Specializing in Human Resource Consulting and Outsourcing

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HR Maxim is a full service human resource consulting organization, which offers outsourcing options.  We are located in Macomb County and service all of Michigan.  Read more to learn about our leadership, vision, mission, and values. 

HR Maxim offers businesses ongoing or as needed HR support.  Whether your business has an HR professional on staff, or does not have an HR resource, HR Maxim can address your needs.  Read more to learn about our services. 

The HR environment is ever changing, so check the HR Maxim blog frequently for information on topics that impact the day-to-day operations of your business.

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The HR Maxim goal is to have a strategic impact that increases your bottom line.
Top 5 HR Pitfalls
1)  Form I-9 Compliance

​It is estimated that 75% of Form I-9's contain errors

Not complying with Form I-9 requirements can cost an employer up to $1,100 in civil money penalties for each employee form.  The most common Form I-9 errors are not having Form I-9, the Form I-9 is missing information, or the Form I-9 is not completed properly. 

There are other fines associated with Form I-9, but the previously mentioned are the most common.  A Form I-9 audit is no longer a question of "if" it's a matter of "when," so businesses need to be prepared and compliant. 

​As of September 18, 2017, employers must use the new "07/17/2017N" version of Form I-9

2)  Application Forms That Elicit Information Related to Legally Protected Classes

Application forms are the primary source of information that an employer gathers about a candidate.  The purpose of the form is to evaluate if an applicant possesses qualifications for a position.  An employer must make sure that the form does not contain questions that are likely to elicit information related to legally protected classes (religion, race, color, national origin, sex, age, height, weight, or marital status), which could lead to accusations of discrimination.

A few examples are requests for date of birth, graduation dates, specific inquiry of U.S. citizenship, social security number, emergency contact information, and the request to self-identify, which are not related to affirmative action purposes.  Please note that this list is not all inclusive.

3)  Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) Violations

Labor officials estimate that more than 70% of businesses are not compliant with FLSA

Misclassification of Employees - Exempt (Salary) vs. Nonexempt (Hourly):  Employers often make the mistake of classifying employees as exempt from overtime and pay them a weekly salary.  There are certain provisions that must be met in order to classify an employee as exempt.  Specifically, for an employee to be classified as exempt, they must fall under the exemptions of executive, administrative, professional, computer, or outside sales as outlined by the FLSA. 

Pay for every hour worked:  An employer may have a policy that states that working overtime must receive prior authorization.  Say an employee works through their lunch, or stays after hours to complete a project without authorization.  An employer may decide not to pay the employee because it violates their policy, but this practice is an FLSA violation because an employee must be paid for every hour worked.  An employer may discipline an employee for working the unauthorized overtime, but they cannot withhold payment for hours worked.

FLSA Summary:  These FLSA violations can impose significant costs to a business.  Payment to employees for violations go back a minimum of two years.  They can go back three years if it is determined that the employer violations were willful.

Additionally, if the employer does not have adequate records, the determination of payment is based on provided employee information. 

This list of FLSA violations is not all inclusive, but identifies the violations witnessed most by HR Maxim.

4)  Employee Handbooks

Often, employee handbooks include notices of at-will employment, but also include progressive disciplinary policies.  If progressive disciplinary policies are not carefully written,  at-will employment is voided.  If an employer terminates an employee stating the reason falls under at-will employment, but did not follow the progressive disciplinary policy in their handbook, they can potentially face accusations of wrongful termination or discrimination. 

Additionally, organizations often distribute out of date handbooks, do not include employee signed acknowledgement receipts, or do not have handbooks at all.

5)  Employee Files

Does your business keep one file for each employee that serves as a "catch all?"  Everything from applications, W4's, Form I-9's, performance reviews, disciplinary write ups, background checks, drug test results, workers' compensation claim information, benefit enrollment forms, etc... is included in the employee file.  If so, this can accompany a significant amount of liability, especially if the file becomes evidence in a lawsuit.

HR Maxim implements a best practice system for maintaining employee files.  Each employee has three separate files (Green, Yellow, and Red), which indicates what goes in which file and who can access each file.