HR Examiner v3.49 December 14, 2012
Table of Contents
As technology makes it easier to work from anywhere, companies can hire employees based on their skills without concern for where they are. But for employment law, geography matters.
The law of the state where your employees are physically working is the law that applies to them, no matter where your company is located or based.
And even though federal laws apply in all 50 states, all states, and some cities, have additional laws that also apply. The general rule is if the Federal government enacts an employment law, then every State has to follow it. But state and local governments can enact additional protections that are consistent with the purpose of the federal laws.
For example, California has many laws that go beyond Federal and other states’ employment protections.
Federal Law prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, military status, and genetic information. California protects all of those plus, sexual orientation, ancestry, marital status, and pregnancy, including childbirth, lactation or any related conditions. California also provides broader medical condition protections.
Federal Law and most states provide for overtime after 40 hours a week. California provides for overtime after 8 hours worked in any single day, no matter what the weekly total is.
Many states recognize noncompete and nonsolicitation contracts with employees. Although each state has its own rules on what consideration is required and the geographical and time limits allowed. Under California law, both noncompete and nonsolicitation clauses are against public policy and completely unenforceable for all employees working in California.
Many cities like San Francisco and Minneapolis have their own requirements regarding benefits, discrimination, wages and hours. So employers need to understand that laws of the places where their employees work.
The main areas to double check are:
- EEO and Discrimination Protections, including who is disabled- Many states have broader protections;
- Minimum Wage and Overtime- how it is calculated, when it must be paid and whether comp. time is permitted;
- Termination Paychecks and Notice-Is notice required? Does the employer have to give a reason? Does the employer have to give a final paycheck and vested vacation immediately on termination? How long does the employer have to send a final check when the employee quits? When and how are commissions paid after termination?;
- Privacy of data and other information and when/how employers can monitor employees at work and on their mobile devices;
- Free speech- At least one state, Connecticut, provides some free speech protections for employees. Federal and governmental employees also have limited free speech rights;
- Benefits and health insurance coverage requirements;
- Vacation and PTO– some states prohibit use-it-or-lose-it policies and have requirements for vesting and payment;
- Commissions and Bonuses- how they are calculated, especially bonuses based on profit- some states exclude certain expenses like workers’ compensation in profit calculations;
- Noncompete and Nondisclosure Agreements- There are widely different state requirements on NDA’s and NCA’s and whether they are enforceable at all;
- Trade Secrets- what constitutes a trade secret for nondisclosure agreements- client lists are quickly losing protection because contact information is so easily available;
- Layoff and RIF notice requirements under state WARN acts- many states have different conditions for notice, different requirements of the notice itself, and harsher penalties;
- Off-duty conduct- some states generally prohibit discipline or termination for off duty conduct, including posts on social media.
If your company has employees working in multiple locations, make sure you check with attorneys who know and can help you comply with all the laws that affect your company. If you have employees working in several states, there are probably some you don’t know about. And it’s always easier to prevent problems than fix them.
by Jeff Dickey-Chasins
The mere mention of ‘job boards’ is enough to send many HR and recruiting professionals into a frenzy of arguments, prophecies, and condemnation.
Why is that? And why, more than 15 years after their first appearance, do job boards seem to be as firmly entrenched in the online recruiting world as ever?
A brief look at the history of job boards will shed some light on how they have – and haven’t – evolved over the years, and perhaps, even answer the question of why their death has been proclaimed so many times.
In the beginning
The first ‘official’ job board was launched in 1992 by Bill Warren; it was called the Online Career Center (Dice actually launched in 1990, but as a bulletin board (BBS), rather than a website). Warren’s creation was sold to TMP in 1995 and merged with Monster.
Initially, the most prominent sites were ‘generalists’ – they ran ads for all types of positions, in all types of industries, for every geographical region imaginable. These sites essentially translated the newspaper classified model to the web – employers paid for ads, and job boards used part of that money to promote their sites to candidates. The big difference? Job boards had an (theoretically) unlimited candidate reach, whereas newspapers were limited by their circulation. Oh yes – job boards were also a lot cheaper.
In the late 90s and early 00s, two new types of job boards appears: niche boards and networks. Niche sites focused on particular industries, job titles, or geographic areas. Networks incorporated multiple sites, providing employers with the ability to target by location or industry, while still purchasing from one vendor.
Then in the mid-2000s, two key changes occurred. First, job aggregators such as Indeed began assembling job content from multiple job boards and providing a single search mechanism. Also, at the same time LinkedIn launched, providing an ‘open’ resume database and simple forms of social networking.
Despite these changes, most job boards remained essentially unchanged from the mid- and late 90s, offering job posting and resume access – and not much else.
