North State SHRM News & Legal Updates
Your source of relevant news in HR in the North State, California and nationwide.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported in late January that it fielded 72,675 charges of workplace discrimination in 2019, the largest number alleging retaliation. Those figures don’t include any charges filed with state or local fair employment agencies, which EEOC does not report.
The number was down slightly from 2018’s tally of more than 76,000 charges. The number of suits filed under all federal fair employment statutes also dropped, from 217 in 2018 to 157 last year.
Of the approximately 73,000 charges filed with EEOC in 2019, more than half were complaints of retaliation. The largest number of those retaliation complaints alleged retaliation for complaints protected by Title VII.
Those cases involve employment discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Title VII charges were followed by disability- and age-related complaints.
About 180 suits filed in 2018 or earlier were resolved in 2019. Total monetary benefits obtained through mediation, conciliation, and settlements totaling $39.1 million in 2019, down from $53.6 million in 2018, due mainly to a decrease in payments for ADA– and ADEA-related cases.
Payouts in cases involving retaliation under Title VII rose to $25.8 million. That was up compared to both 2018 and 2017.
One of the stats that stands out from the 2019 EEOC retaliation data is the continued rise in the number of LGBT-based sex discrimination charges and monetary payouts despite a lack of clear guidance from the nation’s highest court.
In 2004, the first full year of EEOC tracking this category, 1,100 charges resulted in $2.2 million in monetary benefits and settlement payments. Last year, 1,868 charges resulted in $7 million in payments.
Keep in mind that EEOC found “No
Reasonable Cause” in more than 60% of charges every year they’ve tracked this
category. As societal attitudes toward LGBT rights evolve, that percentage may
drop and employers’ potential monetary liabilities rise.
Employers should take away one clear compliance lesson from the report: your discrimination and retaliation reporting and response programs can’t just be a few pages in your employee handbook.
HR should constantly review procedures with employees, supervisory staff and management and validate that your process is working.
The EEOC data highlights that all employees need training to understand what constitutes discrimination. And supervisors and managers must understand compliance obligations related to all EEOC laws and rules.
Suits alleging violation of the Equal Pay Act (EPA), while a small percentage of the total at just 1,117, were the highest since 2003. EPA-related awards were up slightly over last year but remain relatively flat over recent years.
Nevertheless, it might be a good time to look into a privileged gender pay equity audit. Experts predict that the number of cases and amounts awarded for EPA violations will likely climb during 2020 and beyond, as employees and EEOC focus more attention on pay disparities.
As always, consult with counsel
before initiating any pay equity studies or policy changes.
For 2020, legislation enacted in December of 2019 dramatically increases penalties imposed by the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) for late filing of certain employee benefit plan notices and reports. In addition, a final rule published by the Department of Labor (DOL) makes inflation adjustments to a wide range of penalties. Learn the penalty amounts that apply beginning in 2020.
Will your employees receive a pension? Does it incentivize them to stay on the job–but not to stay motivated or highly productive? Tenured employees hold institutional knowledge and experience that can benefit entire organization. But if they are focused solely on their retirement date, the entire organization loses out. Re-energize your pensioned employees with these strategies.
Employers with limited space may not be able to provide a separate room for each accommodation. So here are some ideas for creating a multipurpose room to accommodate various employee requests.
There was enough evidence to support a jury verdict in favor of a restaurant in a chef’s lawsuit for overtime pay, a California appellate court ruled.
The workforce is constantly evolving and companies across all industries are adapting to ever-changing employee desires. Smart employers are striving to create a positive employee experience. That requires constantly refining how they approach human resources to ensure that they can continue to recruit and retain top talent.
From flexibility and competitive compensation to professional development opportunities and a focus on wellness, workers are seeking out desirable benefits when deciding where they want to work. While every industry has its own challenges, the unique characteristics of the healthcare sector have caused it to lag behind other industries in some respects.
I came into my position as chief human resources officer for Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit hospital systems in the U.S., without any healthcare background. But we have moved to adopt fundamental principles for growth to ensure that we are serving the needs of current and future employees.
