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When to Use an Outside Investigator & Choosing an Outside Investigator

When to Use an Outside Investigator & Choosing an Outside Investigator

By Gene R. Thornton, Esq.  *

 

Whenever an employer receives a complaint of sexual harassment or other workplace misconduct, a prompt, thorough, and fair investigation should be conducted.  Following the investigation, appropriate remedial measures should be implemented.  That much is basic employment law and human resource management.  But who should perform the investigation?  Should it be done by the employer’s HR manager, office manager or safety officer, if any?  Should it be done by the accused employee’s supervisor?  Or should an outside investigator be retained and, if so, what qualifications should be sought in the outside investigator.

Simple Investigations—Outside Investigator Probably Not Needed

If the allegations concern performance issues, employee relations, then the employer can probably do without an outside investigator.  It will...

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Relief Fund Options for Colorado Small Businesses

Updated 4/22/20
 
As the CARES Act funding came and went, Colorado organizations collaborated and stepped up to the plate to take care of our small business community. Below is a list we will keep updated with new opportunities and new information as we come across it.
 
 
Relief Fund Options for Colorado Small Businesses
 
Apply for emergency relief funding of up to $25,000. Offering mentoring as well.
Grants of $2,500 to $25,000 to certain types of storefront small businesses located within the boundaries of the DDA. Deadline to apply is April 22nd.
Eligible community-based organizations across Colorado may receive a general operating grant of up to $25,000. The first deadline awards were announced April 16,
2020. Funds are currently only being distributed in the Prevention and Impact priority areas. Recovery will be opened...
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Disaster Planning... Now? Yep, now is better than never!

Download Disaster Plan Template

 

The past three weeks have been tough for all of us, to say the least. As all of us have banded together, put on our seat belts and have screamed: "let me off of this roller coaster", there have been a ton of realizations. So here's my realization and true confession- we didn't have a disaster plan in place. We have been in operation for two years, and I could come up with a slew of excuses: we are just getting started, too busy, it won't happen to us, etc. But, the fact of the matter is that we needed one and we didn't have one.


Now that that embarrassing confession is over, here's the other side of my confession. I am a little bit glad that I didn't have one in place. Why? Because not having gone through a true disaster, I would have put together a pretty bland disaster plan. Now that we have a disaster under our belt and we have had the luxury of consulting with some of the best experts in the business, we have a good idea of what needs to be...

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LAW UPDATE: The Senate CARES Bill

 

The Senate CARES Bill (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act)

 

Source: Estimates for third relief bill based on bill text, committee and administration numbers.
Credit: Audrey Carlsen/NPR

The Senate developed $2 Trillion dollar, multi-faceted legislation attacking this disaster from multiple sides: tax and debt relief, small business loans, unemployment expansion, and individual stimulus payments. They see we’re hurting and they aren’t playing around.

Incentive and assistance for small businesses to keep employees working

The bill creates a “paycheck protection program” for

  • Self-employed individuals
  • Small businesses
  • “Gig economy” workers

Hey solopreneurs and giggers, you finally aren’t being excluded from the group and chastised for being your own boss! Congratulations!

Let’s take a big bite and jump in.

INDIVIDUAL TAXES

They will need your individual 2019 taxes (and valid social security numbers) in order to cut...

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Know Your Options: SBA Disaster Relief Loan

SBA Disaster Relief Loan

As small business owners and as a community, all of us are sailing in uncharted waters. All of us are in the same boat, filled with uncertainty and fear.  What does the future hold?  Is my business going to survive this?  How am I going to pay my bills?  There are so many concerns that all of us have and most of it is deeply rooted in our financial situation and future.  There are a number of economic stimulus packages that are being discussed locally and federally.  As of today, March 21st, there are not many options available.  However, our representative and community leaders are working diligently to provide us with a little relief.  The first financial option to become available to small business is the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan program.  This is the fist time in the history of the SBA that this loan has been made available for a pandemic (these loans are generally leveraged...

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LAW UPDATE: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

 

3/26 Update: 

We now have a workplace poster about the FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) and employee rights in regards to paid sick leave and the expanded family and medical leave.

