Don’t Give Up

Today’s blog is about not giving up. A former classmate of mine contacted me today in tears, she has yet to land a job in HR. I understand her frustration but explained that with everything there is an opportunity to learn from it.

I remember graduating from college, then graduate school, being the first in my family to receive both. What a feeling, it was amazing and then boom! I couldn’t find a job in the area I loved most, HR. I was told by others that I should “dumb down” my experiences, I started to do so and yes the interviews began to come in but yet I wasn’t happy.  So I did what I thought was best, I proudly displayed my credentials (MSHR,PHR) on my resume, the calls slowed down but I realized I am okay with that because I am who I am. I am happy.

I explained to my friend/classmate that she should try and turn that energy into something else, what she loves most. For me, it was HR, so I started Kelly’s HR Services (KHRS). With KHRS I am able to grow, while doing what I love most. Ultimately, I would like to provide free, that’s right free, service to start-up and not-for-profit, I want to help people and be happy while doing it.

In the end, I realize for many, that seeking full-time employment is at the top of their list and can be extremely frustrating, but I also feel as though if you can’t be happy in your current situation, then how are you able to display happiness in your search for employment?

Forget about giving up, always look for the positive within the negative and surround with those who are positive, that was my advice to her. 





Today’s blog is about my first time working with children. I must say hats off to all you educators. I am not sure how and why you do it, but hats off to you.

I was asked by a friend who is running a mentoring program for inner city kids to come in and provide a few interviewing techniques, you know the dos and don’ts of interviewing.  I initially thought, “This is a great idea, gives me an opportunity to give back to the community.” Boy was I wrong.

First, I wanted to keep things simple not to elaborate, no agenda just a simple discussion. We started out with me introducing myself, and asking the group to do the same, while informing me what school s/he attended, bad idea. One group in particular, was goofing off, providing false names, informing me they were in elementary school; mind you I am speaking to a group of high school kids, they are laughing, slouching et cetera et cetera.

Next, we move into the ice breaker exercise, the “Find someone who…” again this was all wrong, no one participated, and the teens simply laughed and again goofed off. I couldn’t help but think; didn’t these kids’ parents teach them to be respectful while out in public, not to mention to adults?

Now here is the presentation, I begin to explain the purpose of the “Find someone who…” exercise there is chatter, outright blatant disrespect. I do what any other trainer would do when a trainee is talking; you walk over and stand next to the person who is chattering. Would you believe this did not work? They were actually worst.

I had to keep reminding myself these are children, inner city children. Did I want to label and/or stereotype them? Absolutely not, but they had proved all my other friends right. When I told friends I was doing this, I got responses such as, “Are you kidding me?” “I wouldn’t, those kids are rude” and “You can’t teach them anything” and yet I found myself thinking and feeling the same way as my friends.

Before I knew it, my wanting to help went to frustration and then P.O.’d. Here I am providing a service that I normally charge for, for free, not to mention the paper I used to print PowerPoints, and little giveaways I had purchased. Our discussion quickly turned from “ Hi my name is X and I am here to discuss the dos and don’ts of interviewing to listen, if you do not want to be here, by all means please feel free to leave. You are a distraction, not only me but to those who are very much interested. Furthermore, you should be mindful of your behavior, you never know if the person you are rude to, disrespectful to will be the one determining if you get your next job.”  I explained (to those who were actually listening) that unfortunately, the teen unemployment rate went up in January to 20.7% — from 20.2% in December– and is now more than three times the national unemployment rate of 6.6%,  according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). So if you plan on working to save money for college, it just got harder. Not to mention for some of you here today I absolutely would never hire. I felt bad, but it was the truth.

In the end, will I do it again? Yes, if I reach one kid out of 50 then I’ve done my job. 

Hours Worked: What’s Compensable and What Not’s


While employed at the addiction recovery center; sorry to keep using this place as an example, there were a number of issues that were brought to my attention and this is the reason I blog.

Here is an example of a few things I dealt with, an employee informed me that the facility administrator was holding his check because he was late or did not complete a task prior to his shift ending and was required to stay late without pay (both actions illegal by the way). This same facility administrator was conducting mandatory staff meetings, and was not compensating nonexempt employees for attending these 2+ hour meetings. Needless to say he and I did not get along very well.

FYI- within the last year the Department of Labor (DOL) has been focused on combating employee misclassification, not to mention the significant increase in the number of wage-and-hour lawsuits. I’d say that today’s blog is the “educate yourself blog” on the dos and don’ts of hours worked, to whip you in shape, keep you out of the courts.

I came across an article written by Susan Prince, legal editor, with BLR and decided to share her most common hours worked mistakes employers make. I’d say I totally agree with the 15 items listed.

1. Waiting time

An employee who is on duty and waiting to be assigned a task is considered to be working.

Generally, an employee is on duty when the time is controlled by the employer and is of relatively short duration. However, when the employee is completely relieved of duty (i.e., is allowed to leave the premises and is told exactly when to return), this is not considered hours worked.

2. On-Call time

On-call time usually means that the employee is not on the employer’s premises. On-call time must be counted as hours worked when the employee is required to remain on call so that his or her time is so restricted that the employee cannot use it effectively for personal purposes.