To help become an ideal “Employer of the Future,” we have implemented a three-pronged strategy:
1) modernization, to attract the best talent.
2) customization, to develop and retain existing team members.
3) efficiency, to make work easier for each of our team members.
This strategy is helping us to live our mission: just as Banner has worked hard to optimize all aspects of the healthcare experience for customers and patients, we are equally dedicated to meeting the needs of our diverse, demanding workforce.
For HR professionals working
toward similar goals, these five tips are essential for recruiting and
retaining top talent, regardless of your industry:
Flexibility is key to recruiting and retaining top talent. Employees today want to decide how, when, and where they work. It can be as simple as allowing employees personal options in how they dress, while still aligning with company policy. This may not be a new concept in every field, but it is not yet common in healthcare. Another option is flexible scheduling: allowing people to work less than full time or a modified work schedule. Banner, which is the largest employer in Arizona, offers telecommuting options which have led to more than 2,200 team members working from home.
It’s increasingly important
to balance what employees want today with what they will want tomorrow. More
and more, employees want to create their own career ladder, instead of feeling confined
to a narrow path. They also want more transparency–knowing where they stand
and receiving more frequent feedback.
Particularly at large organizations, policies need to work for a diverse base of employees with very different jobs and life experiences, ranging from Gen Zers to Baby Boomers and beyond. Workforce diversity is growing across all industries, and we, as HR pros, must customize our approaches and our interactions with employees to make sure their needs are being heard and addressed.
For example, physician burnout is a very serious issue in healthcare nationwide. Physicians have far different wants and needs than other employees, so we created a Physician HR Team to ensure that we listen to them and tailor our approach to better support them. We also created a Physician Development and Experience Team to help us design a new mobile technology, the Clinician Experience Project.
This technology offers short suggestions for physicians on all facets of their work. Whether it’s how to help a patient more efficiently, how to have a courageous conversation with a colleague, or how to improve patient experience scores, this library of over 600 insights and bits of advice, provides a tailored value-add for our talented physician community.
We all develop job descriptions with criteria we would like new hires to meet. However, don’t let these expectations hinder you from making unorthodox strategic hires. Sometimes a person without the expected background will bring a fresh perspective that will shake things up for the better. Banner has made a conscious choice to hire from outside healthcare. We currently have 26 executives from other fields, including banking, retail, hospitality, and customer service, and this shift in hiring is serving us very well.
throughout the workforce is critical for employee satisfaction and for ensuring
your organization continues to innovate and evolve. Redesigned workspaces can
help boost creativity and collaboration. Giving team members the opportunity to
share work space and ideas is an inexpensive perk. Other strategies, such as
“Focused Fridays” which consist of no meetings and limited emails allowing
leaders to spend more time with their front-line team members and reimagined meeting
agendas that put rules in place for meetings, including when, who, and how long
they should be, can optimize productivity and balance collaboration with other
demands on employee time.
Technology has changed workflow, productivity, and information access, but often with added burdens for workers who are already under pressure. We are implementing a new human capital management system to help streamline processes.
Our HR department utilizes 11 different systems, but unfortunately, most don’t talk to each other. An employee might complete their annual goals, but those goals don’t download into their performance evaluation, which in turn doesn’t load into their compensation or their development summary. So, we’re deploying new technology to collapse those 11 pieces into one.
During rounds, nursing staff regularly visit each patient on a unit or meet with physicians or other colleagues to discuss each patient’s progress, setbacks, etc., since the previous rounds.
Banner recently rolled out a rounding app for our nursing leaders that helps them better address the needs and wants of our patients, as well as better engage with their direct reports. The app notifies housekeeping to clean a room once a patient checks out, recognizes team members on the spot for outstanding service, follows up on patients and medication, and sends out other alerts. These features help nursing leaders focus on what’s most important – their patients and team members.
Employees are the heart and
soul of any organization and HR practices must embrace that truth. The more you
work to understand what your employees want and need and what really motivates
them, the more you’ll be able to recruit and retain the very best people.
The post Become an “Employer of the Future” — Five tips for recruiting and retaining top talent appeared first on HR Morning.
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