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Farewell to 2009 and Happy New Year to All

December 2009

HRx Update

In case you have been utilizing my services through Gallagher Benefits Services, formerly Stanton Group and Schwarz Williams Companies, my partnership with them as an independent contractor for their HR hotline, consulting and training services is ending 12/31/09.

This has been a wonderful 13-year relationship and I appreciate the wonderful relationships I’ve developed with both the clients and employees of these organizations.

Of course, my HRx consulting and training business is continuing, as it has since I founded it in 1992. I am pleased to continue to serve your HR questions, consulting, and training needs, as I have in the past.

Please make sure that you update your records with my 952.996.0975 telephone number and my email as

Arlene@ArleneVernon.comor Arlene@HRxcellence.com

2010 Handbook Audit & Rewrite

How long has it been since you updated your employee handbook? If it’s been more than a year, considering all the 2009 legal changes, the time is right to review and update your handbook.

If it’s been longer than 2-3 years, then you’re overdue for a handbook tune-up! For example, there are a lot of changes that we can make to beef up your Rules of Conduct to help you win more unemployment claims or to ensure that you’re protecting yourself regarding employees’ misuse of computers and social media.

As the self-proclaimed “Queen of Handbooks,” I’d be pleased to help you enhance this most important HR tool. Call or email me for more information on how we can cost-effectively make this change for you and your people!

If you’re not
having fun
with your
human resources,
call Arlene today
at 952-996-0975


HR Mastery Groups 2010

If all or part of your job includes HR responsibilities and you’re looking for a wise group of peers to serve as your HR “think tank,” then our HR Mastery Groups are for you! These two-hour monthly meetings are the perfect opportunity to share and resolve your HR issues, brainstorm how to enhance your HR initiatives, programs and practices, as well as share your HR expertise, wisdom and experiences with other HR professionals.

The first half of each meeting is an open discussion of key issues members are experiencing. The second hour is a focused discussion on topics chosen by the members which can include guest speakers, sample sharing and other activities. We start off the year brainstorming topic areas, so I can tailor the monthly topics to member interests and needs.

This year I’m also introducing a new feature of HR Mastery! All members will also receive my HRxpress Hotline services at no cost throughout 2010!

Don’t pass up this wonderful opportunity! Our groups are beginning in February. So call or email me today to explore the benefits of these groups and how you can participate or to request more details and an application.

Copyright (c) 2009 Arlene Vernon, HRx, Inc.

2009 Legal Highlights

This time of year we typically celebrate having made it through another year and then set our sights on what great things we can accomplish in 2010.

2009 was one of the busiest years on record regarding employment law changes. It seems that whenever we turned around, another law was changing! Just in case you missed any of them, I’ve highlighted the key changes below.

Make sure you have updated your handbooks, policies and posters so that you’re current on the following:

  • ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act (15+ employees) – The definitions of what constitutes disability changed substantially
  • FMLA – Family and Medical Leave Act (50+ employees) – There were multiple changes regarding taking leave for military-related absences, clarifying “serious health conditions” and new forms that should make administration easier
  • MN Unemployment – The State made considerable changes to what is and isn’t considered when granting unemployment benefits to former employees
  • EEOC – Add genetic testing to your list of protected classifications
  • INS – Updated I-9 Forms

Also note that this month an extension to the COBRA subsidy was just signed and unemployment benefits have also been extended again. Check the dol.gov website for details.

Although I try to note these legal changes throughout the year in HRxaminer, I highly recommend that you subscribe to several employment law newsletters, many of which are free from employment law firms, to receive these legal updates. I am also a member of SHRM.org, which I highly recommend for state and federal updates as well as the extensive resources in their on-line library.

You don’t have to do HR alone! Whether it’s participating in an HR Mastery Group, tapping into the legal knowledge that abounds, or joining associations who are dedicated to making sure you succeed – there are teams of people available to assist you become a better manager and/or HR pro.

Copyright (c) 2009 Arlene Vernon, HRx, Inc.

About Arlene Vernon

Arlene Vernon, PHR, partners with small businesses as their Human Resource Xpert to create their HR systems and solve their HR problems.

If you have gaps in your HR operation, have an employee problem to solve, or want to enhance your managers’ skills, call Arlene today. Learn
how HRx can save you time and help you avoid costly HR mistakes. HRx, Inc., 574 Prairie Center Drive #135/285, Eden Prairie, MN 55344, 952-996-0975,

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