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HR 101

Page history last edited by Brandi Jackson 8 years, 9 months ago


HR 101


Ernest Smith and others

October 21, 23, & 28, 2014

9:00am - 11:00am

University Center

Rose Room

6 Course Hours



The HR 101 is a single course offered over a three-day period.  Each day covered different topics relating to Human Resources and was taught by each topics' respective expert.  I have chosen to differentiate the days but incorporate the entire course on one page since it is one course.  I have separated any documents that are attached according to the day the information was presented.  In order to satisfy the requirements of this course and receive a certificate of completion, we were required to pass a series of six quizzes after each class via BlazeView.


Day 1: Employee Relations, FMLA, HIPPA, and Worker's Compensation

Denise Bogart


Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

What is the FMLA? The FMLA is designed to protect employees that need medical leave for themselves or an immediate family member that cannot care for herself.  This course began by discussing the FMLA and the impact this Act has on organizations, in particular for Valdosta State University.  



In order for an employee to be eligible to participate in the FMLA, the employee must a full-time, part-time, or temporary worker the University Systems of Georgia.  The employee needs to have been employed for at least twelve months (not consecutively) total and accumulated at least 1,250 hours during a twelve month period prior to the requested leave.  If the employee has used up all of his FMLA time, the organization needs to look at the previous twelve months prior to the requested leave to ensure the employee has not used up twelve weeks of FMLA leave in the last twelve months.  An employee is covered by the FMLA under one of the following life events:

  • Birth and care of a baby
  • Adoption or foster care placement of a child
  • Serious health condition that hinders employee's performance
  • Serious health condition of child, spouse, or parent that requires employee's presence 
    • In 2008, caregiver leave was added to the FMLA.  This type of leave allows employees to care for the nearest blood relative recovering from an illness or injury for which no other family member can be present while on active duty (military).


Types of Leave 

The FMLA outlines two different types of leave: continuous and intermittent.  Continuous leave requires the employee to be absent from work during the length of recovery.  For example, an employee has open-heart surgery and his doctor recommends that he does not return to work for eight to twelve weeks while recovering.  The employee will not return to work until he is able, thus needing continuous leave.  Intermittent leave is a short term leave (at least an hour) during work hours.  For example, an employee needs to leave for two hours a day over a course of several weeks for blood transfusions.  The employee is not required to be absent from work but needs to have daily blood transfusions for health reasons, thus needing intermittent leave.


Employee Responsibilities

It is the employee's responsibility to notify his employer of a leave request using the FMLA.  If it is possible, the employee is required to give a thirty-day advanced notice for the leave request (i.e., needing heart surgery thirty days from now).  The FMLA form and a certification form both need to be completed and returned back to the supervisor so that he can submit the paperwork to Human Resources.  The employee will receive an approval or denial letter from HR that the employee will submit to the supervisor.  While taking paid leave, it is still the employee's responsibility to pay any insurance premiums to the insurance company.  Those who receive unpaid leave are required to pay the insurance premiums directly to HR.  Once the leave forms are completed, the employee must notify the manager of the expected return to work date.  It is also recommended that the employee notifies the manager close to the return date, as well.


Supervisor Responsibilities

The majority of responsibility falls on the employee but the supervisor does carry some responsibility.  When submitting the employee's FMLA and certification forms, the supervisor needs to make and keep copies of the request in the employee's file.  Also, the supervisor should make a copy of the HR approval letter.  Keeping copies of the forms and approval letters is a form of documentation that will help the supervisor keep track of any requests.  This is also helpful in keeping track of sick leave and annual leave accrual.  When the employee's leave is one week away from running out, the supervisor must notify HR so that HR can inform the employee.  The supervisor works very closely with HR when employees request leave.  When an employee returns to work or submits any changes (i.e., FMLA extension), it is the supervisors responsibility to notify the HR department.


FMLA Facts

  • Family leave is unpaid unless approval is obtained from the supervisor to use any accumulated sick or vacation time.
  • A husband or father can only use annual leave for his child's birth; whereas a wife or mother can use both sick and annual leave for her child's birth. 


Employee Relations

Employee relations refers to the development and creation of an environment that is conducive for your employees to thrive.  What creates a thriving environment?  Job satisfaction is a large contributor to a thriving environment.  The national Society for Human Resource Management (2012) cited communication with senior management and relationship with one's direct supervisor as leading contributors to job satisfaction.  It is also important for supervisors and employees to adapt or align with the organization's culture and climate.  This ensures a goodness of fit with the organization, thus increasing job satisfaction, motivation, and performance.


