Human Resources News

HR NEWS YOU CAN USE – Issue 13 – February 2017

In This Issue:

Workplace trends to be alert to in 2017 …….if they aren’t here yet, they could be coming!

Did you know? Drug detection windows …….24, 48, 72 hours

Answers to last month’s Quizzler ……. Important Record Retention Periods



Jan. 31: OFCCP announced that the voluntary self-identification form for individuals with disabilities has been renewed for an additional 3 years, through 1/31/20. The form hasn’t changed; just the expiration date. However, federal contractors should start using this new form immediately.


Workplace Trends Swirling Out There …. And Maybe Coming Here

Much is up in the air as we start a new year with a new President and a new Congress in Washington, DC, and laws impacting the workplace are no exception. It isn’t clear exactly what the impact will be with Republicans heading up the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and having a majority on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Laws proposed and/or already impacting employers in some states and localities include:

  • Legalization of recreational marijuana, and its impact in the workplace
  • Transgender discrimination, including impacts to health insurance coverage
  • Required paid sick leave, for a certain number of hours worked
  • Increases in the minimum wage


In addition, current and pending legislation suggests all employers be wary of the following today:

  • Post-employment non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, written too broadly
  • Overly restrictive social media policies
  • Misclassification of independent contractors
  • Improper notification of Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements, as part of background checks for employment applicants
  • Proposed changes to overtime laws


This newsletter does not provide legal advice, but we will try to keep you up to date as we learn of legislation that can impact you, our clients in the southeast.


Drug Testing Methods for the Workplace

Most companies conduct pre-employment/post-offer drug tests these days, and many do random, for cause, and post-accident testing as well. There are different drug testing specimen types, with urine, saliva and hair testing as the most prevalent. But did you know that there may be reasons to use one type over the other?


According to Quest Diagnostics, a large drug testing lab, urine testing is the most commonly used testing method. Urine detects the broadest variety of illicit and prescribed drugs, and will typically detect use within the previous 24-72 hours.  Saliva is the next most common method, and detects recent use within the past 24-48 hours. It is used primarily to detect illicit drug use. Because it is observed testing, it is difficult for someone to adulterate the specimen. And finally, hair testing is the method that provides the longest detection window, and can indicate a pattern of use as far back as 90 days. The length of time a particular drug is detectable in a particular person depends on a number of factors, including the specific drug, usage patterns of the person (dose and frequency), and biological variables (e.g., weight).


The reason the test is being given should help you decide which testing method is best for your company. Drug testing can result in legal action, so be sure to use a reputable testing lab and one with the resources to defend itself, if needed.


Monthly Quizzler Update!

Here are the answers to last month’s Quizzler, regarding Record Retention.


“Per federal recordkeeping requirements, how long must you retain paperwork related to…”

  1. Hiring documents (advertisements, postings, interview questions, interview notes, reference checks, and similar)?

Answer: One (1) year from the date of making the record or hiring decision, whichever is later. BUT, if you are a federal contractor with a contract of at least $150,000 and 150 employees, the retention period is two (2) years


  1. Requests for accommodation (ADA or religious)?

Answer: One (1) year after the decision


  1. A charge of discrimination?

Answer: Until the charge or lawsuit is finally resolved, or the time to file a charge or lawsuit has expired


  1. FMLA requests?

Answer: At least three (3) years


  1. OSHA logs, incident reports, etc.?

Answer: Five (5) years beyond the end of the calendar year covered by the document


And as a final note, remember to keep the following documents separate from an employee’s personnel file:  EEO records, medical information, disability self-identification forms, I-9s, and garnishment orders. Information found in these documents could be used for discriminatory purposes, so best to limit access to only your trained HR staff.


The goal of this monthly e-newsletter is to briefly bring you current news in the HR world that could impact your company and how you interact with your employees, and also to share some tips and lessons learned for keeping your company compliant with the myriad of federal and state employment-related rules and regulations. This newsletter is not intended to provide legal guidance to you. 

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