HR & Compliance

Add SBAM offers a full spectrum of human resources services to keep you compliant and help your business run more efficiently and profitably....

Human Resources Solutions

ASE LogoLooking for help with tough HR issues? 

SBAM partner ASE has the answers about hiring, firing, FMLA, ADA and more! Get access to a FREE HR hotline, affordable and cost-effective research consultation services, discounted employee handbooks and workplace posters, and more.

Section 125 Plan, FSA, HSA & HRA Administration


KUSHNER & COMPANY LogoLooking for ways to contain health care costs?
With the cost of health insurance continuing to rise, most employers require their employees to contribute to the cost of health insurance premiums. SBAM partner Kushner & Co. can help you put a tax-favored, consumer-directed plan in place that benefits you and your employees.


COBRA Administration

Personalized, affordable administration for your business. 

If you have 20 or more employees, your company is required by federal law to offer continued health insurance coverage via COBRA and will face huge fines if it's not administered correctly.  Let SBAM help you stay compliant for only $30 per month. 

Consumer confidence rising in Michigan! Learn about a new MSU survey Friday on Business Next, 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Friday, May 18, on the Business Next audio seminar,  MSU economic professor Charles Ballard talks about the latest results of the quarterly State-of-the-State Survey. Rising consumer confidence in Michigan! Also, a discussion about franchising, entrepreneurship and small business success with Bob Fish, founder of BIGGBY COFFEE. And, profile of  MI 50 Companies to Watch winner Katech Inc. , developer of high performance engines; and MI 50 Companies to Watch winner Total Security Solutions Inc., manufacturer of bullet-proof glass and barriers.

Listen Friday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Look to the outside or promote from within?

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

By Joe DeSantis   

Promote from within. It’s not only cheaper, but you’ll get better performance and more stability over the next two years from the worker you moved up rather than the one you paid more to bring in from the outside. But then if the more expensive new hire survives the bumps and stumbles of those first two years, that person will probably move up faster than his or her colleagues.

So argues Assistant Professor of Management Matthew Bidwell of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. To reach his conclusions, Prof.  Bidwell studied the personnel records of a large division of an investment bank from 2003 to 2009. Among his other findings and conclusions are these:

  • Hiring managers will spend 18-20% more in salary to bring in someone from the outside than they would have spent to promote someone internally.    
  • Hiring managers do not know much about their outside candidates. Therefore, they tend to put greater value on factors they can see and measure—like education and experience—than on less predictable factors such as work behaviors and culture match. This, says Prof. Bidwell, despite the fact that “education and experience are reasonably weak signals of how good somebody will be on the job.”
  • Promotions from within tend to work better because, most of the time, they happen after the fact. In other words, the worker is already handling the higher level duties well. The promotion is really just the formal acknowledgment of that fact.    
  • It takes about two years for the outside hire to learn the job well enough to be effective in it. This is because it takes that long to build the relationships needed to work well with others. In the meantime, the risk of failure is relatively high. In fact, says Prof. Bidwell, in those first two years outside hires get lower performance ratings and have higher turnover rates than their veteran colleagues.    
  • If the employer considers promoting someone internally, the nature of the promotion is important. If the move is not only upwards but also to a different department or division or work group, the promoted worker will be prone to the same errors as an outside hire would be.
Prof. Bidwell concludes that the dynamics of the hire-vs.-promote decision come down to two factors: 1) the skills that workers bring to their new jobs, and 2) how much information the worker and the employer have about each other at the time of the hire or promotion. Comparatively speaking, the internal employee knows the organization better and the organization knows his or her skills better. The outside hire does not know the organization, and the organization is only guessing at that person’s skills, which it expects to be much stronger than those of its internal workers.

Prof. Bidwell comes down on the side of favoring promotion from within as a business strategy. But it is important to note that his research focused on workers and organizations where job success depends heavily on how well the employee knows how the organization works and has built good relationships with colleagues. In those organizations work is less a commodity, easily transferrable to other organizations, than it might be elsewhere. In the latter organizations, the same dynamics might not be in play.

But his work does seem to lend a certain insight into the reasons why workers are so much more mobile today than they were a generation ago. It tends to validate workers’ suspicions that they can find career advancement only by moving elsewhere.

Need help hiring?  Turn to the Read more

Victory for workplace democracy

SBAM, through its national affiliate the National Small Business Association, participated in a coalition that successfully challenged the validity of a recent National Labor Relations Board ruling that was designed to make union organizing easier. The rule had been criticized by employers as an attack on workplace democracy.

On Monday, May 14, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that the NLRB union elections rule that took effect April 30 is invalid because it was adopted without the statutorily required quorum. The lawsuit challenging the rule was filed by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Small Business Association of Michigan’s national affiliate, National Small Business Association is a member of the CDW.

Only two members of the five member board were present at the meeting when the rule was adopted, which was the basis of the court's decision.

Per the Court decision:

"According to Woody Allen, eighty percent of life is just showing up. When it comes to satisfying a quorum requirement, though, showing up is even more important than that. Indeed, it is the only thing that matters – even when the quorum is constituted electronically. In this case, because no quorum ever existed for the pivotal vote in question, the Court must hold that the challenged rule is invalid."

The NLRB may adopt the rule again if a quorum is present. President Barack Obama recently made three recess appointments to the NLRB, the legality of which also is being challenged since the Senate was arguably in session. It is not clear whether the NLRB will appeal the District Court decision or simply re-adopt the rule with a quorum made up from the new, contested appointees.

