Determining Credibility During a Harassment Investigation

Issues like harassment in the workplace can be very uncomfortable, nerve-racking, and even a bit unsettling for company owners, managers, and employees themselves whenever they come to light in any office. While QBS always recommends having a harassment policy in place, unfortunately, this doesn’t always mean that it won’t or can’t happen at your office.

But remember, if you find yourself faced with a harassment claim, QBS is here to help.

Below you will find information on how to determine credibility during a harassment investigation.

SCENARIO:

We suspect that one of our employees harassed another, but we only have their conflicting stories to go on—no witnesses, video, or emails. The accuser’s account of the incident seems much more credible than that of the accused. Can we discipline with only this information?

ANSWER FROM MONICA, SPHR, SHRM-CP:

Probably. It would be a good idea to consider whether your investigation was thorough. If it was, and all you have to go on is the testimony of the accuser and the accused, then you should take their credibility into consideration and make a determination based on their respective accounts.

Here are some factors to consider when determining credibility:

  • Each employee’s reputation for truthfulness and accuracy
  • If the story each employee presents is plausible
  • Whether one of the employees has a motive to be untruthful
  • Whether one employee’s statements regarding the incident are more detailed and consistent

 

While disciplining an accused employee who did nothing wrong would be unfortunate, it wouldn’t be illegal. As in all cases of alleged harassment, it’s best to have documentation of the allegations, the steps of your investigation, your conclusions, and any disciplinary actions you took.

ABOUT MONICA: Monica has held roles as an HR Generalist and Payroll and Benefits manager at a large ski resort, providing HR guidance to more than 500 employees. She also has HR experience in the healthcare field and the non-profit world. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Linfield College.

The above is part of our QBS HR Snapshot emails that are sent periodically to clients who utilize our HR Support Center. These provide a “real-time” look at trending HR topics.  For more information on how you can gain access, contact us today!

 

NOTICE TO EMPLOYERS: The ACA Employer Mandate is Still in Effect

NOTICE TO EMPLOYERS: The ACA Employer Mandate is still in effect.

Although the Affordable Care Ace (ACA) Individual Mandate was effectively repealed as of January 1, 2019, employer obligations remain unchanged and in full force in 2019.

Under the Employer Mandate, US employers with 50 or more full-time employees are required to offer full-time workers compliant health coverage. If employers are found outside of compliance, they risk paying a penalty.

In addition to providing coverage, ACA requires employers provide proof that they have offered these full-time employees adequate coverage. This means employers must provide eligible full-time employee a form 1095-C by January 31, 2020 and provide the IRS with copies of these 1095-Cs along with a 1094-C.

What happens if you fail to comply? There are penalties and the financial implications are significant. If you fail to offer coverage, the penalty is $2,500 annually per full-time employee (minus the first 30 FTEs). If you provide a plan that doesn’t meet ACA standards, that penalty has also increased in 2019 to $3,750 (if they obtained a subsidy on an exchange). Click here for more information on penalties. 

THE GOOD NEWS: QBS Benefits has a solution. 

We can meet your needs and minimize your exposure. Group plans can be built with as few as two employees and benefit plans can be employer or employee paid.

Our solutions include:

  • Major Medical Benefit plans
  • Minimum Essential Benefit Plans and Expanded plans
  • Telemedicine
  • Limited Medical Plans
  • Dental and Vision Coverage
  • Accident Plans
  • Short- and Long-Term Disability Plans
  • Group Life Medical Plans
  • Individual Life plans
  • Variable, whole, universal or term life plans
  • Hospital Confinement Insurance
  • Critical Illness Plans
  • Cancer Insurance

 

No matter your specific needs, QBS can help. Contact Bob Gajoch 864-660-6947 or regajoch@qualitybsolutions.net TODAY to develop your individualized program.

Click here to download a PDF

 

QBS Sponsors 11th Annual JVC Run2Overcome

Quality Business Solutions will once again be a Silver Sponsor for this year’s Julie Valentine Center Annual Run2Overcome. Having a long-standing tradition of supporting the local community, specifically children, QBS sponsorship will support the run’s Children’s Area (next to the Julie Valentine Memorial in Cleveland Park).

We hope you will join QBS founder and SC Lt. Governor Pamela Evette, QBS president David Evette, other QBS employees and friends for this year’s event Saturday, October 3rd! 

A fun picture of last year’s QBS runners at the 10th Annual Run2Overcome

Earlier this year, QBS also sponsored the Julie Valentine Center Luncheon. If you are not familiar with JVC, it is a nonprofit organization that provides free, confidential services to sexual assault and child abuse survivors and their families. As a community organization, JVC depends on the community to provide these services to the neighbors in our community.