Keep in mind that if an employee is not free to effectively use his or her time for own personal purposes, the time should be counted as hours worked.

3. Travel time

Normally not covered are the times and employee is commuting to and from work. However, special 1-day assignment to another location should be counted.

Travel away from home that includes being away overnight is work time when it cuts across the employee’s workday. The travel time is not only hours worked on regular workdays during normal work hours, but also during the corresponding hours on no workdays.

4. Meal periods

Keep in mind there is no federal law requiring meal break. However, breaks of up to 20 minutes must be counted as work time, and those that last more than 20 minutes must  be counted, so long as the employee is relieved of his/her duty, even if the employee is not permitted to leave the premises.

5. Rest periods

Rest breaks are not required by federal law, but if they are offered, they must be counted as hours worked so long as the breaks are of 5 to 20 minutes.

6. Sleeping time

Certain conditions require that sleeping time be compensable work time. An employee who is required to be on duty for fewer than 24 hours is working, even though permitted to sleep or engage in other personal activities when not busy.

“In the case of employees on duty for 24 or more consecutive hours, the employee and employer may agree to exclude from hours worked meal periods and a scheduled sleeping period of 8 hours or less, provided adequate sleeping facilities are furnished and the employee can typically enjoy an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

If the sleep period is interrupted by a call to duty, the interruption time is considered hours worked, and if the employee cannot get at least 5 hours of sleep, the entire period must be counted as work time” (Prince).

7. Split shifts

If an employee is entirely free to use the time off between work periods no need to count hours worked.

8. Training programs, lectures, and meetings

If attendance at these functions is required, the time must be counted as work time.

9. Holidays, vacations, and sick days

Unless there is an agreement to do so holidays, vacation days, and sick days are not counted as hours worked.

10. Medical attention

If an employee spends time waiting for and receiving medical attention on the premises or at the direction of the employer during normal working hours on days when the employee is working must be counted as work time. For example, an employee falls while heading to the conference room and an EMT was called.

11. Report-in pay

In Florida we experience hurricanes, California, earthquakes, and federal laws does not  require employers to pay employees who report to work but are unable to work because of some unusual condition at the workplace. Keep in mind though that some states require certain industries to provide report-in pay, check the laws in your state.

12. Suggestion systems

If an employee is permitted or assigned to work on suggestions during regular working hours, the time must be counted as work time, other wards it is not counted.

13. Telecommuniting

Employees who work at home must be paid only for the time that they are working, end of story.

14. Weekend work

The Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) does not require extra pay for weekend work. However, covered, nonexempt employees must be paid at least 1 ½ times their regular rates of pay for the time worked over 40 hours in a workweek whether worked on regular workdays or on the weekend.

15. Night work and shiftwork

The FLSA does not require extra pay for night work. Keep in mind employers are required to pay nonexempt workers 1 ½ their regular rates of pay for time worked over 40 hours


If for some reason you find the need not to comply, or think this is no big deal read the case of Safety Harbor Resort and Spa in Tampa, Fl. The spa was ordered to pay nearly $31,000 in back wages following DOL investigation.




Tips from the successful

After reading an article on how successful people succeed, I decided to follow a few of the advice given. So I unscribed daily to an email newsletter and today for the first time in months, years, I finally sat down to read my emails ( at the scheduled times of course ) and found only emails I actually wanted to read. Feeling proud. #TeamGettingOrganized

Tips provided:
1. Unsubscribe to unwanted emails daily
2. Schedule a time to read emails and stick to it
3. Create a to do list
4. Exercise, get a little cardio in before starting your day
5. As a small business owner, create a work schedule

These tips have helped me tremendously and thought I would share.

Will You Blow the Whistle or Not?



Having worked in the addiction/recovery industry; unfortunately, I have witnessed a number of unethical behaviors within the workplace. At first I felt uncomfortable; I of course was the HR director. Was I part of the problem for not speaking up? Absolutely. Secondly, I found myself becoming mentally and physically drained from what I was witnessing, it was terrible. What should I do?  I often thought.

Unethical problem is becoming a serious issue for many workplaces and not just the addiction/recovery arena. It can affect all facets of work life (i.e. sales, productivity, and public perception); Rick Bell in his article “Blowing the Whistle, Blowing Your Career?” noted that 63% of respondents regularly witnessed both minor and major ethical infractions and employees confront only half of the unethical behavior they witness at work.

Bell provided the following excuses employees gave for not blowing the whistle, however, these excuses were not mine, I was simply afraid of retaliation, losing my job:

  • It might damage someone’s career
  • It would have made the offender harder to work with
  • The worker didn’t’ thin s/he would be taken serious

Eventually, my conscious got the best of me and I informed the CEO/owner of what I had been witnessing and how these actions could and would eventually affect the organization, needless to say after three months I was terminated, no reason given.

