostility can lead to a decrease in profits. The bottom line is that bad employees hurt your company more than you know.

So, what constitutes a bad employee?

  •  Poor Attitude – If a subordinate employee has a poor attitude and likes to think she’s in charge, it’s time for a reboot. Do not let this behavior continue and if it does, fire her. Trust us; you’ll be much better off in the long run.
  • Blames Others – If an employee is constantly blaming others for his actions and cannot take any responsibility for his mistakes, all signs point towards firing.
  • Misses Deadlines – If an employee is regularly missing agreed-upon deadlines or simply isn’t producing work, the chances are he’s dead weight.
  • Poor Quality – If her work is not to par and you are constantly correcting mistakes, it’s time to be concerned.
  • Frequently Gone – If your employee regularly takes time off, shows up late, takes long breaks or leaves early – neglecting to make up this lost time – it’s time to start looking for a replacement.
  • Wrong Priorities – If an employee cannot multi-task and spends time on unimportant tasks, this is a sign that the job may be over his head.
  • Poor Attendance – Team members should regularly make meetings and go the extra mile to ensure that other co-workers help meet their deadlines. If this isn’t happening, signs point towards an individual that doesn’t want the team to succeed.
  • Mistreats Others – If you have a bully at work, this behavior needs immediate correction. If not, your company could be facing hostile work environment or harassment claims.
  • Improper Language – Using language that is demeaning, insulting or foul is just bad work behavior. Improper language can also open you up to sexual harassment claims.
  • Threatens Employees – This goes back to bullying – just get rid of the employee and the remaining staff will be happier and more productive.

A good manager needs to establish measurable and clear boundaries with employees. Managers need to state their expectations for the employee and the job. This way, if a problem arises, managers can help employees identify unacceptable behavior, hopefully working towards a solution.

Managers need to understand that being an employee’s best friend is not advisable. This will put you in a bad position, should you need to discuss any of the above issues with an employee. It is best to maintain a friendly, yet distinct line. This will make your position as manager much easier.

Ninja Gig offers online job applications, which makes it easy for employers to advertise and hire qualified employees. One of the best features is that you can customize the application to ask “find-out” questions to help determine if the potential employee’s personality fits your environment and management style.  Start today with a free 30-day trial of our online employment application software.

Trends that Impact the 2016 Job Market

Currently, the big question is not if you can land a job, but if you can get your dream job. Unemployment has been steadily decreasing, resting at a steady five-percent. The good news for college graduates is that their unemployment rates are a mere 2.5-percent.

Nearly 60-percent of companies are focusing on brand, striving to keep current employees happy while continuing to recruit new and bright talent.  The latest hiring and job market trends are highlighted below.

  • Hiring Sectors Expanding – No longer is hiring only limited to the healthcare and technology sectors. There are many job opportunities for both new and seasoned employees. The top ten growing occupations are software developers, network and computer system administrators, nurses, sales managers, marketing managers, construction professionals, industrial engineers and financial managers.
  • Marketing Managers – Growing tech companies, such as Facebook and Amazon, have a growing need for marketing managers. In fact, it is one of the most in-demand jobs, second to only software developers and engineers. However, marketing manager requirements are changing due to the growth of digital consumer advertising. Today’s marketing manager is required to use analytics to determine appropriate marketing channels for customer acquisitions.
  • Software Developer – A scan of job websites reveals that software developers’ account for nearly one in 20 open job postings!
  • The Millennial Take Over – Millennials are moving their way up. Studies show that nearly 30% of managers are Millennials, 5% senior managers and 2% executives. This number is only set to increase.
  • Recruiting Videos – More companies are beginning to harness the power of video to help recruit and attract talent. Videos are a great way to highlight the culture of a company. This is similar to how many colleges recruit athletes. Giving potential employees a peak inside a company can help boost online job applications.
  • Data-Driven Recruiting – Recruiters are able to optimize the hiring process. They have the ability to pre-interview candidates, refine job descriptions and even help with setting compensation packages. This allows companies to better establish and nurture relationships with potential candidates.
  • The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Job Boom –The Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, South-central and Central Midwest could see a 40% increase in hires over last year. Regional employers are anticipated to increase their hiring by the single greatest percentage this year.

Ninja Gig works with a wide variety of companies, helping them create and accept job applications online. This helps simplify the recruiting process and makes it easier for potential candidates to browse company-specific websites and directly apply for open positions.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial and start accepting job applications online immediately.

The Latest Hiring Trends

Ninja Gig is seeing new hiring trends that are grabbing companies’ attentions nationwide. Businesses should take note of these trends, as competitive packages can mean the difference between high or low job turnover rates.