Below is an excerpt of the story behind this organization and this event: 

One Sunday morning, June 8, 2008, a 19 year old woman was jogging in and around her neighborhood, just like most mornings. An unknown man sprang from the bushes, knocking this young jogger down an embankment. She fought back, but she was no match for her assailant. He sexually assaulted and severely beat her. This young woman required much more than The State Office of Victim’s Assistance (SOVA) could provide; her community sprang to action, organizing a charity 5k to help with her mounting expenses.

It is now 2018 and her external wounds have healed. She no longer needs the financial help that her community stepped up to offer, but unfortunately there are others that do. The former 5k has evolved into a certified 5k and 10k and now benefits the Julie Valentine Center, so that they are able to assist others who have experienced sexual assault.Imagine yourself in the shoes of an innocent child who is being abused. Imagine the confusion and anger you feel. Imagine wondering if your home is safe. Imagine thinking there’s nowhere left to turn, and then you discover a place that can help.

Now imagine you are not alone. As an abused child, spouse or sexual assault victim, you meet others just like you who overcame the unspeakable things that happened. That’s exactly why the Julie Valentine Center is here, to help people in your shoes. The inspiration for the team at Julie Valentine Center comes from an infant who was found deceased in a wooded area in Greenville on a cold February day in 1990. The police, so touched by the tragedy, named her Julie Valentine.

Adopted by the community, her legacy has become a symbol of hope for those who have survived rape or child abuse.

To learn more about this event, volunteer, sponsor or participate, visit: http://www.run2overcome.org

QBS Sponsors “Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails” at the Upcountry History Museum

Quality Business Solutions is proud to announce its participation as a Contributing Sponsor for the current Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails exhibit at the Upcountry History Museum.

Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails is an interactive, bi-lingual (English and Spanish) exhibition featuring the favorite engines, characters, and destinations of this beloved children’s classic, that has been delighting Upstate fans, families and children since making its stop at the Upcountry History Museum beginning May 25. The exhibit will be on display through September 8, 2019. Find out more at: http://www.upcountryhistory.org/exhibitions-events/changing-exhibits/

QBS plans to not only sponsor the exhibit, but will be participating during the upcoming Upcountry History Museum’s Neighborhood Night on Thursday, September 5, from 5:30pm-8:30pm.

  • QBS Founder & SC Lt. Governor Pamela Evette Hosts Storytime during 9/5/19 Neighborhood Night: This is a monthly series designed to promote the role of the museum as a community anchor by providing learning opportunities for Greenville County low-income households. Free admission and extended hours ensure that financially disadvantaged and working families have access to the Museum and its programs. During September’s Neighborhood Night, QBS founder Pamela Evette will give remarks and read a book to local children during the 6:30 PM Storytime.

 

Even if you can’t make it for story time, don’t miss the final Thomas & Friends Family Fun Day – Saturday, August 31, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. This is a monthly series designed for the whole family to come out and enjoy the museum’s changing exhibits.

About QBS Community Investment: QBS leadership and employees give both time and financial support to multiple charities including St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Loaves & Fishes, American Red Cross, United Way, The Meyer Center, Pendleton Place, Fostering Great Ideas, Family Footprint, Greenville Humane Society, American Heart Association, St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Greenville’s Center for Developmental Services, the Julie Valentine Center and more. Pamela Evette sits on the St. Francis Foundation Board of Directors and the NAPEO Board of Directors. QBS president David Evette is a member of the St. Francis Forum Advisory Board.

The Advantages of Skill-Based Training

In any organization, no matter how qualified the job candidate or employee, he or she will require some additional training. And while on-the-job training is important for completing individual job functions, by combining this with skill-based training, you can enhance overall effectiveness, job satisfaction, engagement and retention.

First, let’s define these two types of training: 

On-the-job Training: Many times when employers and leaders hear about “on-the-job training,” it pertains either to general knowledge or to policies and procedures that are unique to the company.

Skill-based Training: This type of training is somewhat different—it focuses on how to do something specific and results in a learned skill that can be put to immediate use.

Here are some examples of skill-based trainings:

  • Mastering advanced welding techniques
  • Setting up and using Excel pivot tables
  • Keeping your cool during a hostile phone conversation
  • Writing concise emails
  • Coding in Ruby

Skill-based training is beneficial for most companies. And since good courses are often an investment, HR professionals should focus on where they can maximize value.

Two types of employees come to mind as the best candidates: 1. Those who want to succeed but are struggling to meet expectations; and 2. Top performers who you feel may be a flight risk.