Then came the recession – years of lowered hiring and shrinking budgets that put many job boards out of business, and drove others to reevaluate their business models. At the same time, social recruiting gained widespread notice in the HR world, and some companies began shifting recruiting dollars from job boards to social media. Aggregators continues to gain market share (Indeed outstripped Monster for site traffic in 2011), and many candidates began relying on their mobile devices – not their desktops – for web access.
So, given the disruptive forces of recession, social recruiting, job aggregators, and mobile devices, how have job boards responded? Certainly many sites continue as they have for many years, with little or no change. I would argue that these are most vulnerable and risk being pushed out of the recruiting market altogether.
Other sites, however, have exhibited what I term ‘evolutionary’ behavior: they are modifying themselves to compete in the changed recruiting marketplace. Some examples:
- Pay for performance: Instead of charging for a job posting, some sites charge for the applications to a job (or in some cases, for the ‘qualified’ applications)
- Matching: Rather than waiting for candidates to apply to an employer’s job, some sites take applicant data and match it to the job – then ‘push’ the applicant information to the employer
- Hyper-niche: Moving past the idea of a site devoted to an industry, such as IT, some job boards focus on niches inside the industry
- Socializing the job board: Sites have added the ability to ‘share’ job and employer info via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn; some sites let candidates use LinkedIn profiles
- Communities and hubs: Although some sites (Mediabistro) have done this for years, many more job boards are moving to a community model – and many communities are adding a job board component
- Mobile: Most job boards now offer a mobile site, app, or both. What’s the next step? Perhaps voice-based job search?
- Options: Many sites are adding more services that connect employers and candidates, such as hyper-targeted emails and Tweets, employer branding, targeted job distribution, and management of the employer’s social recruiting campaigns.
What’s in a name?
Are job boards dying – or is it instead the idea of a traditional job board, where you ‘post and pray’? I believe it’s the latter. In fact, it’s time for job boards – and the HR world – to move past the term ‘job board’ and to something more description and accurate. I think of these as ‘candidate acquisition services’ – a collection of tools and services that employers can use to efficiently and effectively find the right candidates, no matter where they are or what their skill set.
But as we know, names die hard. We’ll see. In the meantime, I expect to see (insert your favorite name here) to continue their role in employers’ recruiting mix – and to continue evolving.
Five Links: The Unevenly Distributed Future
Each one of these articles should cause you to scratch your head. The world is changing fast and these ideas are at the forefront of the change. How the outside sees your labor practices, man-machine integration, democratic big data, brain drain is good, build a utility with your brand. Enjoy.
- How Do Your Brands Rate?
Lots of people in HR ask whether Big Data really means anything to them. Take a look at this article. It shows working conditions by company across the apparel industry, from farm to factory. The first question is whether or not your operation could stand this level of visibility. The second question is how do you acquire this view of your human capital in your niche. Not only is big data relevant, it’s the place where marketing risk and labor risk intersect. Internal operations like HR have to be faster than the outside that’s looking in.
- Welcome To The Hybrid Age
Viewed from a slightly different perspective, the fact that employees come to work with better tech than their employers offer points to an interesting new future.
Humans and technology are merging into some sort of techno-being. Really, look around you. That addiction to instant input from handheld devices is just the precursor to embedded tools. As that happens, what is HR’s role? (Also, check out the Hybrid Reality Institute which explores human-technology coevolution and geotechnology, and their implications for society, business and politics.) Bonus link: Wired.UK’s So long, information age. Hello, hybrid age Also, US Spies ee Superhumans, Instant Cities by 2030)
- The Top Trends for Business Intelligence in 2013
Put Tableau Software on your radar. For the part of Big Data that involves visualization, these folks are setting the pace. Their bottom line view is that Big Data becomes democratic and usable by everyone.
- Brain Drain is Good (Talent Retention Causes Brain Drain)
From an amazing team that is covering the renaissance in Pittsburgh. “People develop, not companies. As with cities, we tend to forget that businesses are made up of people. Talent is the new oil. The freedom to move spurs tremendous growth. Silicon Valley towers over Boston’s Route 128 because its workers are more geographically mobile.”
- Great Marketing is Utilitarian
“Brands can create a utility. Something that people don’t just want, but need. Something that would earn this brand the covered spot on the home screen of their consumer’s smart phones and tablets. Marketing is no longer just about messaging and brand loyalty. Now, brands can provide a high level of utility with real tools that consumers need to enhance their daily lives. Think it’s not possible? It is.” This same logic applies to employment branding.
Events, Interesting Happenings and New Resources
- Skills Gaps: Understanding Talent Shortages and What They Mean
This webinar covers the underpinnings of the Skills Gap. It’s part 1 of a series. Parts 2 and 3 available in 2013.