  • Perks and Benefits – Salary increases are projected to be a mere 2.9% this year, which means that more prospective employees are looking to negotiate more perks and benefits into their employment packages. This can include sign-on bonuses or relocation allowances. Some employees are looking for more flexible work schedules or additional paid time off. Additional benefits may include extended maternity, family or personal leaves.
  • Boomerang Employees – More employees are considering returning to their former employers. Studies even show that some 28% of employees are, in fact, boomerangs. Experts anticipate that companies will begin to host virtual and in-person alumni events to help boost networking with former employees. This will help companies further build their pipeline of potential rehires. As an added bonus, rehires generally require less training and are already familiar with company’s rules and procedures.
  • Social Media Increasing – Social media will continue to reach qualified job candidates. Recruiters are constantly using social media to research candidates for jobs. More people will brush up their social media profiles, making themselves available to potential job opportunities that may arise. Companies will also continue to embrace online job applications, which make it easy for potential candidates to apply for open positions.
  • Employee Referral Programs – Companies are beginning to embrace the benefits of word of mouth advertising. Companies are offering referral bonuses that range from $100 to $500 to former employees, friends of the company and current employees that refer potential job talent to their human resources departments.
  • Flexibility – The number of companies that offer flexible work arrangements will continue to increase. This may include flexible work hours, occasional telecommuting or virtual access to company files.

Finally, companies are continuing to turn to digital hiring alternatives to streamline their hiring process.  Options like job boards, applicant tracking systems, digital on-boarding packages, and more, allow companies of all sizes to simplify and streamline the previously burdensome task of hiring.  Ninja Gig is a great option to help your company accept job applications online.  The process is simple, and you can take advantage of our current 30-day free trial.  Sign up today and see why online employment apps are part of the latest hiring trends.

The Benefits of Social Media: Constant Recruiting

Social platforms reach millions of people. Facebook has more than 1.65 billion users, followed by Twitter at 400 million and Linked In at 100 million. This makes social media a marketing platform, not just for advertising products and sales, but also for recruiting potential job applicants.

Social hiring allows companies to actively advertise online job applications and engage with potential candidates. In today’s economy, everyone is a potential candidate, which means that companies need to make the most of these free recruiting resources.

Social media attracts more than just the Millennials. In fact, Generation X is becoming more active in social media too. To keep up with job seekers, recruiters must understand and utilize today’s modern social recruiting tactics.

The following highlights three things that companies should be actively engaging in on social media sites.

  1. Social Talent Brand – This includes highlighting a company’s values, mission and vision. This allows companies to attract qualified candidates at a mere fraction of previous recruiting costs. Companies should include their image – in photos, videos and words – across social media.
  2. Evangelize – Empower employees to praise the current culture, proclaiming what a great place it is to work. By offering corporate social media pages, this allows employees to share their experiences. In fact, surveys show that 65% of potential applicants consider a new job if they hear about it from a personal connection. Corporate social media sites make this possible.
  3. Positive Exposure – Companies should be celebrating positive experiences, highlighting that employees thrive in their corporate environment. This helps attract great potential employees.

Social media makes it possible for companies to highlight online job applications and accept job applications, which helps make the hiring process smooth and less stressful. This also allows companies to retain resumes for future openings.

Ninja Gig helps companies create online job applications, which makes it simple to accept employment applications via social media channels. Not only will you be able to use social media to drive candidates to your online employment application, you can also gain SEO benefits when you link to your job openings on your favorite social media outlets.  We welcome you to see how easy it can be to simplify your hiring process and streamline your digital processes by signing up today for a free trial.

Social Media: Influencing the Hiring Process

Social media is helping companies and recruiters reach more candidates. Social media is a fast, effective recruiting tool that is changing the way businesses post jobs.

This type of recruiting tool should be used in addition to other traditional search methods. For example, using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can help attract tech-savvy applicants, while promoting jobs on websites, such as Monster.com and Indeed.com are also good methods for attracting traditional applicants that do not search for jobs on social media sites.

Employers cannot discriminate based on online profiles, as this is unethical. This should give applicants the peace of mind to apply for jobs online. In fact, many companies are using online job applications, which are helping to simplify the employment process.

Employers need to focus on branding before placing job applications online. It is crucial to advertise the right message, as this attract candidates that are more qualified. Statistics show that social media has helped to make recruiting easier, more open and allows companies to reach a larger demographic. However, social media is unlikely to replace traditional recruitment methods anytime in the near future.

Hiring managers should work closely with recruiters or in-house marketing teams to make sure that the right business messages are relayed online. This includes highlighting the values, vision and culture of the company. Just because someone is hired for a job, does not mean it has been a success. Success is determined by how long an employee stays with a company.

Many traditional job recruitment sites have seen a substantial decrease in their revenues. In 2009, Monster.com experienced a 31% drop in revenues. Recruiters and hiring managers are taking a proactive approach to employment by reaching a wide variety of potential talent across several social networking platforms.

In fact, more candidates that are qualified are advertising their skills via social media sites, which make it easier for recruiters to find employees that meet the required skill sets. However, online profiles do not necessarily offer an accurate representation of candidates. It is recommended that employers are cautious about the content of social media profiles. Some potential candidates may not feel comfortable sharing their information publicly. Additionally, some companies are requesting that employees not promote themselves online, as this makes them vulnerable to poaching. In some cases, it is best to post job openings on social media sites and allow applicants to apply.

