impactnews: 6 Steps to Prevent Workplace Harassment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) collected $164 million from employers in 2015 to resolve workplace harassment claims – up from roughly $100.2 million in 2011, according to Bloomberg BNA. With this in mind, it’s important to note that employers who have any knowledge about harassment, even alleged harassment, and who fail to take appropriate action, can be held liable. Taking proactive steps will help to minimize the risk for your organization or company.

The EEOC strongly encourages employers to establish workplace harassment prevention strategies. As it stands, California, Connecticut and Maine are currently the only states that require employers to provide periodic sexual harassment training for their employees.

The following steps can help you be proactive in addressing workplace harassment issues:

  • Ensure you have a written policy outlining the company’s stance on workplace harassment in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. Have legal review the policy to ensure accuracy and clarity.
  • Obtain a signed acknowledgment form indicating the employee understands the company policy regarding workplace harassment.
  • Training on company’s workplace harassment policies should be included in all new hire orientations as well as conducted for all managers and employees periodically throughout the year.
  • Act immediately to investigate complaints of harassment. Many harassment claims include allegations that the employer delayed proper action on a complaint.
  • Periodically review and revise (if needed) the workplace harassment policy in your employee handbook.
  • Maintain records on all trainings provided to employees, including attendance list and signed acknowledgment forms.

Awareness and education through training are the best preventative tools to reduce or even eliminate instances of workplace harassment. Training enables managers to properly address sexual harassment complaints. It also educates the employees on harassment issues and the prevention of harassing situations. Continually reinforcing and educating employees on the company’s harassment policy could provide for the basis for an effective defense to any harassment claims.

If you have any questions or need help working to prevent workplace harassment, please contact an impactHR team member via email at or phone 410-312-7882.

U.S. House Passes Bill to Delay Implementation of Federal Overtime Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule changing eligibility for overtime pay is on track still to take effect December 1, 2016. Yet new legislation recently passed by the U.S. House (H.R. 6094) would delay implementation by six months (June 1, 2017) to give employers more time to prepare for the change. A companion measure was introduced late last month in the U.S. Senate (S. 3462). The new overtime rule doubles the salary threshold — from $23,660 to $47,476 per year — under which most salaried workers are eligible for overtime (hourly workers are generally guaranteed overtime pay regardless of their earnings level with the exception of computer professionals paid hourly). Learn more

impactHR Team Volunteers at United Way of Central MD’s Project Homeless Connect

impactHR team

The impactHR PHC team (l-r: Ken Berlack, Karen Walsh, Ilene Lawrence and Nikole McWright)

The impactHR team recently joined with hundreds of volunteers to assist persons experiencing homelessness in Baltimore as part of the United Way of Central Maryland’s (UWCM) annual Project Homeless Connect, September 30, at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The UWCM’s Project Homeless Connect is an annual event that helps thousands of families and individuals facing homelessness by providing on-site medical exams and screenings, haircuts, legal advice, identification, food and other related human services.

At this year’s event, according to the UWCM, roughly 2,100 Baltimore-area  adults and families, including 400 children, experiencing homelessness were provided services to help them achieve stability.

In addition, more than 700 people received dental care and roughly 450 received vision services.

impactHR, Evolve Consulting Group Join in Sponsoring the BBB Greater MD Torch Awards for Ethics

impactHR is proud to join with Evolve Consulting Group in sponsoring the Better Business Bureau of Greater (BBB) Maryland’s annual Torch Awards for Ethics and awards banquet, The Pillars of Trust, November 3, at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. The BBB of Greater Maryland annual awards program honors businesses that demonstrate high standards of honesty and “the utmost commitment to ethics and integrity.”BBB Greater Maryland

Both private sector and non-profit sector organizations of all sizes are considered for the BBB Torch Awards for Ethics. Each year, the winners and finalists of the Torch Award for Ethics “consistently exceed marketplace standards for ethics in their relationships with customers, employees, suppliers, industry peers and the communities in which they do business,” said Angie Barnett, President & CEO, BBB serving Greater Maryland. The Torch Awards for Ethics embody the BBB’s mission of advancing marketplace trust. Learn more

OFCCP Sues Federal Contractor for Systematic Employment Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently announced it has filed a lawsuit against Palantir Technologies, a Palo Alto, CA-based technology company, for systematically discriminating against Asian job applicants in its hiring process and selection procedures.

Palantir currently provides software and data analysis services under federal contract to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. Department of the Army. The OFCCP’s lawsuit aims to end Palantir’s alleged discriminatory hiring policies and practices, and also seeks to restore lost wages, interest, retroactive seniority and all other lost benefits of employment to those who experienced job discrimination. In addition, if Palantir fails to provide relief as ordered, the OFCCP will request cancellation of all of the company’s government contracts and debarment from entering into future federal contracts.

ImpactAction: For employers with federal contracts, we recommend you review and ensure your company is in compliance with all appropriate OFCCP-related hiring and employment rules and regulations. We also recommend that you ensure your Affirmative Action Plan – which is required for all federal contractors with 50 or more employees – is current and that you’re in full compliance with its requirements and obligations.

Please let us know if need help complying with OFCCP rules as well as preparing Affirmative Action Plans. Contact us today at or by phone at 410-312-7882.

The “Quits Rate” Almost Back to Pre-Downturn Level (Ten Years Ago!)

One data point economists use to gauge the health of the overall U.S. job market and economy is the “quits rate” (the percentage of workers who voluntarily quit their jobs for new opportunities). What’s notable currently is that the quits rate for August 2016 (2.1%) has almost made the climb back to the rate in August 2006 (2.2%) – the era just before the great recession began in late 2007. Learn more

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