For the strugglers, you must first find out what they need to learn to reach their potential. Are they spending way too much time trying to figure out Excel on their own? Are they a new manager that doesn’t know how to coach? Giving these people access to skill-based training could make a huge difference in both their efficiency and happiness—as well as your bottom line.

The high achievers, on the other hand, should be asked what they want to learn. It’s likely they’ve already thought about next steps at your organization and in what new ways they could contribute. Give them a chance to shine! Your investment in their future won’t go unnoticed; employees who receive training are more likely to be engaged and less likely to leave.

Want access to more articles like the one above? This and many others can be found via the QBS HR Support Center. For more information on how you can gain access, contact us today info@qualitybsolutions.net!

 

QBS Department Spotlight: 2019 Operations Team

Over the past few months we’ve been introducing you to different QBS departments, we’re getting to the end of our list, but we’re not quite finished! This month, meet the QBS Operations Team. 

The QBS Operations Team is responsible for bringing on and setting up all of our client service platforms including time & attendance, onboarding, performance review, benefit enrollment, custom-report writing and more. This team provides both the technical set up and training as well as any necessary support from troubleshooting to tweaking services to meet the clients individual needs.

Inside of our Operations Team, we have a set of specialized individuals who are dedicated to the QBS Onboarding Platform. This platform makes it easy and secure to capture employee demographic information, federal, state and local tax filing forms. With a complete set of digital online forms combined with electronic signature functionality, new hires can get started fast with complete, accurate records and data, allowing our clients to replace the paper-heavy new hire information packet with a seamless, customized web-based system that alleviates the risk for error due to miskeying, etc.

Overall, the Operations Team is responsible for ensuring all QBS services chosen by the client have been properly customized, are integrated, and are functioning smoothly.

Stay tuned as we continue to share more about other team members, various departments, and all that we do for our clients.

 

ADA: Providing Clarification for Employers on Interactive Process

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to reasonably accommodate the disabilities of their employees and to engage in an interactive process when a request for accommodation is made. So what exactly is the interactive process?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) describes it this way: the employee and the employer “communicate with each other about the request, the precise nature of the problem that is generating the request, how a disability is prompting a need for an accommodation, and alternative accommodations that may be effective in meeting an individual’s needs.”

The employer’s part in this process entails some specific steps. When you go through the interactive process with an employee, we recommend you do each of the following:

  1. Analyze the specific job position involved to determine its essential job functions. These are the tasks of the job that must be done by whoever holds the position. A chef must be able to cook. An editor must be able to proofread, correct, and revise text. The essential job functions are used to determine whether an accommodation can be made. If an employee cannot do one or more of the essential job functions, even with accommodation, then the employer is not required to make an accommodation.
  2. Request medical information and supporting documentation as needed and as appropriate. You don’t need to take the employee’s word that they have a disability or that an accommodation is needed. However, be careful not to request or require more than is reasonable. For instance, a note from a licensed physician that says an employee suffers from anxiety and may need additional break time to implement coping mechanisms should be sufficient. You should not request the details of his diagnosis, past mental health history, exactly what those coping mechanisms might be, etc.
  3. Talk with the employee about the challenges they have in the workplace and the way these challenges may affect their work performance. This conversation will help you determine what specific solutions might work for the employee.
  4. Explore with the employee a range of potential reasonable accommodations to help minimize or remove the identified challenges.
  5. Assess the effectiveness of each agreed-upon reasonable accommodation. The accommodations you set up today might not always work well for the employee or the company. It’s okay to reassess later whether an accommodation remains reasonable given changed circumstances. Keep in mind that not every accommodation suggested may be reasonable; employers do not have to provide accommodations that would create an undue hardship for them. However, “undue hardship” is a high bar to meet and should not be relied upon in most circumstances.
  6. Communicate regularly with the employee throughout the process and once accommodations are in place. Regular communication demonstrates good faith on your part and shows the employee you take their challenges and concerns seriously. Document these conversations.

As you can see, the interactive process is simply an ongoing conversation with an employee who has requested a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Together, you and the employee look at what can be done to accommodate them so the essential functions of the job get done, and you keep the lines of communication open to ensure maximum productivity going forward.

For more information and facts on the Americans with Disabilities Act, please visit the EEOC website.

This and many other informative articles and resources can be found via the QBS HR Support Center for QBS clients who utilize our HR services. For more information on how you can gain access, contact us today!

