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Achilles Group News: Heat-Related Illness

OSHA Reminds Texas Employers that Record High Temperatures Can Put Employees at Risk for Heat-Related Illnesses   Don't Let the Heat Beat Your Business As temperatures rise in the summer months, it's essential to keep employees whose roles are impacted by heat safe and healthy to keep your operations moving. Heat-related illness can lead to costly medical leaves and lower production. OSHA's implementation of a National Emphasis Program (NEP) in April has been restated by a subsequent p...

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Preparing for New Overtime Regulations

UPDATE: On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor released its final rule on new overtime regulations, raising the salary threshold for exempt status to $47,476. Click here for more information.The Department of Labor is expected to publish final overtime regulations in July. The proposed update to the Fair Labor Standards Act would increase the salary threshold for exempt status from $23,660 to $47,476. That means any employee making less than $47,476 a year would need to be paid time and a half...

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The 411 on EEO-1

What is an EEO-1 Report? An EEO-1 Report is a compliance survey mandated by federal regulations.  It is a representation of your employee population based on race/ethnicity, gender and job category.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires employers who meet the compliance threshold to report this information annually between July 1, 2015 and September 30, 2015. How do I gather the kind of information required in this survey? Typically, employees will complete a Voluntary Sel...

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How Hot is Too Hot?

We all know how unforgiving the southern heat can sometimes be, but do we all know how to protect ourselves and employees?  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a warning on Friday to remind employers to protect their personnel. Previously employers did not have to report heat related illnesses unless they were fatal or were detrimental to everyday functionality.  Now, however, employers are required to notify OSHA of any inpatient hospitalization.How to protect your e...

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Fighting The Battle on Cybersecurity

HR departments hold a vast amount of data ranging from home addresses, social security numbers and other personal information.  They are responsible for protecting this sensitive information that are transferred both internally and externally.According to Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, companies lost an estimated $400 million as a result of 700 million compromised records worldwide. Companies are having an increased concern about being a victim of cyberattack and are looking f...

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How to Reduce Employee Absenteeism

We all know things happen. Maybe the kids are sick, you have a broken water pipe in your house, or the dog got out and is running wild through the neighborhood.  This always seem to happen five minutes before you have to leave for work.  Employee absenteeism is something that plagues most businesses.  It is also something that most employers are not quite sure how to handle or where to start.  When employees aren’t at work, it affects not only productivity, but also morale.  According to a Merce...

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Small Ways to Boost Employee Morale

Employee morale plays a huge role in the overall success of a company and effects employees' tenure and company culture.  When employees are happy, they are more productive.  They want to do a good job which intern improves the company culture.  There are several things that employers can do that don't require a lot of time or money to ensure they have good employee morale.Recognizing when someone has done a good job really goes a long way.  This can be a simple atta boy/girl or a quick email re...

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Simple Tips to be Healthier at Work

As we enter the second month of the New Year, it’s the perfect time to focus on a healthy workforce. You don’t have to be in the C-suite to promote a culture of wellness at work. Anyone can implement these small, healthy changes and invite their colleagues to do the same: Take walking breaks. Prolonged sitting is associated with increased disease risk. Get up from your desk and on your feet once an hour. Walk a lap around your floor or walk to a co-worker’s office instead of picking up the phone...

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Convicted Felons and Your Company

Does your company have a blanket policy in place that prohibits employing any convicted felons?Does your company conduct pre-employment background checks that include a history of felony convictions?If you answered yes to either --- you could be putting your company at risk of violating EEOC’s Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964.Many employers assume that they can summarily reject job applicants who have a felony conviction, and changes in EEOC enforcement guidelines (April 25, 2012) have made th...

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Take Your Vacation!

Heard this morning on KTRH 740 AM radio:Making vacation plans for 2015 or are you planning on not take vacation time in 2015?42% of Americans didn’t take any vacation time last year, typical for any year. Skift, a travel intelligence site, asked 1500 people about their vacation activities and finds that even though most are allotted ten days each year only 13% say they can afford to take that much time off.Kristen McGullion is VP of HR Services with Achilles Group in Houston, a Human Resources c...

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Minimum Wage and Your Company

Although minimum wage in Texas has not changed since 2009 (it is $7.25, which is the Federal Minimum Wage or FMW), companies with operations in multiple states should carefully watch minimum wage developments in order to remain in compliance. Many states and some localities (e.g., San Francisco) now have minimum wages above the FMW and many of them have more increases scheduled for the future. Of course, these changes to minimum wage rates also affect overtime pay calculations. Click here to see...

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Helpful Guidance During Tough Times

With lower oil prices comes layoffs, cutbacks and the ripple effects that hit the Houston area economy. Your management meetings are full of, “Should we adjust our targets, our budget, and our strategy?”Achilles Group builds close, engaged working relationships with our clients and in a very real and personal way. We know how hard it is to take your business and your people through the tough times. We also know how to equip you, your management and front line leaders for the challenge:Clearly Ar...

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Background Check Boomerang

THE PROBLEM:  Employers commonly obtain consumer reports as part of a routine background check.  Plaintiff's attorneys have recently latched onto some lesser-known consumer report requirements within the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  Possibly, common practices of some employers do not strictly adhere to the statutory fine print.  In 2014, the number of cases filed against employers relating to these requirements skyrocketed.  Courts are currently scrutinizing this routine employers' tool.Wi...

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Did college prepare you for your current position?

Yes! Several classes helped me become an HR professional (like Foundations of HR Development and Global Divisions in a Work Place).Just taking college classes taught me the value of time management, the importance of meeting deadlines, how to work in a team setting, and that determination allows you to reach your goals.  And, of course,  I learned a lot about football which has helped me fit in at my current office!---Caroline

Did College Prepare You for Your Current Job?

Yes -but only partially.Theory is learned in college where many of my management classes dealt with organizational behavior and laws.  Working, however, is where I get to put theory into practice which becomes experience.Each experience has allowed me to add tools in my toolkit. Whatever dealt, I have a tool to use.I add my theory and experience to a solid support system where colleagues reach out to help solve problems. That is the real key to being successful and yeah, it started in college.

Did college prepare you for your job?

Yes - but in a circuitous way.When a colleague asked me to write on this topic, I thought to myself, “Man that was a long time ago!"  I am so glad I do not have to wake up in a panic, stick my head in the shower and run to class every day!  Then I realized that though I left college behind I am still in school every single day.My major was  Sociology, so I was drawn to a lot of social services work; runaway teens, abused kids, mentally disabled adults were my "clients."  These experiences drove ...

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Ebola and Your Business

I recently attended a webinar given by the Law Firm of Ogletree Deakins in regards to Ebola and what employers need to know. The presentation described how an employer's actions could have implications with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Workers' Compensation.There is also a need to understand how to disseminate information to your employees, how the virus is spread and i...

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The Most Memorable Job Interview I Ever Gave:

Push Back.During an interview a few years ago, I benignly asked a candidate, “Have you ever had to push back against a difficult manager?”He responded,“Once my no-good boss yelled at me and got all up in my face. I’m a MAN and you don’t talk to me like that!” While energetically acting out both parts, he showed me how he forcefully pushed the manager down and made him fall hard on the office furniture.I explained that I was asking him about having to defend company policy to a manager, and that ...

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