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. 

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

SBAM, GR Area Chamber launch Jobs Insight project in west Michigan

The Michigan Small Business Jobs Insight project, designed to tally and report the growing number of small business jobs being filled in regions and industries across the state, was launched in Grand Rapids at a business roundtable event with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and local west Michigan business owners today.

“Small business-centered job growth is having a dramatic positive impact on our state’s economic recovery,” said Rob Fowler, President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM). “It’s vitally important to document how small businesses are contributing to an improving jobs picture in Michigan.  We are excited to have this new tool that does just that – highlighting real jobs and real success stories across west Michigan and the entire state.”

“The Grand Rapids Chamber has a strategic focus not only on creating jobs but helping employers retain talent that helps drive business growth,” said Rick Baker, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “The Michigan Jobs Insight tool aligns with our mission to highlight new jobs from one to 500, sprouting up from businesses, old and new.” 

Blues need information from customers to comply with reform law

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that health insurance carriers annually report Medical Loss Ratio.

In order to do so for 2012, BCBSM and BCN must know the average number of employees that underwritten groups had in the 2011 calendar year. This count must include all active (non-retiree) employees, even their part-time and seasonal employees, regardless of their eligibility for benefits.

Beginning on May 18, BCBSM will be contacting approximately 25,000 customers to ask them for their total employee counts.  It’s very important that customers return the survey by June 15, 2012.  If your business participates in SBAM's sponsored BCBSM or BCN health care plans, watch the mail for this survey or click here to fill it out online.

It is vital that the most accurate numbers be reported. This information is critical in helping to determine whether BCBSM or BCN has met the minimum thresholds and if they must issue rebates to come into compliance. There are significant federal penalties for insurers and employers that do not comply with the law, including a penalty of $100 per responsible entity per day per violation per individual.

If you have any questions, please call SBAM Customer Service at (800) 362-5461 or contact your insurance agent.