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March 2015 Archives

The hiring process: why it isn't as simple as it seems

When it comes to getting a job, the prospective employee probably sees the whole hiring process as a simple matter. The company collects resumes, interviews candidates, whittles down those candidates, and then eventually makes their decision as to who gets the job. Simple, right?

But there is so much more going on behind the scenes than just that seemingly-simple description. There are many legal hurdles that must be jumped over and there are plenty of issues that can arise during the hiring process that could cause an employer some serious headaches.

For example, consider the whole process on a macro scale. The whole process is ripe for an employment discrimination if the employer doesn't go about the process that correct way. In addition, there could be other perceived biases on the part of the candidates which could lead to legal trouble down the road.

At the same time, classifying employees is a major part of the hiring process. Is the job a contractor position, or does the role make the individual an official employee of the company? What about the hours? Is it a part-time job, a seasonal job, or a full-time job?

There are a lot of things that the employer has to contend with during the hiring process, and we've only covered a few of the potential factors that go into hiring an individual to work at your company. Companies that are going through the hiring process or have run into legal issues with the hiring process need to consult with an attorney to ensure these issues are being dealt with appropriately.

Source: FindLaw, "Hiring Process," Accessed March 25, 2015

What is the difference between exempt and nonexempt employees?

For most working people, the idea of being classified as a certain type of employee is a foreign concept. It's not that you are unaware that employees are classified for the sake of compliance -- it's just not something you actively think about. But for companies, businesses, and employers, the classification of employees is a major concern. Incorrectly classifying an employee, or not giving an employee what he or she deserves based on their classification, can cause significant headaches for the company.

So with that in mind, let's talk about exempt and nonexempt employees. Complying with the rules set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act is a must, and these two statuses are an integral part of the compliance.

A nonexempt employee is someone who must be paid minimum wage and overtime pay if they exceed 40 hours in a work week. Overtime pay is equivalent to "time and a half" of their base pay for every hour of overtime they work. When it comes to nonexempt employees, failing to properly document and record the overtime hours they work, or trying to pay them "under the table," is a major violation.

An exempt employee is not protected by the FLSA, unlike their nonexempt counterparts. They are not entitled to overtime pay, and their status is determined by three key factors (or by mandate, such as with sales staff or airlines employees). The first factor is their pay. If they make at least $23,600 per year, then they meet this requirement for exempt status. The second requirement is that their pay is a salary. And the third requirement is that they perform "exempt status" duties.

That last requirement means that if an employee meets the first two requirements and also performs high-level duties (such as supervising employees, having a say in an employee's status, or performing "professional" or "administrative" jobs such as a lawyer, teacher, physician, HR or public relations) then they are an exempt employee.

Source: FindLaw, "Exempt Employees vs. Nonexempt Employees," Accessed March 13, 2015

Allegheny County Property Assessments: Appeal Deadline Looming

With less than three weeks from the filing deadline, Allegheny County property owners, municipalities, and school districts have filed just 2,000 property assessment appeals for 2015.  This number is substantially down from the roughly 10,000 property assessment appeals that were filed in 2014 across Allegheny County.  Consistent with years past, school districts have taken the lead in filing the majority of the taxing body initiated appeals.  In fact, property owners in Districts like Sto-Rox, Mt. Lebanon, and Avonworth have already begun to receive notice of the pending appeals of their assessments.  Property owners most vulnerable to an assessment increase are those who recently purchased a property at a price well above its current assessed value.

On the other hand, many property owners across Allegheny County remain over-assessed.  A proeprty assessment appeal could potentially save hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year in taxes.  Whether you are a property owner poised to challenge a school district appeal or are looking to file your own assessment appeal, contact the Kisner Law Firm today for a free consultation.  March 31st is right around the corner - don't miss out. 

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Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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Fax: 412-235-6704

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