Supervisors' Needed Skills

  • Strong communication skills
  • Customer service orientation
  • Creative thinkers
  • Team players
  • Competent, optimistic, and have integrity


Roles of The Supervisor 

As a supervisor, one must be prepared to fit into many different roles according to the needs of the employees.  When new employees are welcomed into the organization, the supervisor may have to assume a trainer role, in which the supervisor is responsible for teaching new skills or providing resources to learn new skills.  As your team tackles big goals, the supervisor may need to act as a coach to encourage and motivate employees to keep pushing through to accomplish the goal.  Supervisors can also act as counselors when employees encounter issues with peers or have personal problems affecting their performance.  As a counselor, it is extremely important for supervisors to be well-practiced in their listening skills.   The final role that may be needed of the supervisor is the role of mentor.  A mentor nurtures and guides employees to fulfill any career aspirations.  The mentoring role is unique in that it can encompass the previous three roles.


Reasons Employees Fail

  • Lack of necessary skills
    • Lack of instruction, orientation, training, or feedback
  • Distracted
    • physical or mental restriction, not enough time, or wrong materials
  • No motivation
    • unrecognized accomplishments, burn out, unhappy with manager or job, or poor attitude 



Feedback is an important tool for managers.  It informs employees of their current performance level, what needs to be improved, and addresses concerns for the employees future with the organization.  Without proper feedback, employees will experience an increase in anxiety, a lack of motivation, and a lack of trust in the organization.  In order to ensure proper implementation of a feedback culture, the supervisor must establish performance standard, clarify how performance information will be gathered, and be able to give specific and actionable information about the employee's performance.  Feedback, whether good or bad in nature, needs to be given to the employee in detail.  This gives the employee knowledge of where he stands in the organization and what steps need to be taken to improve his performance before the next appraisal session.


Guidelines for Problem Employees

  • Attitude check: is it positive or negative?
  • Learn how to appropriately listen and respond
  • Give and request frequent feedback
  • Knowledgeable of department policies and procedures
  • Deal with problems directly and discreetly
  • Document
    • Documentation via email should be approached with extreme caution. Be careful not to use email as a reason to vent. 
  • Be consistent
  • Be straightforward and unemotional 

When an employee becomes a problem for the organization, it is the manager's responsibility to address the problem with the employee directly but discreetly.  To have a positive experience when dealing with fragile situations, the manager should set the tone for the meeting.  A positive climate will promote positive reception of feedback.  The manager should be straightforward in identifying the issue instead of skirting around the issue and describe the consequences if the issue continues.  Solutions should be suggested to the employee on how to handle the issue effectively.  If the meeting fails to resolve the issue, then the progressive discipline process ensues.  The next step after informal verbal communication is a counseling letter using the FOSA method.  Documentation of the employee also is important in progressive discipline.  Being able to show evidence of the employee's behaviors, warnings, and performance will greatly benefit the organization and the manager if a lawsuit were to be encountered.



Roses' Flower Shop Video

During this portion of the class, we watched training videos on how to not behave as a manager.  The video covered scenarios in interviewing and employee relations and followed the fresh-out-of-school manager that thought he knew it all.  The interview scenario illustrates the new manager's lack of knowledge of questions to avoid during interviews.  He asked the applicant binding questions and, in a sense, made promises though his questions.  You should never talk about what salary the applicant would be willing to accept or what days would work best for the applicant's schedule.  These questions infer that the applicant may already have the job.  Avoid asking inappropriate questions regarding possible discriminatory factors.  This manager asked the applicant if she was legal to work in the country, if she had a green card, and about her family life.  If the applicant were denied the position, the organization could be facing a discrimination lawsuit.  In regards to employee relations, the manager must take precautions to avoid possible lawsuits.  This portion of the video shows the new manager telling a senior employee that it is commendable for him to come in and work off of the clock for the benefit of the organization.  Non-exempt (hourly) employees cannot be allowed to work off the clock and must receive pay for any work completed during the shift.  Next, the new manager is talking to a unit supervisor about employee performance and questions why the supervisor documents good and poor performance.  The new manager continues by saying that he has an excellent memory and has no need to write down "every little detail."  This will be a huge issue for this manager.  Documentation is extremely important, as we cannot remember every single detail about every employee.  Humans are susceptible to biases (i.e., recency and primacy effects) and will be better served to keep accurate and concise documentation for all employees.  It is crucial to acknowledge employees for outstanding performance, as well as poor performance.


