Webinar Recap | Guide to Harassment Training, Employees Quitting, & Getting Ready for New Overtime Rules
In October, our live webinar focused on the latest developments within HR, payroll, and benefits.
Charles Rodriguez and Amanda McCollum from Adams Keegan reviewed best practices for managing complex training requirements for harassment across different states, as well as how to handle compliance challenges when employees quit. They also provided updates on what employers should be doing in preparation for the US DOL's proposed new overtime rules.
Missed the conversation on October 27? Here are some key takeaways.
Review of the discrimination and harassment training landscape
Federal laws lay out protections against discrimination and harassment, known as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, alongside others. Most states mirror these federal laws and encourage certain practices for employers. However, none of them require training for private employers.
Most states have lowered the employee threshold for complying with federal laws, which is 15 under Title VII. Even if employers’ companies fall below the employee threshold, it is best practice to have policies and training in place that follows the encouragement of protections included in these laws. This will help employers avoid scrutiny and increase credibility.
Common questions on DOL’s proposed overtime rule
On August 31, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed an overtime rule for salary workers, and they opened a forum for comment on the proposed rule until November 7, 2023. Although it’s likely that the DOL will announce a decision by December, it’s possible that the actual implementation of change won’t take place until the first quarter of 2024.
Because the salary change for overtime pay is significant – from $35,000 to $55,000 – employers should monitor and be prepared for the final ruling. Employees in the range from $35,000 to $60,000 should be considered for exempt status. Employers can start by revisiting and auditing where employees stand and what they’re doing, for example, by softly tracking employee hours.
Best practices for handling employees quitting
There’s a culture around how employers manage the quitting process. When employees are quitting or on the verge of quitting, it boils down to the following three questions.
What does a two-week notice actually mean?
When someone gives their two-week notice, they're saying they will continue working until that date. Employers can choose to tell the employee that they can leave on the same day as the notice, as long as the employee gets paid for the notice period. Failure to pay them during the allotted period might be perceived as changing the terms of termination, implying that the employer terminated them. This could potentially lead to the employer being responsible for unemployment benefits.
What do I do if an employee hasn't quit, they just stopped coming in…
If an employee stops coming to work or walks out of the workplace upset, many employers will assume that the employee has quit. However, employers should ensure clear communication to confirm the employee’s intention to quit. They should avoid assumptions and instead directly ask if they are quitting. Clarity in communication is important to prevent misunderstandings and potential legal complications.
Can I offer employees the option to quit?
Employers can offer an employee the option to quit. But if there's an implicit understanding of potential termination if the person chooses not to quit, the employer can’t categorize the separation as voluntary resignation. This is often a point of frustration for entry-level supervisors, especially when facing challenging employees. However, it doesn't change the fact that the employer is the one ultimately deciding the employee's departure.
Understanding and implementing discrimination and harassment training, staying updated on the evolving DOL's proposed overtime rule, and effectively managing employee departures is crucial for employers to maintain compliance, credibility, and a positive workplace culture.
To learn more, you can find the full webinar here! Allocate about 45 minutes to be fully immersed into the discussion.