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Now that we are well into a new business year, I thought it might be beneficial to share some trends I have been seeing. This is not all inclusive, but complying with these employment-related issues continues to challenge many businesses.

Personnel Files

Businesses tend to put all employee-related documents into one file.  At least two separate files should be created for each employee. One file should contain documents such as performance reviews, disciplinary letters, customer or client appreciation letters, and emergency contact information.  This is a file that can be reviewed by the employee’s manager.  In a separate file, only accessible to a choice few in the company, including human resources, would be benefits forms, doctor’s notes, and forms related to a medical or family leave. Not separating these documents and placing in different folders could lend credence to a charge of discrimination.


All I-9 forms should be kept in a totally separate file.  I-9s of former employees should be removed only if the forms are older than three years from the date of hire or one year from the date of termination, whichever date is later.

Exempt or Non-exempt

Ensure your salaried employees have passed one of the five exemption tests outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Otherwise, they need to be treated as hourly, eligible for overtime pay.

Paid Sick Leave

Many states, including New Jersey, California and New York, have paid sick leave laws.  All employees, including part-timers, are eligible.   In New Jersey, if a company is not ensuring that a full-time employee has at least five sick days a year, they are probably not in compliance.

Probationary Periods for New Hires

If a company is doing business in an “At-Will” state, a probationary period is probably moot.   A business can terminate an employee at any time and employees should understand that their performance needs to meet expectations every day, not just through a probationary period.  A probationary period may actually put a company at risk if not handled uniformly.

Hiring of Independent Contractors

With finding employees to fill critical positions becoming more difficult for businesses, many companies are looking to fill needed gaps by hiring independent contractors.  Businesses need to ensure that the contractor they hire passes the independent contractor test applicable to their state.  Some states use the Common Law independent contractor test while others, such as New Jersey, California and Connecticut, use the ABC test.

Let Marzano Human Resources Consulting review your business practices to ensure you are in compliance with local, state and federal employment regulations.

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