Scenario Handout: Scenario 1

Next, the class was divided up and assigned to address one of two scenarios, finding the best solution.  Our team was assigned Scenario 1:

As a team, we agreed that the new director should review the current policies for effective implementation.  If the policies were not successfully implemented in the past, the new director should enforce the old policies.  Because the director is new to the organization and does not know if the policies were enforced correctly, he should not make an example of the three problem employees.  The new director should give them a clean slate, enforce the current policies, and clarify disciplinary actions for not adhering to the policies.  With the employees being exonerated, the new director should reevaluate the current policies and start over with progressive discipline if the employees behave poorly again.  As a team, we decided that both manager and employees need to be subjected to annual performance appraisals in order to review their performance levels and identify areas in need of improvement.


Final Thoughts

This course was very informative in regards to how managers should behave and what responsibilities are entailed by both supervisors and employees with the FMLA.  The information that I have learned from my program of study coincided what was taught in this course, allowing me to draw conclusions and think about the situations presented as an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist.

Notes, Handouts, and Certificates (Day 1)

Employee Relations for review.pdf                                   Employee Relations Questions.pdf

Scenario 1-2.pdf                                                             Supervior's Role (Checklist).pdf

12 Ways You Can Help Prevent FMLA Abuse.pdf              HR 101 Day 1 Notes.pdf  

HIPPA Statement.pdf


Day 2: Hiring and FSLA

Sherri Adams

Rosezella Ward

Earnest Smith


Student Employment

Student employees are students currently enrolled in a university that work part-time in any University departments.  Students may work as secretaries, technicians, maintenance, paraprofessionals, or other instructional or administrative duties as related to the University.  Student employees are still employees and are protected by the HR department and are expected to adhere to the same guidelines as full-time faculty and staff.  In order to retain a student assistant position, the student must (for Valdosta State University):

  • Be admitted to VSU
  • Attending 6 or more credit hours
  • Receive a cumulative GPA of 2.0


The Hiring Process


In order for a department to hire a student employee, certain steps need to be followed per University guidelines.  The first step is to confirm the budget.  A Position Funding Request form must be submitted to the budget office.  These forms should be submitted to the budget office at the beginning of each year in order to list all positions in your department and outline your available funding.  Once the budget has been approved, the department is responsible for posting the position.  All open, on-campus student positions must be posted on PeopleAdmin, which is a digital database for posting positions and reviewing applicants' resumes and statements of purpose.  

The third step in hiring student employees is to complete all of the paperwork.  The department must send the potential student employee to retrieve payroll information and forms for the interested department.  The department must then complete the "Hiring Department" section in these forms and return them to the Student Employment Office within three days of the hire date.  When the student completes his portion of the paperwork, the Student Employment Office will review and estimate the paperwork to be completed within ten business days.  After the payroll process is entered into ADP, the student and supervisor will receive a confirmation email.  ADP is responsible for tracking student employee hours and estimating pay.



Graduate student workers follow the same guidelines except their positions are listed in the Grad Assistant On Line Application and all forms are submitted to the Student Employment Office by the Graduate School. Also, graduate assistants' timecards are listed in a monthly format as opposed to the biweekly format of student assistants.


Supervisor Responsibilities

  • Provides job description; including purpose, duties and responsibilities, and the name of the supervisor
  • Allocates job assignments
  • Certifies and approves e-time through documentation of hours worked online
  • Coordinates work schedule for both student and supervisor 



  • Student and graduate assistants are not allowed to work over twenty cumulative hours per week (in all jobs).
  • Students are only allowed to have two on-campus positions.
  • Student and graduate assistants who have a secondary position must clock-in at least once per pay period in order to appear on the secondary supervisor's list.
  •  As of May 1, 2014, students are no longer allowed to work over 1300 hours annually in all jobs combined, and all hours must be logged into the eTime application for tracking purposes. 


Staff and Administrative Hiring Process 

The staff and administration hiring process is very similar to the student hiring process.  The position must be approved through and posted on PeopleAdmin before beginning the hiring process.  Once job applicants submit resumes and statements of purpose, the applications that are qualified for the position are reviewed by the hiring manager.  The hiring manager sets up pre-interview preparation and recruiting then begins the interview, reference, and selection process.  Those applicant selected for the position are subjected to background checks before scheduling can be done.  When the background checks come back clear, the department develops schedules for the new hire.  Search committees are considered best practice for ensuring no biases are seen in the hiring process. Each search committee should contain at least three people in order to be effective.  Search committees should always be used when filing positions with titles Assistant Director and above.