So how can an employee blow the whistle without blowing their career? Bell provides the following tips:

  • Gather data – you’re more likely to encounter confusion and denial
  • Avoid conspiracy- if you have an obligation to report an offense, do so promptly
  • Begin by sharing your “good” intentions – Let the other person know you have his/her best interest in mind
  • Share facts – lay out your  concerns showing data, and do away with any judgment or accusation

Wondering what happened to my former employer? Well the company has been plagued with at least 6 lawsuits, turnover rate is in the double digits, a former colleague who ended up being employed with the company as the HR director was fired, basically she had the same concerns as I did and lastly the company is on the verge of bankruptcy.

One last note, in 1989 Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Act, this Act prevents whistleblowers from losing their jobs and rewards then with 50% of the fines assessed by the courts.




The Ins and Outs: FMLA , ADA, and Worker’s Compensation

New to HR and having passed my professional in human resource (PHR) exam, I thought I knew everything about FMLA, ADA and worker’s compensation. Wasn’t I, an expert? After all, I have 10+ years’ experience in management, a master’s degree in human resource management, and am a certified professional in human resources. Absolutely NOT!

After attending a refresher course on FMLA, ADA and workers compensation, I realized that there were a number of things I either A. Had forgotten, B. Never knew of, and C. Knew of, but never really discussed how the three affected organizations with my clients. So with that, I’d like to share a few tips concerning FMLA, ADA and worker’s compensation that every business owner should be aware of.

  • Both ADA and FMLA are laws administered at the federal level while worker’s compensation is administered at the state level
  • Keep in mind, worker’s compensation is designed for employees to receive compensation while out of work due to a workplace injury
  • Under worker’s compensation most states  require employers who have at least one employee to provide worker’s compensation, while Florida requires private employers with at least 4 or more employees to obtain worker’s compensation and those employed by the state or in construction with at least 1 employee, must provide worker’s compensation
    • With worker’s compensation most of the time you are dealing with FMLA
      • You can run the two concurrently
      • Once FMLA is exhausted worker’s compensation does not provide job protection; however, the employee maybe covered under ADA
      • EEOC states you cannot auto terminate, even if more than 12 weeks have been used under FMLA. You must find out if any accommodation can be made
  • If an injury results in a qualified disability you must engage in the interactive process, document the process and the accommodation
  • FMLA applies to those employers with at least 50  or more employees  at one location
    • Employers are required to provide at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave
    • In-laws are not covered
    • Employee must work 12 months, 1250 hours prior to the serious injury to qualify
    • Part-timers are counted towards the 50 employees  (keep in mind there are exceptions)
    • Examples of serious illness: mild hernia, chicken pox, and most mental disorders
    • Send FMLA notices when the employee goes out on worker’s compensation leave to properly account for absences.  Document! Document! Document!
    • When an organization has more than one location, please take caution when allowing everyone to be covered under FMLA. Remember the law states that there is a 75 mile radius between locations and the company’s headquarters  for FMLA to apply. Let’s say you have location A. and location B is located 80 miles away with only 25 employees, FMLA does not apply. However, if you wish to provide FMLA  to all employees, make sure that you add an amendment to your company’s handbook stating your organization is providing the same benefits and specify it is not FMLA leave.
    • ADA applies to those employers with at least 15 employees 
      • It is a federal law that prevents employers from discriminating against those with disabilities.
      • The law doesn’t require compensation, only reasonable accommodation.
      • Keep in mind under the amendment to the law, under ADA not too many individuals aren’t covered.
      • Example of an ADA, hearing impaired (keep in mind this is not covered under FMLA).
      • ADA does not differentiate between work related and non-work related disabilities.
      • Always follow your organization’s leave of absence policy.
      • Don’t assume that just because, you have fulfilled obligations under one law, that it satisfies obligations under another.


I can go on and on about this topic, but in the end, the take away for me is that you’re never too young (lol) to learn anything, don’t think you know it all because of your credentials, be open to learning and most importantly SHARE your knowledge.

If you have any questions regarding FMLA, ADA or worker’s compensation,  please feel free to contact us or consult with your organization’s HR business partner or council.


Risk Management: What’s trending?

After reading the article “Making the Grade” by Robert Ceniceros, we thought we would share.

Ceniceros discusses a new trend making its way into risk management, that is post-offer employment testing.  Basically, in an effort to reduce injuries, many organizations are moving towards a post-offer employment testing (POET). POET basically measures an applicant’s physical ability to perform a job.

Why this new trend? Increased hiring, rising cost of workplace injuries and less physically fit applicant pool. POET may include simulating the lifting, pushing, pulling and other physical activities that make up a job’s essential function.

Employers are making employment offers conditional upon an applicant’s physical ability to perform the activities of the job. In addition, organizations are also using POET to determine when to return an established employee to their duties following a workplace injury.

As with the article we believed that testing may be more beneficial for the most strenuous types of work. If your organization is considering adopting POET start with a pilot program, identifying which job categories to include by reviewing the your organization’s claim history, narrowing down injury frequency and severity of problems.

Side note, testing has been the target of many discrimination cases, in the case of Washington v. Davis the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of valid tests, even if they disqualify a disproportionately larger percent of one ethnic group. In the end, ensure that what you are testing are not only valid but reliable as well, test all applicants for the same position only after a conditional job offer has been made.

Need help creating your POET, contact us