The 10 Hottest MODERN EMPLOYER Topics of 2017
Employers had one heck of a year in 2017. So many things happened! It was a year of “keeping” measures:
- Keeping up with legislation
- Keeping away from litigation
- Keeping an edge on the competition
- Keeping talent happy in the company fold
- Keeping a steady flow of quality applicants coming in
- Keeping your sanity with all the crazy changes and uncertainty
Companies had to do all of the above under sometimes tenuous (or downright precarious) conditions in order to maintain efficient, modern and engaging workplaces that brought in profits. That’s not easy. We give mad props to those employers who managed it all.
We’ll say this for 2017: It wasn’t boring.
To better understand how unique the year was, check out our recap below of the biggest topics we covered in 2017, based on popularity and interest from our readers.
Salary History Questions Restrictions
The infamous Pay Equity for All Act of 2016 (H.R. 6030) preventing employers from asking job applicants about their salary history was still under review at the start of the year. We reported in early February that huge fines could be brought down against employers who violated the law, and that prospective and current employees would also be able to file private lawsuits against employers who violated this legislation, receiving up to $10,000 in damages, plus attorney fees. The Obama administration legislation seemed likely to be overturned under the new president, but as of September, a version of the Act was still up in the air.
It should be noted that, states and cities have implemented their own versions of this regulation, including Massachusetts, Philadelphia and New York City. There are likely more regional rules of this nature being introduced across the country as well.
In March, the Thinx workplace sexual harassment controversy was perhaps a foreshadowing of what bigger firestorms were to come later in the year. Then in October, news broke about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and suddenly sexual harassment was being exposed all over the media landscape. All this lead to our comprehensive December post about how employers of all sizes could protect their businesses in the event of such damaging claims.
The Rollercoaster Ride of DOL Overtime Rule Changes
We followed all year long, since the U.S. District Court in Texas handed down a last-minute injunction of the landmark 2016 Department of Labor (DOL) overtime rule change that would have more than doubled (from $23,660 to $47,476) the minimum annual salary that allowed for “white collar” exemptions. These changes were set to go into effect on December 1, 2016, but the court blockage prevented the implementation of this new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rule that would have given an estimated 4 million more American workers eligibility for overtime pay. Under the Trump administration, the rule found no allies, and they had remained blocked through most of 2017. Late in the year, the revised overtime rule was finally struck down.
One thing became certain through our coverage of all this: it has gotten really hard to keep all the changes the being made to employment and workplace regulations. You can rest assured, however, that myHR Partner and MODERN EMPLOYER will keep you posted on any developments that employers need to know. That’s why if you haven’t already done so, consider following us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. We will make sure you stay informed on this and other important compliance issues.
Medical Marijuana and the Workplace
With all the new and revised medical marijuana laws that have come into play across the country recently, pot continues to be a topic HR professionals and employers had to re-examine. Many employers are left scratching their heads about how to adapt their policies and procedures as states and localities enter into this new legal territory. We reminded our readers about the hazy pitfalls that employers can run into in while trying to determine how to accommodate employees who are sanctioned to use medical marijuana without running into compliance, safety or productivity issues in the workplace. Our president and CEO, Tina Hamilton, PHR, also provided a lively and informative presentation on what the legalization of medical marijuana means for employers at Health Care Symposium 2017, a Lehigh Valley Business event held in August. It was one of her most well received speaking engagements of the year.
Office Pranks Gone Wrong
In advance of April Fool’s Day, we posted a humorous blog about how workplace pranks and stunts can go horribly, horribly wrong. Apparently, avoiding police visits and lawsuits brought on by practical jokes gone wrong struck a nerve with many of our readers, maybe because some jokesters out there cannot confine their stunts to just the first day of April.
Gross Tales from the HR Frontlines
Lice, bedbugs, body odor…who says HR blogging isn’t interesting? Our May post about how employers can avoid regulatory issues and problems in the workplace when icky, smelly and otherwise cringe-worthy bodily issues arise was a popular one. In this May post, we shared valuable information for employers on how to avoid violating any government regulations during uncomfortable conversations in the workplace in the hopes that if you ever had to face these kinds of icky issues, you would be prepared.
Hurricane & Inclement Weather Advice
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused incredible damage and destruction along the east coast this year. The unfortunate reality is that before, during and after severe weather situations, wage and hour laws will prevail, even in the face of natural disasters. In early September, we shared inclement weather policy tips for businesses and employers that are also useful as severe winter weather faces other parts of the country over the next few months.
Our 15th Anniversary Year
We announced our quinceañera in August, and shared the story of myHR Partner’s history and journey as a pioneer in outsourced HR services. We’ve been delivering modern outsourced HR services to businesses across the country for 15 years, and have grown from a workforce of two focused on hiring process management to a team of 15 HR professionals handling a wide array of human resources support and services. In conjunction, we posted a great retrospective comparing human resources (AKA “personnel”) from 2002 with HR today. Like cellphone technology and top-rated TV shows, a lot has changed!
When the Boss Goes on Unexpected Leave
In November, President and CEO Tina Hamilton, PHR, shared her personal experience of having to take a sudden absence from running her business due to a personal crisis in a post offering six important pieces of advice about emergency succession planning that every business owner needs to know before such an unexpected event occurs to them. It’s a compelling and important read for bosses everywhere.
Hiring in Today’s Job Market
From asking the most common, and useless, interview question around to the big hiring mistake that can take up to 17 weeks to recover from, attracting and acquiring talent were hot topics this year. Our hiring tips were trending throughout the year too. The new year rings in with a typically active hiring season in January, but if you think it’s going to be easier to hire quality talent in 2018, you ought to think again. All too often employers find out too late that their recruiting efforts probably need a major upgrade. Don’t let that happen to your business!