Interviewing Practices

  • Use a structured format so that all applicants are asked the same questions.
  • Have multiple interviewers
  • Establish an objective evaluation process up front
  • Ask appropriate, job-related questions and refer back to the job description
  • If testing is used, be sure to administer to all candidates
    • Only test for skills essential to the job function
    • All applicants must be tested and receive identical tests
    • Tests must be fair representations of the type of work the applicant would encounter in the position 
  • Use behaviorally-based questions 


Hiring Decision and Background Check

When making the final decision on a candidate, the search committee makes judgments based on merit and eligibility through looking at qualifications and content of application, the performance at the interview, and the results of any selection tests.  Upon selection, the candidate must submit to a background check in order to receive employment.  If the applicant has any questions, they can be referred to the Human Resources and Employee Development office.  If a report is returned with inaccurate information, the applicant is allowed seven calendar days to initiate corrective action.


Disqualification of Applicants

Applicants can be disqualified from candidacy for the following reasons without risk of litigation if properly executed:

  • Addiction to illegal drugs or alcohol
  • Discovery of false statement or omission of facts from formal application
  • Applicant was a member of an organization advocating for the overthrow of the government of the United States
  • Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, unless pardon has been granted 
  • Conviction of felony, unless first tie offenders status was granted by the court
    • It is important to take into account the type of felony offense in relation to the applied position 


Legal Issues

Discrimination lawsuits are sticky situations that can be avoided easily.  Remember, the United States protects certain classes of people from discrimination (i.e., race, color, ethnic identification, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, and veterans).  However, there is a loophole: the bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).  The BFOQ is a character trait that is essential to the job being applied for: for example, a female lingerie model.  When writing up a job description for a BFOQ position, it is important to clearly define what you are searching for and why it is essential to the job.


Questions To Avoid In The Interview

To avoid any legal ramifications, avoid asking questions in regards to the following:

  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Disabilities
  • Religious questions (regardless if applicant mentions something about religion)
  • Questions about children
  • Applicant owns a vehicle
  • Applicant has an arrest record
  • Where applicant was born
  • Nationality, even if curious about a surname, etc.

We were provided with a handout with guidelines on lawful versus unlawful interviews. 


FLSA, Classification, & Compensation Policies

Fair Labor Standards Act

All organizations must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to ensure fair treatment of all classification of employees.  The FLSA establishes the minimum wage standard, overtime compensation, record keeping, and child labor standards for full-time and part-time workers at the private sector and Federal, State, and local governments.  There are a few exceptions that are not covered under the FLSA:

  • Executive employees
  • Administrative employees
  • Professional employees
  • Outside sales employees
  • Computer employees 


Internships and FLSA 

Internships are not covered under the FLSA because it is not considered employment.  Internships are more closely related to learning through experience and can therefore not be classified as a job.  In order to meet the criteria, internships need to meet the following criteria:

  • Training is similar to what would be learned in a vocational school or similar
  • Training is for the sole benefit of the trainees/students
  • Students do not displace regular employees and work under their close observation
  • Employer reaps no immediate advantage from students' activities and may impede operations occasionally for training
  • Students are not entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period
  • Both the employer and the students understand that the students are not and will not receive wages for the time spent in training


Classification and Compensation

When discussing the FLSA, we talked about exempt and non-exempt employees.  An exempt employee is an employee who is not eligible for overtime pay based on the job description.  A non-exempt employee is an employee who is eligible for overtime pay and employers are required to pay that overtime per the job description.   When calculating overtime pay, the employee is required to receive one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for each hour that exceeds a forty hour workweek.  Workweeks cannot be averaged to avoid paying the employee overtime.  Each job position is classified based on overall duties, complexity, and responsibility.  Each classification needs the appropriate amount of compensation, which includes all forms of payment going to employees, arising from employment and is based on pay grade level within each classification.  Job classifications and compensations can change from time to time.  There are four categories under which classifications and compositions can change:

  1.  Initial appointments
    1. Position change requests should be submitted in PeopleAdmin and must be approved in Position Management prior to posting
  2.  Reclassifications: two types
    1.  Requests by department:occurs when a significant or permanent change in job duties
    2.  Requests by HR: possible reclassification of all individuals within a job title, usually when a classification audit is performed 
  3.  Reorganizations: similar to reclassification except reorganizing the whole department
  4.  Pay increases 
    1.  Merit (percentage based on performance) and Cost of Living (set figure for all classifications)
    2.  Promotions (existing position with higher pay, added responsibility with higher pay, or new position added with hire pay)
    3.  Acting/Interim assignments (temporary pay increase when adding responsibilities for a period of time)
    4.  Additional pay adjustments (based on completion of specialized training, addition of responsibilities with no reclassification, or superior performance)


Final Thoughts

Overall, this course covered employment and laws that protect student and full-time workers.  I found the lecture about the FLSA, classification, and compensation particularly interesting because I was not aware of everything entailed with the labor and cost side of employment. 