This will need to be posted with the rest of your employment posters in a common area by April 1st. There has no been specific guidance on methods to notify your remote workers but we suspect there will be soon. We will keep you updated, however, have a plan in place to provide this to remote workers such as email, posting to a payroll portal where employees regularly log in, or printing and mailing. 

If you have already laid off some of your workforce, there’s no need to alert them.

 FFCRA Workplace Post (Non-Federal)

The U.S. Department of Labor sent out a bulletin about 30 days of non-enforcement between March 18 and April 17, 2020 as long as employers act reasonably and in good faith to comply with the FFCRA. One thing to note is this does not protect you from...

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Getting “Bored” with Your Onboarding Process?

Getting “Bored” with Your Onboarding Process?

Make Onboarding and Training Fast and Easy!

 

For most of us, we have experienced what it’s like to be that “newbie”.  That’s right, a new face in a new company where countless thoughts of excitement, worry and anxiety flood our minds. If you are like many, those thoughts can turn into piercing questions or doubts. Did you make the right decision? Is this truly the right company for you? Where is the nearest exit in case you need to make a run for it?  

As an employer, hiring manager, or HR representative, your focus is guaranteeing that you can “walk the walk”. Your newly hired employee accepted the position for a reason, now it’s up to you to ensure that he or she continues to feel that this opportunity was too good to pass up.

So, how does this happen? Think about the first few days on the job and how much information and training was provided. It’s a...

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Bizarre Polices of Last Decade

Wow, what a decade it has been! There have been so many changes and updates in the HR world over the past several years; life for employers and HR professionals has probably gotten a bit overwhelming and a kind of stale at times.

Well, I am here to put a little cheer into your New Year! Let’s take a look back at some of the most ridiculous, bizarre, and just downright absurd policies and rules that employers have come up with to help run their business. Here we go!

  • Stand for the Boss: Bestlifeonline.com describes a work environment approach such as this one whenever France’s ecology and energy minister walks into the room. Employees are expected to stand regardless of what they are doing as she approaches them.
  • Only Mustaches Allowed: According to resumeprofessionawriters.com, a certain business gave male employees an ultimatum: maintain a full-grown mustache or no facial hair at all. Male employees could not have any in-betweens, or they were sent home.
  • No...
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Are You Ready for Big Wage Changes in 2020?

On January 1, 2020, we are going to wake up to two significant wage changes that will impact most Colorado small businesses. Are you prepared for these changes?

 

What’s Changing?

 

  • Hourly Employees: Colorado Minimum Wage- Colorado minimum wage has been on an increased schedule of $.90 per year for the past 2 years. In January 2020, you will see the third and final $.90 minimum wage increase. Effective January 1, 2020, Colorado Minimum Wage will be:

 

Colorado Minimum Wage- $12.00/ hr

 

Colorado Tipped Employees- $8.98/ hr

 

*Denver increased its local minimum wage to $12.85 per hour effective Jan. 1, becoming the first local government in Colorado to set its minimum higher than the statewide level per a new statute passed by the legislature in 2019.

 

  • Salaried Employees: Minimum Salary Rate (Federal Overtime Rule)- The minimum annual salary for exempt (salaried) employees is going to increase in 2020. Effective January 1, 2020, the Federal...
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An Employee's First Week: Colorado SCORE Presentation

 

An employee's first week is the most important week of the employment life cycle. This is when you create the foundation to the new employee's future behaviors, your future leadership capabilities and their perception of what working with you will be like.  Making sure you provide the right tools, resources and training opportunities will ensure optimal success.  Let's take a look at some common mistakes that small businesses often make and 4 steps to ensuring a great first week.  

 

Small Business Mistakes:
When it comes to onboarding a new employee during their first-week employers make a few mistakes. First, employers expect a new employee to hit the ground running. Quite frankly, no two business are ever the same. You can never have a plug and play employee.

The second mistake that we often see within an employee's first week is that the required paperwork is not correctly completed... if at all. It is required by law that the I-9 is completed within 3...

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