New Form I-9 Released, Again

New Form I-9 Released, Again

A new revised I-9 form has been published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The form has been updated twice in less than one year and has a revision date of 07/17/17 N. Shared by CalChamber.com, Gail Cecchettini Whaley has brought this information to our attention in her recent article on what specific revisions have been made. By September 18, 2017, employers must use only this new version (rev. 0/7/17/17 N). Until then, employers can continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 N or use this new version. The Instructions for Form I-9 and the Form I-9 Supplement have also been updated. One change relates to the timing of when the Form I-9 must be completed. Previously, the form and instructions stated that the employee must complete Section 1 “by the end of the first day of employment.” Now, the USCIS has removed “the end” from the phrase, and the employee must complete Section 1 “by the first day of employment.” According to the revised Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9, the employee must complete Section 1 “at the time of hire (by the first day of their employment for pay).” Remember, employers cannot ask an individual to complete Section 1 before he/she has accepted a job offer. According to the USCIS, revisions also include: A change to the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section. Revisions related to the list of acceptable documents on Form I-9: Added the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to List...
Pregnancy Discrimination Results in $100,000 Fine

Pregnancy Discrimination Results in $100,000 Fine

Are you aware that pregnancy discrimination from potential job employers is a valid discrimination claim? Women who are looking to be employed can not be turned down for a position solely for the reason that they are pregnant. A recent example was released on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website where the EEOC took action against a company who rescinded a job offer after they learned of the applicant’s pregnancy. Daytona Beach-based insurance brokerage firm Brown & Brown will pay $100,000 and furnish significant relief to resolve a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced in May. According to the EEOC’s suit, Brown & Brown made a written job offer to the applicant and also sent her an employment agreement for a “personal lines technical assistant” position at its Daytona Beach location and proposed employment start dates. Upon receipt of the offer letter, the applicant affirmed her interest by email and sought to ask a few questions regarding the offer. About two hours later, the applicant spoke with the department leader’s assistant and inquired about maternity benefits because she was pregnant. The assistant immediately advised the department leader of the applicant’s pregnancy and, minutes later, according to the suit, the applicant received an email from the company rescinding the job offer, stating that it “had a very urgent need to have somebody in the position long term …We appreciate you telling us beforehand.” Pregnancy discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court...
The 411 on Retaliation Claims

The 411 on Retaliation Claims

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is taking action against employer retaliation in cases of discrimination alleged by employees. It’s important to implement best practices and informing your employees with valuable information as to avoid any retaliation claims. What is a retaliation claim? A retaliation claim is when an employee or job applicant is punished for filing a complaint to their employer or federal agency concerning: discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposing discrimination. Laws protect employees from discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability and genetic information and also prohibit retaliation against individuals who oppose unlawful discrimination or participate in an employment discrimination proceeding. Here are some examples of “Protected Activities” which are unlawful to punish employees for: Filing or being a witness in an EEO charge, complaint, investigation, or lawsuit Communicating with a supervisor or manager about employment discrimination, including harassment Answering questions during an employer investigation of alleged harassment Refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination Resisting sexual advances, or intervening to protect others Requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice Asking managers or co-workers about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages A successful retaliation claim includes 3 elements. First and secondly, the employee engaged in a “protected activity” and the employer took an “adverse employment action” against the employee. The employee doesn’t need to be fired in order to have a successful retaliation claim. Adverse actions include giving the employee an unwanted transfer or a demotion, shouting at or ignoring the employee, or taking away or increasing duties by a significant amount. Thirdly,...
Should Your Online Business Have an EIN?

Should Your Online Business Have an EIN?

If you run an online business and are wondering if it would be necessary for your company to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN), then this article will help clarify things for you. Whether it’s a legal requirement or not, the author Deborah Sweeney informs us on why you should have an EIN along with the benefits that come with it. EINs are typically needed if your company plans to hire, or is in the process of hiring, employees. ECommerce businesses that don’t plan on hiring anyone may dismiss an EIN without realizing all of the other benefits it can provide their business — many of which your company really needs. From protecting your social security number to opening up a business bank account, here’s why it’s handy to have an EIN. Protect Your Social Security Number In order to identify your business, you are legally required to use your Social Security Number or an EIN. While sole proprietors often use their SSN on official documents, many are now opting to file for and use an EIN instead. Why is that? An EIN is much less sensitive than your SSN which could easily be stolen in a case of identity theft, wreaking havoc on your personal matters. Don’t worry that you’ll need to safeguard your EIN either since these are only used as a federal identifier. If you know that you’ll be using your SSN frequently on forms related to your eCommerce business (Editor’s not: like a sales tax registration!), then it’s a smart move to file for and use an EIN as a precaution. Federal Tax ID Numbers...
Pre-Shift vs. Before-Shift: What’s the Difference?

Pre-Shift vs. Before-Shift: What’s the Difference?

After reviewing some information that was sent to us from HR Pilot, we thought it would be useful to other companies that have questions regarding on whether an employee should be compensated or not. Employers are using pre-shift meetings as an effective tool to increase communication in the workplace, but it is important to know the difference between “Pre-shift” and “Before-shift” duties when considering work-time. Any time the employee is “suffered or permitted” to work is considered time that must be compensated by the employer, even if it is a “quick” meeting, and even if the employee is not clocked in. Examples of other duties that can be done “Pre-shift” and must be compensated include: Reading, giving, or getting instructions to perform a duty; Logging into a software system; Attending “roll-call” or reviewing daily duties with a manager; Donning protective gear; Completing pre-shift inspections; and Gathering necessary supplies for work. Examples of the employee’s duties that might be permissible “before-shift” (this includes any activity that is not considered a benefit to the employer), such as:* Parking a car; Resting in the break room or using the bathroom before a shift; Putting a meal in the refrigerator or hanging up a coat; and Making a call to plan how to get home from work. * Always consult with your EPLI HR Professionals if there are any questions as to Pre-shift duties.  If you have questions regarding this or any other policy, contact your HR representative today. If you don’t currently work with a company, feel free to reach out to us for referrals to someone who can assist...
Now’s the Time to Take a Long, Hard Look at Busy Season

Now’s the Time to Take a Long, Hard Look at Busy Season

Do you have busy season cycles in your industry? As you are probably aware, we have come out of the busiest time of year and found a great article on what we can assess after making it through a busy season. If you want to analyze your business after a busy season, read the information below by Marsha Leest of Goingconcern.com. Although it sounds like she is writing to employees of organizations, we as business owners can look at her questions and see how well our company did in these areas. Busy Season Assessment Training. Were you given adequate training, if it was needed so that you could work as effectively and efficiently as possible? If you were struggling, were you able to ask questions? IT Support. Were issues resolved quickly? If not, did you have to take matters into your own hands? How did that work? Exposure to Clients. Did you have the opportunity to meet with clients, or were you mostly in the background? If it was your first busy season, keep in mind that you can learn from even the most mundane tasks. Data Mining. Were you able to learn from clients’ data? Are there opportunities for initiative? How does that change how you look at your assignments? Overall “Firm Feel.” What was the atmosphere like at the firm? Were you able to take the time you needed to handle personal or family business during busy season? Did the firm do things to make your life easier, like bringing in lunch or dinner or sponsoring fun events? Firm Leadership. Were firm leaders visible or absent? Supportive...

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