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Articles by Richard D. Alaniz

Public Unions, the Economy and What's at Stake for Companies Now

It’s a story that’s playing out across the country - cash-strapped governments are scrambling to balance their budgets while hamstrung by the contracts of current and retired public union workers. Without the ability to renegotiate contracts or get concessions from unions, governments are left to increase their tax rates and cut services.
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Check, Please: Using Credit Checks as Part of the Hiring Process

For many employers, running credit checks on job applicants is a regular part of the hiring process. But employers also need to be very careful when they use background credit checks for job applicants. They must weigh their need to know with a person’s right to privacy.
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Diabetes, Epilepsy, and the ADA: Finding the Right Balance in the Workplace

Complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has always required employers to walk a fine line. The guidelines aren’t always clear, every disability and particular situation involve a unique set of factors, and the laws are constantly developing. Many are still trying to sort out the implications of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).
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In 2011, Reviewing Overtime Standards Should Be One of Your Resolutions

For many employers, properly calculating overtime can feel like an unending process. Factoring in break times can be complicated. Employees who may seem exempt from overtime may actually be entitled to it under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unfortunately, miscalculating overtime can be costly for companies in terms of fines and lawsuits.
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When Violence Affects the Workplace, What Liabilities Do Employers Face?

Workplace violence risks are real, and employers face legal liabilities when employees or customers are victims. Employers must understand how they could be vulnerable to a lawsuit after an incident of workplace violence, and what they can do to prevent such incidences.
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A New Route to Allowing Unions Through Card Checks?

The proposed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) was a major concern for employers with workforces that were considering or might consider unionizing because it could bring in a so-called card-check system. EFCA failed to become law, but a recent decision by a regulatory agency could still lead to card check.
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Take a Good Look: Conducting Legal, Meaningful Employee Evaluations

Companies that allow managers to rush through the evaluation process or fail to follow proper protocol expose themselves to legal problems. They also miss the opportunity to offer feedback and help workers set goals, identify areas that need improvement, and determine whether employees deserve raises or promotions.
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To Contest or Not to Contest: The Dilemma Involved in Unemployment Compensation Claims

Former employees occasionally seek unemployment benefits they don’t deserve, either because they are desperate, confused, or trying to cheat the system. Employers, ultimately bearing the cost of unemployment payments, must evaluate whether to challenge those unemployment claims. That question has recently become more difficult.
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The Pluses and Minuses of Charging Employees Deductibles for Preventable Accidents

It’s the bane of many managers’ jobs - the preventable accident. In order to instill a sense of responsibility in employees, employers may consider charging workers a deductible after they have had a preventable accident. However, before instituting a policy about charging deductibles, there are many things to consider.
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Managing Medical Marijuana Use in the Workplace

For employers with operations in the 14 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, it is a difficult task to juggle the need for a drug-free workplace environment and the rights of employees who have prescriptions to legally use marijuana. How does legalized use of marijuana impact drug testing policies?
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2014 SMACNA Annual Convention

Views from the 2014 SMACNA Annual Convention in San Antonio.


NEWSMakers: Chris Mathis

Chris Mathis, president of Mathis Consulting Co. and vice chair of ASHRAE’s residential ad hoc committee, talks about ASHRAE’s exploration into the residential market. Posted on Oct. 17.

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NEWS 10-20-14 cover

2014 October 20

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DOE has denied AHRI’s petition for reconsideration of walk-in standards. Is it getting harder to reach consensus on efficiency standards?
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2015 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

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