Notes, Handouts, and Certificates (Day 2)

HR101 - Student Employment.pdf                                  Guidelines for Interviews.pdf          

Hiring Process Revised 2014.pdf                                    FLSA Comp Class FINAL.ppt


Day 3: Safety and Budget

Jan Fackler

Meredith Lancaster


Workplace Safety

Safety in the workplace is important for employees and supervisors.  Safety decreases the amount of turnover and makes employees feel like a meaningful part of the organization.  The entire team plays a crucial role in maintaining safety standards.  The supervisor has two main goals for workplace safety:

  • Ensure safety and hazards are top priority
  • Regulations are followed and is common knowledge throughout the organization

Supervisors are the first line of defense for employees because it is the supervisor's job to create a healthy, safe environment for his employees.  Workplace safety should protect everyone employed with the organization.  Student workers, whether paid or unpaid, are included in safety training programs.  Safety training includes multiple facets of safety, depending on the nature of the position.  Things covered in safety training include safety, health, and welfare of employees.


Safety Factors

A safe work environment begins with the recognition and elimination of workplace hazards.  A few important factors should be included in safety training and preparation:

  • Lockout procedures/evacuation plans
  • Blood-borne pathogen training 
  • Demonstration by supervisors on the importance of workplace safety
  • Appropriate procedures to follow in real-life situations/critical incidents

As discussed earlier, safety is a group effort because it affects everyone.  Each person in the organization should take the responsibility to think before acting and work with the correct equipment.  When employees feel that they are working in a safe environment, safety can improve morale and productivity while reducing lost work hours due to accidents and turnover.  Each department should have a unique safety training program because each department possesses their own types of unique hazards (i.e., Chemistry teacher versus an English teacher).


Employee Rights To Safety

Every employee has the right to work in a safe environment, free from threat.  Employees should be able to access information regarding safety procedures for the particular job position.  If the employee feels endangered at any point, the employee has the right to refuse to work.  Also, employees should take care to report any job-related injuries, illnesses, or hazards to the supervisor.  The Georgia Right to know refers to each employee having full disclosure of any items or responsibilities tat can be found in your workplace.  All employees need to be aware that we are all equally responsible for our own personal safety and the safety of others.  However, it is the supervisors responsibility to make this information accessible.  



I have included a few tips to "know the hazards" of one's department.

  • Keeping the floor clear of obstructions
  • Safe lifting techniques
  • Chemical safety
  • Protective equipment and gear
  • Recognizing the potential of electricity to be lethal
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS): having the information available
  • Encourage employees to work smart to avoid injury



Budgeting may not be the most enjoyable thing within the organization but it is certainly necessary.  The budget is a small part of a much bigger cycle.  The budgeting manager is responsible for respecting people and protecting the assets.  Budget managers will usually lobby for the best contracts in order to be able to allocate the funds needed by the departments overseen by that budget manager. 



This part of the budget contains forty-six digits and determines how departments will spend their money.  This also determines if certain expenditures are required by the program or class.  Essentially, this system tracks every penny on which the budget spends.  



Departmental spending can vary from items needed fro class to personal services (usually for travel).  When calculating the budget for personal services, the budgeting manager bases the amount on the funding within the original budget.  However, sometimes an amendment needs to be implemented to reorganize budget spending.  For non-personal services related to travel, the organization will allot a certain amount of pay for non-personal reasons but this is calculated before the trip, meaning the employee has to make the cognitive decision to not exceed that budget.  


Final Thoughts

The HR 101 course is a very informative course.  There is such a large amount of literature and information that this course needed to be divided over a three-day span.  The talk about workplace safety coincided with what I was learning in my academic classes.  I was able to view these issues through the eyes of a person in HR.  I would highly recommend these courses to others interested in professional development of the self. 


Notes, Handouts, and Certificates (Day 3)

HR 101 Day 3 PowerPoint.pdf                                        HR 101 Day 3 Notes 10:28:14.pdf

HR 101 Day 3 Budget.pdf                                              HR 101 Certificate.pdf



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