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A Better Partnership


Nov 2008
November 25, 2008

HR Focus - Fall 2008

Editor's Note - What you Don't Know Can Hurt You

Can human resources managers be expected to think of everything?

Well, yes. Laws change frequently, new opportunities arise and often it's difficult to keep up with everything that affects the workplace. Just doing the job is difficult enough; finding ways to improve (or save the company money!) is time-consuming, to say the least.

That's where we come in. Warner Norcross & Judd's Human Resources attorneys keep up on the latest legal trends and often offer advice to clients before they know they need it.

For example, the story in today’s edition about online recruiting and how it relates to people with disabilities may not be a common subject of discussion among HR managers. But it should be.

The exploding popularity of online recruiting, coupled with companies now using their own Web sites as recruiting tools, is prompting the government to take a closer look. Especially in the area of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The fact that a recent study conducted at Cornell University found that although online recruiting has made significant inroads into human resources processes, most employers had not considered the accessibility of their recruiting Web sites to applicants with disabilities, presents a serious problem. According to the study, the majority of human resources professionals were "simply unaware" of options available to help applicants with disabilities.

Today, Warner attorney Sarah Luke takes a look at the online recruiting process, tools available to make it better and compliance issues that need to be addressed in a story on Page 1.

Here's another issue that may not be top-of-mind: Hiring disabled individuals. Did you know that in a recent survey a vast majority of the public said they would prefer to give their business to companies that hire people with disabilities? Did you know that tax credits are available for companies that hire disabled individuals? If this is news to you, you might want to check out the article by Warner attorney Steve Palazzolo on Page 3.

Finally, amid all the hoopla surrounding the "bailout bill" for the financial markets, there were a number of employee benefits measures also signed into law. We've got you covered on that front with stories on Pages 2 and 5.

Hopefully, the time you take to read this newsletter will save you time (and money!) in the long run.

The Editors

HR Attorneys Present Successful Seminar

More than 300 people attended Warner Norcross & Judd’s recent Human Resources Seminar. This year, the program moved to DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids to give attendees a chance to spread out a little and attorneys more space for additional breakout sessions.

The daylong event put the emphasis on Employer of Choice initiatives throughout the morning session followed by general breakout sessions of interest to HR personnel in the afternoon. The seminar is a combined effort of the Labor and Employment and the Employee Benefits attorneys at Warner.

Employer of Choice status, participants were told, helps a company attract and maintain the best talent through focused and meaningful recruiting, retention, leadership, compensation and benefits efforts. In return, those people most often make a stronger connection with their employer, feel more invested and are involved as employees, and often stay with the company for a longer period of time.

The lunch presentation featured members of the firm’s Government Affairs group examining the presidential election and what businesses can expect when either of the candidates attains the White House.

The afternoon focused on more "traditional" labor and benefits issues and gave participants a chance to break into smaller groups that were more conducive to question-and-answer sessions.

The afternoon's subjects included a legal update on employee benefits and labor and employment topics, cafeteria benefits plans, the global workforce, retaliation claims, technology and privacy in the workplace and much more.

Based on responses from attendees, the presentations were informative and the topics were right on target.

Here's what people said about the HR Seminar:

  • "I liked the questions and feedback in the morning session."

  • "Another great seminar! Keep up the great topics and energy."

  • "Good stuff, but it deserves two days."

  • "I appreciate the speakers' willingness to make themselves available for one-on-one questions following their presentations."

  • "Enjoyed the variety of speakers and the audience involvement with voting."

  • "Another excellent seminar filled with relevant, knowledge-rich material.
    Highly useful."

  • "Very informative. One of the best seminars I've attended."

  • “It was well organized and the content was very relevant to today's environment."

And the Winner Is . . .

The winner of this year's HR Seminar Prize Drawing is Patrice Shay of Sparks Belting/JSJ Corp. She won tickets to the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular Show at Van Andel Arena. Congratulations to Pat and thanks to everyone who attended the seminar.

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