Background checks and diversity – Employers that regularly conduct criminal background checks as part of the new hire process are more likely to hire a black applicant, or so says a new study reported in The Journal of Law and Economics. The study authors state that “The results are consistent with the proposition that in the absence of a criminal background check, employers use race to infer past criminal activity, especially employers with a strong stated aversion to hiring ex-offenders.” (Thanks to Workplace Fairness for the tip.)
Holiday and end-of-year bonuses – Are employee bonuses a part of your compensation plan this year? Diane Pfadenhauer of Strategic HR Lawyer reminds us of the need to stay compliant with tax laws: IRS Guidelines on Bonuses and Special Awards (PDF).
The graying of America – Chris McKinney of HR Lawyers Blog asks if your organization is prepared for the aging workforce. He posts about a recent AARP survey entitled “Business Executives’ Attitudes Toward the Aging Workforce: Aware But Not Prepared?” In the survey, only one in seven respondents believe their organization is very committed to retaining employees who are approaching retirement, yet nine out of ten agreed that it is challenging to find the skills and experience that they need. Chris notes that employers will need to bridge this disconnect between what they know they need to be doing and what they actually are doing.
How does your turnover compare?Whatnot at Work posts on the latest voluntary employment turnover rates as released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics through August 2006. The report notes:

“Overall U.S. voluntary turnover increased slightly to 23.4% annually, up from 22.7% the previous year. The highest turnover by far is still in the Accommodation and Food Services sector at 56.4% and the Leisure and Hospitality sector at 52.2%. Sectors that saw the highest increase in turnover were Accommodation and Food Services, up 7% from the previous year, Leisure and Hospitality, up 5.4% and Information, up 4.5%. The only sectors seeing a (slight) decrease in turnover were Real Estate, Natural Resources and Mining, and Professional and Business Services.”

What Homer Simpson can tell you about distinguishing exempt vs nonexempt workersWorkforce features and amusing and instructive article by Robert S. Nelson entitled All You Need to Know About Overtime Exemptions You Can Learn From TV. He suggests that when it comes to the legal complexities that govern the distinction between salaried and hourly workers, popular TV might be a better teacher than labor lawyers because it provides powerful archetypes and common frames of reference to aid decision making. Thanks to Workplace Prof Blog for the pointer, as well as for this expensive real-world lesson about what can happen when a company makes misjudgements in this area: IBM resolves overtime-pay lawsuit with $65M.
And on the lighter side…

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