 

Payroll/HR Service Firm, Quality Business Solutions, Honored for 3rd Consecutive Year as One of the 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies

Pamela Evette / Quality Business Solutions, Inc. Honored at 12th Annual Awards Ceremony in Charlotte, NC

JoAnne Laffey Abed
Bright+Co for QBS
joanne@brightcomarketers.com
773-308-5519

Travelers Rest, S.C. (May 29, 2019) – The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) has announced the 12th annual ranking of the 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies™. Winners were announced during the WPO Annual Conference, held this year in Charlotte, NC. The companies featured on this year’s list span a wide variety of industries, including technology and finance, emerging sectors for women. Aggregate revenues of the 50 companies are $5.9 billion, representing a significant impact towards women-led companies’ contribution towards the global economy.

Pamela Evette, Founder and former CEO, Quality Business Solutions, Inc. based in Travelers Rest, S.C., ranked ninth among this year’s WPO 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies list. Evette was inaugurated as the Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina in January.

All eligible companies were ranked according to a sales growth formula, combining percentage and absolute growth. To qualify for the ranking, businesses are required to be privately held, woman-owned/led companies and have reached annual revenues of at least $500,000 as of 2013 and every subsequent year. Applicants are not required to be WPO members.

“I started QBS at my kitchen table nearly 20 years ago, shaping, molding and growing the company into one of the country’s fastest-growing and most well-respected companies by emphasizing hard work and value-added service” said Quality Business Solutions founder and former chief executive officer Pamela Evette.  “While I don’t think my story is unique to female entrepreneurs, it is certainly indictive of the fact that women truly can do anything they set their minds to – whether it be running a multi-billion-dollar company or leading a state. My esteemed fellow honorees and I stand on the shoulders of those who came before us and are dedicated to blazing a clearer path for those who follow.”

Additional facts about the 2019 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Businesses:

  • Average age of women-owner/leader is 50, younger than the average age of 51 last year
  • Aggregate revenue is $5.9 billion
  • Average 2018 revenue was $117.1 million
  • Average number of employees on first day: 9; projected average for 2019: 492
  • Funding sources at company start: 78% with their own funds; 22% with funds from friends and family; 6% with a bank loan; 6% with a line of credit; 4% with a credit card; 8% with private investors/angels

 

“I am delighted that this year our rankings show that women entrepreneurs are branching out into every sector of business,” said WPO President and Founder Dr. Marsha Firestone. “We are also very encouraged that companies of all sizes, such as Quality Business Solutions are represented. Some smaller but very successful companies demonstrated significant growth this year.”

All 50 companies were honored at a special event at the 2019 WPO Annual Conference at the Westin Charlotte earlier this month. Following the luncheon and awards ceremony, WPO hosted a “Guide to Growth” discussion featuring a selection of 50 Fastest winners sharing advice for established entrepreneurs working to increase businesses.

This is the latest in a long list of business honors for QBS, which was started in a home office in 2000 and has grown to a more than $1 billion enterprise. Noted for its deep HR expertise, superior customer service and ethical business practices, QBS has earned a coveted spot on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies. QBS has also been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina, among other accolades.  Founder Pamela Evette has been honored as a leading female entrepreneur and change agent.  Evette stepped back from her role as CEO in March 2019, shortly after she began serving as the lieutenant governor of the State of South Carolina.

About QBS
Founded in 2000, Quality Business Solutions, Inc. (QBS) offers a wide and comprehensive range of integrated PEO/ASO services, including payroll administration, unemployment management, insurance, benefit administration, human resources, workers’ compensation and tax reporting, that can be tailored to meet each company’s individual needs. The company employs a team of experts familiar with the most innovative and advanced business processes and strategies in these areas, providing a cost-effective outsourced solution for non-core business functions. From insight to implementation, QBS is focused on taking the burden of this type of work away from its clients, allowing them to focus on what’s most important to their business and creating long-term, cost-conscious and turnkey solutions that improve productivity, minimize risk and drive value. For more information, visit www.qualitybsolutions.net.

About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation is headquartered in McLean, Virginia. Its subsidiaries, Capital One, N.A. and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. We apply the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. We recognize that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families – benefits us all and we are proud to support this and other community initiatives.

About The Women Presidents’ Organization
The WPO is the premier peer advisory organization connecting women who own multi-million-dollar companies.  In monthly meetings across six continents, chapters of 20 women presidents from diverse industries invest time and energy in themselves and their businesses to drive their corporations to the next level. Local WPO chapters are coordinated by a professional facilitator and meet monthly to share business expertise and experience in a confidential setting. For more information, contact 212-688-4114 or visit www.womenpresidentsorg.com. Follow the WPO on Twitter @womenpresidentsand Facebook @TheWPO.