In response to the District Court decision, the NLRB on Tuesday temporarily suspended the implementation of changes to its representation case process, which had taken effect April 30.

Board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce said the Board is reviewing the court decision and considering its response. “We continue to believe that the amendments represent a significant improvement in our process and serve the public interest by eliminating unnecessary litigation,” he said. “We are determined to move forward.”

Please click here to read the full ruling.

Employee-owned personal electronic devices: Think ahead or lose control

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

By Michael J. Burns

How often have you looked around the table at a business meeting to see one or more employees gazing intently downward, fingers furiously punching away on their personal hand-held devices? Hopefully, they are keeping up with their work this way; but, assuming they are, can you be sure that is a good idea? More businesses today permit employees to use their personally-owned equipment to access work, but how often do they realize the legal and security implications of that activity?

According to a BLR report of a recent survey by YouGov and Research Now, 67% of surveyed companies have no policy covering their employees’ use of their personal devices for work purposes.

What happens to company data and information, and even trade secrets, that find their way onto an employee’s electronic device and then leave with the employee to another job? Or to sensitive information that is hacked by an outsider from the employee’s smartphone? Or to information normally purged from the company’s system in a lawsuit that turns up instead on an employee’s personal device?

Employers are now confronted with several dilemmas around the value derived from the convenience of employees using their own devices—paid for by themselves—to work more efficiently. Typically the employer does not pay for the purchase of these devices, and many do not pay the usage fees even though they may have arranged for the device to “sync” up with the company system. Under those circumstances, who owns or controls the information and data on the devices when push comes to shove?

Suffice it to say, if an employer does not have a policy and certain controls in place, it is not the company that owns or controls what data and information gets placed in that device.

Companies have adopted three types of policies to address these concerns about employee-owned electronic device policies:

Shared Management. Company policy states that an employee accessing business resources from a personal device gives the company the right to manage, lock, and wipe that device. The policy is normally put into a written agreement.

Corporate Ownership. The company owns and buys the device. If employees don’t like the company-issued device, they can buy their own personal device that has no corporate access.

Legal Transfer. The company buys the device from the employee. Normally, the company will purchase the device for some nominal amount (e.g., $5) and give the employee the right to use it for personal purposes. The employee has the right to buy the device back for the same price when he or she leaves the company.

If a company wants to have access to all communications the only way to guarantee control over the device and information by the company is to buy the device. Otherwise, employers need to determine what their tolerance is to the security risk. What is the sensitivity of the information being handled? What security concerns exist in the company’s business/industry?

Short of owning the device outright,  employers should fashion policies that address the following:

  • Initiate a “wipe” policy. This is done by requiring employees download software that allows the company to access the device (remotely even) and remove the company data.
  • Require written agreements that confirm employee’s understanding of the risks and responsibilities.
  • Make the use of the company system by personal electronic devices exclusive only to designated persons or positions.
  • Require employees to submit their devices to periodic inspection and make device inspection part of the exit interview. (This should be agreed to in writing and in advance.)

EEOC releases updated enforcement guidance on the consideration of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner Clark Hill PLC

By: Carly Osadetz
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued an updated Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII to consolidate and update prior EEOC opinions. The Guidance explains that employers who consider the criminal history of applicants and employees may face Title VII liability under one of two theories: 1) a disparate treatment claim, which asserts that the employer treated individuals with a criminal record differently based on their race or national origin; and 2)  a disparate impact claim, which asserts that the application of a neutral criminal history policy disproportionately disqualified a protected group and the policy is not job-related and connected with business necessity.
The main focus of the Guidance is on disparate impact discrimination. The Guidance states that an employer's neutral policy may disproportionately impact some protected individuals, and may violate Title VII if the policy is not "job related and consistent with business necessity." This requires the employer to show that its policy effectively links specific criminal conduct and its dangers to the risks inherent in the job. The EEOC supplied two examples of situations that will meet this "job related and consistent with business necessity" threshold:
  • Where the employer validates the criminal conduct exclusion for the position in question under the Uniform Guidelines and Selection Procedures; or
  • Where the employer considers the nature of the crime, the time elapsed since the conviction and the nature of the job applied for, and then provides an opportunity for individual assessment for those identified by the screen to determine whether the policy as applied to those individuals is job related and consistent with business necessity.
Individualized assessments are not always required but the Guidance repeatedly emphasizes that that blanket, across-the-board screening processes are more likely to violate the law.
It is the EEOC's position that an exclusion based only on an arrest, as opposed to a conviction, record is never job related or consistent with business necessity. However, the Guidance explains that an employer may make an employment decision based on the conduct underlying an arrest if the conduct makes the individual unfit for the position.
The Guidance also explains that even if state or local law requires employers to prohibit or restrict the employment of individuals with criminal records, an employer's policy must still be "job related and consistent with business necessity." The fact that an employer's policy was adopted to comply with a state or local law or regulations will not always shield that employer from liability under Title VII.
The Guidance suggests a variety of "best practices" for employers, including the following:
  • Eliminate policies or practices that automatically exclude people from employment based on any criminal record.
  • Train managers, hiring officials and decision-makers about Title VII and its prohibition on employment discrimination, and on how to implement the policy and procedures consistent with Title VII.
  • Develop a narrowly tailored written policy and procedure for screening applicants and employees for criminal conduct. The policy should identify essential job requirements and the actual circumstances under which the jobs are performed, along with specific criminal offenses that may demonstrate unfitness for performing the jobs.  
  • When asking questions about criminal records, limit inquiries to records for which ex