HR Improvisation Mistakes Hurt the Bottom Line in Business and at Work

A (non-HR) colleague of mine reached out to me. “My client, who shall remain nameless, docked an exempt employee an hour of pay for only working 7 of their 8 scheduled hours for the day. By the way, they don’t have a head of HR. Is that right?”

No, on several levels.

  • It’s not legal.  From the U.S. Department of Labor website:  As a general rule, if the exempt employee performs any work during the workweek, he or she must be paid the full salary amount. (
  • It’s a morale-killer.  My colleague confirmed that the exempt employee often works more than 8 hours a day, and is not paid any type of overtime because they’re exempt. Is the negative impact on the employee’s morale really worth that (illegal) docking of one (1) hour?
  • It puts the organization at risk. A disgruntled employee marginalized by the illegal action of the organization will often reach out to a third party, e.g. the Department of Labor, and complain. DOL will take that reach-out as an opportunity to audit the organization, which more often than not will result in monetary fines to the organization. For a smaller business, this bottom-line impact can hurt the business irrevocably.

Human Resources (HR) compliance saves organizations money, which in turn can save organizations. When HR is improvised by individuals in organizations who have no HR training and/or experience, it creates needless risk for both the organization and their employees, especially the potential negative impact on their livelihoods.

How will you effectively plan and implement (not improvise) HR in your organization this week, in business and at work?

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