By Warren Cook
Did you know that a tremendous amount of compliance risk for an organization originates with their supervisors? The method and manner in which you train your supervisors will ultimately determine how effective your business can be in reducing, avoiding, or mitigating employment related litigation.
Here are some things to consider that require an effective training program for your supervisors and managers. These employees are the front line of your organization, and as such failure to ensure they are well versed in employment laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disability Act as Amended (ADAAA) and other federal, state, and local regulations can result in significant exposure for your company.
Quick story of why training is so important. At one company I consulted with there were about six employees very dedicated to their work and to their supervisor.
So dedicated in fact that they would do whatever it takes to get the job done for the supervisor. This included coming in early, working through their lunch, and often working late or taking work home with them.
How did the supervisor respond to this dedication? She was very grateful and appreciative and felt her team was the best in the company, often wondering why other teams were not as “dedicated”.
Unfortunately, what this supervisor didn’t realize as a lack of proper training, was she had placed the employer in serious compliance risk for repeated violations of the FLSA, both in recordkeeping requirements and in the overtime pay requirements.
When this supervisor was hired, she received no compliance training, and no training on the FLSA or any other regulation that the employer was obligated to comply with. This was a major flaw of the onboarding process for new supervisors.
While this supervisor felt other supervisors didn’t know how to get the most out of their staff, the reality was her management practices were illegal and violated the rights of the employees she managed. She failed to track all hours worked. She failed to recognize the employees were FLSA Non-Exempt, meaning they were eligible for overtime.
Most critically due to the first two mistakes she failed to pay the employees for all hours worked. As a result, not only were recordkeeping violations taking place, straight time and overtime compensation was not provided when appropriate for all hours worked over 40 in a scheduled work week.
The result – one of the employees due to the pressure of working so many hour, filed a complaint with the Department of Labor and the resulting investigation caused the employer to pay back wages for hours worked, back overtime wages, damages, and enter an agreement to make changes to their recordkeeping practices, workforce training, and posters communicating employee rights.
All of this can easily be avoided through the delivery of training.
An effective strategy is to provide annual Manager and the Law training to all individuals in a supervisory position to not only reinforce the laws and regulations, but to educate these professionals on your internal policies and practices and demonstrate leadership support for the implementation and execution of the policies so they feel comfortable holding employees accountable.
Only with training and leadership support can you improve workforce compliance and avoid the problems this supervisor and her employer faced.
Warren Cook is a co-founder of SymbianceHR and leads all client consulting engagements. He is a human capital strategy management subject matter expert with over 20 years of experience as a strategic business partner, project manager, and people leader across private and public sectors organizations.
Cook is the author of “Applicant Interview Preparation – Practical Coaching for Today” and holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management, an MBA in Project Management, and a M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He is also a SHRM Certified Professional.
Cook can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 443-566-5111.