Another update from the Jungle….
Angie’s tearing her hair out trying to help the company owner, Tom. She’s the HR manager and some days it feels like a pretty thankless task. Tom runs several businesses, including a janitorial service and a moving company.
Tom’s a good guy most of the time and truly wants to help his employees. He loans money to employees who need a little help between payroll checks. He kept one employee on the health plan for six months while he recuperated from a cancer scare.
He hires people who have interesting back stories. His moving company crews include former gang members who are expert at moving other people’s property quickly and efficiently. Steve, an employee of the janitorial company thinks Jim Beam is a sports beverage. Tom periodically sends Steve to rehab to dry out and ensures that Steve is closely supervised while on the job.
But Angie knows there’s a dark side to Tom. If Tom decides you’ve screwed up, you’re out; never mind the progressive discipline policy. Angie’s explained countless times that knee jerk reactions can lead to trouble. But Tom says no one is going to tell him how to run his businesses.
This morning, a man shows up in the lobby. He’s Mr. Beatty, an auditor from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. He asks for the time and attendance records, job descriptions, and payroll records to verify that everyone is paid the appropriate hourly rate.
Tom starts rumbling like an over-pressurized steam engine as he glares at Mr. Beatty. Angie tries to head off disaster by inviting Mr. Beatty to wait in the conference room while she gathers the requested information. She offers coffee to Mr. Beatty but Tom nixes the offer. Tom takes a deep breath, preparatory to blasting Mr. Beatty out of the universe.
What options are available to Angie?
- She can tell the Department of Labor auditor to look away while she kicks Tom in the shins for antagonizing the man who can shut down the company.
- She can flirt with the DOL guy in hopes of distracting him.
- She can excuse herself from the meeting and go call a recruiting company to begin shopping her resume to a new employer.
The above scenario is a composite of several actual incidents. The DOL is increasing the number of compliance audits of employers. HR representatives do their best to keep their employers “legal” but they can’t save employers who think the rules don’t apply to them.
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