- Social Recruiting Strategies Conference (San Francisco, Jan 30-31 2013)
John Sumser keynote on the history and future of social recruiting
- Learning Analytics Summer Institute (Stanford, Palo Alto July 1-5, 2013)
This looks like the right place to be if you’re interested in Learning Big Data
Sometimes, it feels like Demo Central around here. We generally see a couple of software demos a day. Here’s the best of them from the past couple of weeks.
The recent Gartner headline about an 80% failure rate in Gamification projects was released during Bunchball’s customer showcase. Their approach to enterprise gamification is a straightforward one thing at a time method. Visionary and charismatic CEO who is betting that the real value of gamification is increased Loyalty.
One more referral system. In this one, employees authorize recruiters to post ads on their Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts. The results are gamified and people get points with which to buy stuff. It’s more like an ad distribution system than a referral tool. Pricing starts at $500/month and is based on head count.
Billing itself as the all-in-one recruitment marketing system, this is an early stage product from Peter Gold. UK centric.
The oldest of the video interview companies. Focused on recorded interviews. The differentia tor is a library of 7,000 interview questions.
A Santa Cruz, CA company that uses a fee escrow process to guarantee the quality of staffing company work. Make the placement, get paid in installments from an escrow fund as long as the employee continues to perform and show up. These folks will succeed to the extent that employers believe that there’s a problem with contingency search firms placing people who fail within the first year or so.
Interesting start on an automated team building assessment tool. A pretty intuitive visual display shows a candidates measured personality traits and the net impact on your team. These folks are worth watching because they are figuring out how to do what the big assessment cos can’t – deliver an intelligent online product at an affordable price point. It’s $300/job.
The folks at Accolo have built an interesting ‘recruiter in a box’ offering. Essentially, JobMojo helps you develop job descriptions that actually cause people to apply.
Extensive analytics allow you to increase your focus on the job boards that are working for you. It’s $295/job
This tool manages job ad placement on job ad aggregation sites. Although it seems like most job posting tools offer job level control, these folks make a big deal out of it. It’s operated by ex-Indeed staffers who built the original version for a staffing company.
The recurring theme is ‘click budgeting at a job level’. Pricing is roughly $5/job with discounts at scale.
Interesting Latin American freelancer’s job board that recently
received capital from the UK’s Evenbase. They are relentlessly focused on the Spanish speaking market. Although the news doesn’t really appear in the US press, Latin America is exploding as an internet market and a labor market.
Skills Gap 4: Undercapitalization
7 Billion people are competing for a couple Billion jobs. That makes it silly to suggest that we face Talent Shortages. In the US, slightly less than 50% of the population has something that can be called a job. That’s a lot of people available.
You can be forgiven for imagining a mob of people standing around embodying a quote from a recent election. On first glance, that looks like an extraordinary resource to be applied to supposed workforce problems. Unfortunately, a significant majority of the people who don’t work are either too old or too young.
Then, there are the folks who have given up on work. It’s hard to tell whether or not they’ve gotten work as freelancers. That part of the economy runs close to the ground and is full of tax avoidance schemes (cash is a good substitute for an offshore account when you’re talking about thousands instead of millions). The numbers are hard to collect.
You can be pretty sure that income is being earned somehow. Unless the welfare rolls have exploded (and they haven’t), discouraged workers have to bring home some kind of bacon. With no big crime increase and no particular growth in daytime TV viewers, it’s hard to imagine that the disenfranchised are really just lying in bed.
The number of free bodies has nothing to do with whether or not an employer can find the skills it requires. Changing strategy, relentless technology and external competition conspire to make consistency in hiring the stuff of theories. Having work and not being able to get it done is a predictable experience.
Undercapitalization (usually caused by an extreme debt load) makes it difficult to invest in workers with the right potential (formerly known as training). The demands of cashflow management and finance terms don’t really allow for workers to have much onboarding time. This has increased employers’ desire to have plug and play workers. Some of the skills shortage is simply a question of the company’s debt load. They can’t afford to hire someone who is ‘close enough’.
If you are searching for someone who can do this job right now, they are much harder to find than someone who can do it with a little training. It’s a problem that involves the fact that there are gross differences between the same job at different employers. Virtually no one is equipped to directly step into a job without some level of familiarization.
There are a variety of financial circumstances that make it hard for an employer to hire imperfectly skilled people and provide the necessary training. In some cases (like moving a C++ programmer onto Ruby On Rails), the dollars involved are insignificant. But, if you need your workers to be productive from day 1, any investment is too much.
It’s probably better to understand these cases as outsourcing decisions that haven’t been made yet. If the employer can’t afford either a competitive wage or the costs of training, that department is headed for the chopping block.
Read the series