4 HR Stories to Spook Your Company Back to Life

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Halloween might be over. But the Ghost of Human Resources Past is back and haunting the hallways of your workplace—just in time for the holiday season. With the year slowly coming to a close, you might be getting increasingly lax about running a compliant human resources department. But did you know that 10% to 30% of employers misclassify their employees? And this is according to a conservative estimate by U.S. Department of Labor. Knowing classifications like exempt and nonexempt can make or break your HR department. Noncompliance penalties can include everything from back payroll taxes to a mountain of paperwork (along with unnecessary headache and stress). That’s definitely something you don’t want to deal with as you ring in the new year—or ever.

With so much to lose, it’s good to be reminded of the importance of complying with the law. We hope these cringe-worthy human resources stories will spook your department back to life so you’ll start being extra vigilant, especially about hiring the right kind of people. As with any story, there are two sides of the coin. And in this case, we have the employee and employer—both sides we can learn from. Let’s take a closer look at these stories that we hope will never happen to you:

Employer Stories:

1. Make Sure Your Candidate Can Do The Job
During a phone interview, a recruiter asked a series of standard questions but was met with a lot of hesitation and silence. After a while, the recruiter realized what was going on and overheard the applicant’s mother helping with the questions. When the interviewer confronted him about it, the applicant quickly became flustered and hung up the phone.

2. Make Sure Your Candidate Has All the Basic Skills
When a new salesperson was asked to fill out an Employment Application, he said he’d complete it and return it the next day. Nothing on his application raised any red flags. On his first day of work, his supervisor asked him to read a short script for all his sales calls. Instead of reading the script, he would answer all his phone calls with, “Who’s this?” It turns out that he didn’t know how to read and his girlfriend had filled out the application for him.

Employee Stories:

1. Make Sure You Do an Accurate Background Check
Imagine walking into your first day of work, being handcuffed, and then taken to jail. That’s exactly what happened to a recent law school graduate in San Diego, who turned out to be a victim of identity theft. Her (false) Background Check, apparently, revealed an arrest warrant.

2. Make Sure You Double-Check Your Facts
On Donnie Ward’s first day of work, HR accused her of lying about her criminal background and told her to leave the premises. As it turns out, she has a twin brother, who obviously shared the same birthday as her (which caused the mixup in the first place) and had a criminal background for assault.


Of course, there are things that are out of your control but if you stay on top of your game, these are situations you can try to avoid and be more careful about. And instead of receiving a frightening package from the IRS during the holiday season, you can scare off that ghost once and for all with your diligent compliance skills.

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