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Click here for PDF of release: Quality Business Solutions/Pamela Evette 2019 WPO 50 Fastest Press Release

QBS Department Spotlight: 2019 Payroll Team

Summer is almost here, so we’ll add some sunshine by continuing to introduce you to our different department teams. This month, meet the QBS Payroll Team.

The Payroll Team at QBS effectively and efficiently manages all of our clients’ payroll processes. We provide an integrated payroll solution in order to remove the burden of payroll administration from the plates of managers and company owners, allowing them to focus time and resources on leading and growing their business. Additionally, our single-sign on, fully-integrated web-based system provides our clients and their employees with visibility into relevant payroll information so that they can view reports, print W-2’s and view pay stubs in one place and at any time.

On a day-to-day basis, our payroll team processes payroll for clients who have employees in 49 states across the U.S. We do this via ACH as frequently as possible, but for those employees who are new or who cannot receive a direct deposit, we cut physical checks or offer pay cards to facilitate quick and timely payment of wages.

Additionally, we assist with employee onboarding,  handle payroll inquiries, prepare client management reports, maintain deduction records, compute tax liabilities and remit deposits, audit unemployment claims, collect and remit garnishments, report employee data, sick days and vacation days and make Labor Board appearances.

Each client has a dedicated Payroll Administrator which allows our team to have in-depth knowledge of the client and their business needs. Because of our relationship-based approach, the payroll team often acts as the “face” of QBS, assisting clients with issues that cross departments and recommending additional services based on the clients’ business needs.

Stay tuned as we continue to share more about other team members, various departments, and all that we do for our clients. 

 

Payroll/HR Service Firm, Quality Business Solutions, Honored with 2019 South Carolina Top Workplaces Award

JoAnne Laffey Abed
Bright+Co for QBS
joanne@brightcomarketers.com
773-308-5519

Travelers Rest, S.C. (May 8, 2019)– Quality Business Solutions, Inc. (QBS) has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2019 honor by Integrated Media Publishing. Inclusion in this prestigious group is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC, a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures employee opinions and perceptions on several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution and connection.

“At QBS, we know that our incredible growth and success and that of our clients is dependent on our most important resource and differentiator: our people,” said David Evette, President, Quality Business Solutions. “This honor is evidence of our commitment to them and the work we do every day to ensure that the employees who have put their time and hearts into our company know that they are valued and appreciated.”

According to Energage, top workplaces are distinguished among peer organizations in attracting better talent, experiencing lower turnover and being better equipped to deliver on bottom-line results.

“The fact that QBS is consistently ranked as a top employer and one of the best places to work in South Carolina is no accident,” said Quality Business Solutions founder and former chief executive officer Pamela Evette.  “It is the result of our deep personal relationships, dedication to our employees and intentional focus on fostering and environment that allows them to grow and thrive while helping our clients to do the same.  This is especially important in an HR services firm like ours, because it allows us to demonstrate impactful HR models and live out our mission.”

This is the latest in a long list of business honors for QBS, which was started in a home office in 2000 and has grown to a more than $1 billion enterprise. Noted for its deep HR expertise, superior customer service and ethical business practices, QBS has earned a coveted spot on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing privately-held companies and has been named one of Women Presidents’ Organization’s 50 Fastest Women Owned/Led companies the past three years in a row.  QBS has also been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in South Carolina, among other accolades.  Founder Pamela Evette has been honored as a leading female entrepreneur and change agent.  Evette stepped back from her role as CEO in March 2019, shortly after she began serving as the lieutenant governor of the State of South Carolina.

About QBS
Founded in 2000, Quality Business Solutions, Inc. (QBS) offers a wide and comprehensive range of integrated PEO/ASO services, including payroll administration, unemployment management, insurance, benefit administration, human resources, workers’ compensation and tax reporting, that can be tailored to meet each company’s individual needs. The company employs a team of experts familiar with the most innovative and advanced business processes and strategies in these areas, providing a cost-effective outsourced solution for non-core business functions. From insight to implementation, QBS is focused on taking the burden of this type of work away from its clients, allowing them to focus on what’s most important to their business and creating long-term, cost-conscious and turnkey solutions that improve productivity, minimize risk and drive value. For more information, visit www.qualitybsolutions.net.

About Energage, LLC
Headquartered in Exton, Pa., Energage is a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools that help leaders to unlock potential, inspire performance, and achieve amazing results within their organizations. The research partner behind the Top Workplaces program, Energage has surveyed more than 57,000 organizations representing well over 19 million employees in the United States.

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