There are some problems with only posting jobs on social media. Statistics show that nearly 80% of LinkedIn users are of Caucasian decent. This means that minorities are often overlooked. Additionally, a small percentage of users have postgraduate degrees and high earners are less likely to participate in social media.

Most importantly, relationships matter when it comes to making business decisions. Personal communication is never a substitute for the convenience of social media.

The latest studies also show that nearly 80% of companies use social media for recruiting purposes, while 95% used LinkedIn for recruiting.

Ultimately, social media is fast, cost effective and allows employers to advertise their specific branding. However, it does lack the ability to attract a diverse group of applicants, can be very time consuming, can subject a company to discrimination claims and ultimately lacks the control of traditional recruiting efforts.

Ninja Gig offers online job applications, which helps to simplify the recruitment and hiring process.  Best of all, you can link potential applicants from various social media outlets directly to your online employment application.  Sign up for a free trial today!

Recordkeeping Rules for Job Applications

Ninja Gig provides software that specializes in accepting job applications, which helps to streamline Human Resources’ job. However, the federal government still has requirements about keeping job applications, whether they are received in-person or online. Outlined below are the specific federal regulations and their stipulations for maintaining copies of job applications.

  • Age Discrimination – Under this federal act, employment applications must be retained for one-year; however, if anything on the application indicates that an applicant may be over 40 years of age, all necessary paperwork is to be retained for two years. Some states that have adopted the 40 years and older rule for age discrimination, while others have rules about age discrimination starting at 18 years of age. It is best to check with each individual state.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act – This requires that applications be kept a minimum of one-year and a maximum of two years.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Employers must keep job applications and other necessary employment records for one-year.
  • Executive Order 11246 – This is a more complicated rule and applies to government contractors that have less than 150 employees, or a contract of at least $150,000. If the two aforementioned conditions are met, employers must maintain records for a minimum of two years. If a previous resume is reconsidered for a new position, the date of time to retain the document restarts.

There are some exceptions to the above rules. For example, if a company is facing an unlawful employment practice or discrimination charge, an employment application must be retained until all legal issues are resolved.

Many employers opt to save applications and resumes online, which makes it easier to save and later destroy these documents. To be on the safe side, it is recommended that employers retain job applications and resumes for two years.

The beautiful thing about using online application software like Ninja Gig is that long-term storage becomes a breeze, as we keep all applicant data stored securely, indefinitely!  Even if you choose to “delete” an applicant, we keep that data archived and can easily recover the application.

This, and many more reasons, are why you should be accepting employment applications online!  You can use our job application template or create your own custom job application, and start receiving applications immediately.  Sign-up for our 30-day free trial of our software and see how simple the hiring process can become.

Pokemon Go! But only on your break!

Five days ago a friend of mine posted on Facebook “I am going to the park to play Pokemon if anyone wants to come with me.”  This was from a 30-something year old!  At the time, way back last week, Pokemon Go wasn’t in my vocabulary, but this new game has taken the world by storm, and one can’t help but be exposed to this latest craze.

Today at work I was in the lobby waiting for someone to arrive for a meeting, when two of my co-workers got off the elevator, both intently looking at their phones and clicking, swiping, etc.  The one asked the other, “did you get any?”  I knew right away what they were talking about.

pokemon

I am not a hater of technology, Pokemon, or any other diversion, but everything has it’s place, especially in the workplace.  I have worked with people over the years who watch movies while programming, have a game running in the background that they check in on once an hour, and more.  I don’t think any of these things are bad in-and-of-themselves, but I do think that people should come to work to work, get the job done as quickly as possible, and then leave work to do these extra-curricular activities.

I found the above image extremely funny, and yet sad, as I think it does somewhat portray the culture we are in with extreme diversions, time-sucks, blog reading (like this one), etc.  As an employer, I have a hard time knowing the right balance between work and allowing my employees these small diversions.  I am not sure what the correct balance is.

All this said, there are blatant abuses of the system, and there are things you can do as an employer to identify time abuse and deal with it before it becomes a much larger problem.  Another great idea is to try and identify potential issues before you actually hire someone.  A glance at a person’s social media accounts will quickly tell you how active he/she is on social media.  If the potential candidate is posting once an hour or more, this could be a sign that they are going to be highly distracted at work.

Finally, you should ask questions on the application that might help you identify people who are going to have a hard time focusing on the job at hand.  By asking them questions about their hobbies, interest outside of work, and more, you can gain a pretty good understanding of their personality.  Luckily, there are great software options out there that allow you customize your job application and ask almost any question you want, within legal realms.  Ninja Gig is a great option to allow you to accept job applications online, while also providing you with a way to customize your employment application.  We even offer a job application template you can start from.

Interested in learning more?  Sign up today for our 30-day free trial, and you can start accepting job applications within the next few minutes.