In uncertain economic times managers must be able to schedule labor correctly in a consistent manner, keep employees happy, and reduce fines imposed by legislative authorities, such as the Department of Labor. Businesses should seek to use cost effective computer employee scheduling software programs to ensure that proper scheduling techniques are utilized. Effective scheduling software will be able to schedule meal and break periods, accurately calculate overtime costs, and archive previous schedules for managerial review.Example: The general manager at an ice cream store needs to ensure that one manager is always on duty, as well as a number of representatives are available to scoop ice cream. Each employee is required to receive a number of breaks during their shift, and this particular business prefers to hire employees who are minors to fill “holes” in the schedule. During a normal work day, between three and four employees are working.
By not carefully scheduling the break and meal periods and minor rules, the manager may end up with a shortage of staff as multiple employees take breaks (or leave for the day) at the same time, and minor employees leave for home. During the labor shortage, customers will not be serviced appropriately. Alternatively, the manager may choose not to send employees home when they should or allow breaks to proceed – grounds for heavy fines, a lawsuit, and/or increased insurance premiums.Labor & Industries (L&I) audits are common in some US states (California, Washington, Oregon, and New York are the most common) in restaurant, food-service, and other hospitality-related industries. These audits are performed by the state or by insurance companies to verify that the business has complied with all applicable regulations.Audits focus on unpaid overtime, minors working too late or too early, break and meal periods that are not properly documented, and other violations. Rule infractions can be punished with stiff fines and/or insurance premium increases. Make sure that all employees are aware of the applicable rules for the city, county, and state / province. Follow federal / national rules (where applicable), corporate rules, and insurance regulations (if applicable).
Where possible, automated employee scheduling systems should be utilized to enforce these rules reducing the administrative burden placed on managers – allowing management to work on other pressing issues such as training, customer service, and management tasks which cannot be automated by cost-effective technology solutions.
Most states have passed laws that require equal employment opportunity to people by prohibiting discrimination. Equal employment opportunity means giving people a chance to succeed. It is a principle that expresses the fundamental principle of fairness.In accordance with state civil rights laws, employers in California try to adhere to discrimination and harassment laws and enforce similar policies in their workplaces. Not only as a matter of law enforcement but implementing these rules can save employers from lawsuit and avoid possible costly legal battle.Here are guidelines on how employers should handle discrimination and harassment complaints:o Investigate complaints right away – Employers should keep an open mind and initiate an investigation whenever a complaint is lodged. Investigate every complaint and complete it.o Treat the complainant with understanding and concern – Show your concern to the complainant and take every complaint seriously. An employee who complains about discrimination will not escalate his case to a court or a government agency if you show genuine concern for the cause.
o Do not blame the complainant – Employers should remember that the complainant is the victim in a discrimination or harassment complaint. Employers should not blame nor begrudge employees who complain of unfair treatment in the workplace.o Do not punish complainants – Employers should not threaten complainants with termination, discipline, suspension, demotion or pay cuts. It is against the law to retaliate and punish someone for complaining against discrimination and harassment.o Follow employee handbook on procedures – When faced with discrimination complaints, follow the policy and procedures and proceed with the investigations.o Educate yourself – Read and make a personal study of discrimination laws and issues. Consult your lawyer to enlighten you in some issues, if possible.o Interview the involved people – To get a clear and better picture of an issue, it is best to ask the people involved in the incident. The first part is talking to the complainant and then the other people mentioned in the complaint.o Look for other sources and clues for information on the complaint – Employers should not rely on the complainant’s words alone but should look for other sources of information.o Keep the matter confidential – An employer should keep matters undisclosed until the investigation is not concluded.o Take note of all things that happened in the meeting, including dates and places of interviews.
o Cooperate with government agencies during investigations – Employers are asked to helped government agencies when conducting investigations to show impartiality to the proceeding.o Hire an experienced investigator to look into the matter – An employer can hire an outside investigator who is independent and reliable.o Take appropriate actions against the culprit – Once investigation is finished and the problem is identified, take the necessary measure, document it and notify the accused.California law also requires employers to post their companies’ discrimination policies in public view. The state law also requires all supervisors to take a two-hour training program every two years to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace. New supervisors are also asked to take the same training six months after hiring.