COVID-19 Resources

Professional Service Agreement

The SESCO Report – February 2020

SESCO Expands Retainer Client Services

SESCO is proud to announce that we are expanding our Professional Service Agreement offerings to our current and future valued clients. For clients paying at least $100 per month, the following services are provided at no additional charge:

  • Free federal and state compliance posters, less shipping, for all posting locations.
  • Free SESCO HR forms and compliance publications. These will be provided in pdf format. If hard copies are requested, shipping will be charged.
  • One (1) free attendance at our annual human resource and/or management seminar less a $99.00 administrative fee. Space is on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Unlimited telephone and email consulting: Our staff of certified consultants and labor law attorneys are available to discuss any human resource or employment law matters to include follow-up documentation.
  • Annual visit: Clients have four (4) hours annually to use for an onsite or virtual human resource and employment law compliance assessment and/or required harassment as well as management/leadership updates. Clients may also apply the hours toward other billable services to reduce project fee quotation.
  • Employee Handbook Review: This review is conducted by our employment attorneys with follow-up report providing SESCO recommendations for improvement and compliance.
  • Newsletters and Email Updates: The SESCO Report and SESCO Weekly Updates will be provided by email. Should you wish to receive hard copies, we are happy to provide those via USPS.
  • Reduced Project Fees: Clients will receive reduced fees (15%) on requested project work or services outside of those provided under the monthly Service Agreement as noted above.

Why SESCO Management Consultants?

  • Oldest consulting firm in America – celebrating 75 years in service
  • Certified consultants and labor law attorneys on staff
  • Expert advice on Wage-Hour and EEOC compliance
  • Proven HR systems and staff recommendations
  • Authors of multiple HR and management publications and “how to” guides

SESCO provides for two (2) different levels of Service Agreement. One starting at $40.00 per month providing telephone, email and labor law research support on a daily or as needed basis. The second level will provide the services as noted above starting at $100 per month.

Please contact us should you be interested in exploring our Professional Service Agreement – complete human resource support to include our labor law attorneys.

It Is Time to Revise and Update Your Employee Handbook

As the cornerstone of the employer-employee relationship, it is vitally necessary for productive and profitable employee relations, regardless of your size, to ensure that your employee handbook is clearly worded, up to date and compliant. The employee handbook is the basic written publication that is designed, published, distributed for the purposes of providing employees and their family members with two (2) important pieces of information:

  1. What can your employees and their families expect from your organization?
  2. What does your organization expect from them?

Between the covers of a well written and published employee handbook, those two (2) vital questions are answered clearly, persuasively and honestly.

With this said, it is management’s responsibility to ensure that the employee handbook is in compliance with federal and state employment regulations that impact directly upon policies and employee benefit programs.

There have been a number of new federal laws and rulings that affect every employer-employee relationship. SESCO is advising clients to review and update their handbook not only to reflect these federal developments, but also state laws. Most all states have been very aggressive in passing very specific laws on a number of issues. So not only is it important that the employee handbook reflect and be compliant to federal legislation, but also state and, in even some cases, local legislation. A brief list of consideration includes:

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – Employer-friendly Decisions

The Board’s recent rulings provide considerable flexibility in many important policies including rules prohibiting workplace recordings and requiring confidentiality of workplace investigations. The Board has also ruled that employers don’t have to allow employees to use electronic resources for solicitation purposes. Also, it is important that the NLRB states that civility rules are lawful. This would include adopting policies that prohibit verbal abuse, profane language and other restrictions that address creating a hostile work environment.

Anti-Harassment Efforts

Rulings reflecting the #MeToo Movement continue to change the landscape. Many states including New York, Illinois, California and others have passed specific anti-harassment rules and policies including requiring training and very specific language requirements for employee handbooks. Employers must ensure that they have effective training and prevention programs reflecting state rules and regulations and also that equal employment opportunity and sex harassment prevention policies should be included in all employee handbooks.

Marijuana Use

States continue to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. These laws don’t allow workers to be under the influence on the job, but some laws limit employers’ disciplinary options and provide employment protection for off-duty use.

Employers should be aware that over 35 states have adopted some form of medical and/or recreational marijuana use and as such, handbook policy needs to specifically reflect those state laws. Further, employers should be aware that their ability to discipline an employee for being under the influence of marijuana may have been altered. An employee who is found to be under the influence of marijuana needs to be provided reasonable opportunity to respond to any resulting disciplinary action.

Family-friendly Focus – Time Off

SESCO foresees that “family-friendly” laws will continue to expand as the economy continues to grow. In the recent State of the Union Address, Trump referred to paid family leave and other family legislation that may be coming down the pike. A significant number of states have passed paid sick, paid time off laws and, again, employers need to ensure that they not only understand and comply with these rules and regulations, but also ensure that their employee handbook is compliant. Other such family-friendly legislations include break times for nursing mothers, family leave, domestic violence leave and others.

In addition to complying with federal and state rules and regulations, SESCO also strongly recommends the following policies to protect the employer.

1. Code of Conduct – The Code of Conduct policy addresses how employees should act and that certainly speaks to an organization’s culture. Some of the basic information you should include in this policy are as follows:

  • Code of Ethics
  • Dress Code and Grooming Standards
  • Workplace Safety
  • Attendance Requirements
  • Confidentiality
  • Computer and Technology Use
  • Workplace Privacy

Each of these are typically separate and distinct policies but it is critical that employers spell expectations out when it comes to these and other very important workplace matters.

2. Communications Policy – Clear communications is, of course, a primary responsibility of an employee handbook. To ensure effective communications, an employee handbook should address the following:

  • Open-Door Policy
  • Complaint Procedures
  • Social Media and Texting
  • Chain of Command/Organizational Chart
  • Health and Safety Protocols
  • Emergency and Accident Policy
  • Workplace Violence and Employee Response

3. Non-Discrimination Policies – These are absolutely a must for a solid employee handbook as well as being able to defend alleged wrong doing such as an unemployment claim, EEOC charge or wrongful termination lawsuit. State and federal legislation protects employees from discrimination based on a number of factors and as such, your employee handbook needs to include policies on:

  • Non-Discrimination – Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Non-Discrimination – Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Hiring/Separation Policies
  • OFCCP – Affirmative Action Program (if federal contractor)
  • Pregnancy and Related Medical Leave Policies

4. Compensation and Benefits Policy – Compensation and Benefit policies are critical to ensure that employees fully understand what is being offered to them. However, keep these policies simple and high level. Employees will receive additional benefit communications for offerings such as 401(k), life insurance, health insurance and others. These types of summary documents will spell out the details that employees will need when they access these benefits. In addition to formal, defined and regulated benefits, ensure that employees also understand that the employer provides additional benefits and compensation.

Policies for compensation and related matters, again, should be brief and high level. These may include compensation philosophy, how compensation is derived, commitments to being fair, compensation being provided by ability to pay and employee performance and related policies. Compensation policies should also include performance management to include performance reviews and how the overall processes work.

5. New Hire and Separation Policies – In general, these policies need to articulate what employees can expect if and when they are hired or terminated and also the basic terms of employment. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Eligibility for Benefits – Waiting Periods
  • Frequency of Pay Periods
  • Transfers and Relocations
  • Employment Referrals
  • At-Will and Discipline
  • Vacation and other unused, earned paid time at time of separation
  • Layoffs and Recalls
  • Promotions

It is critical that an employer should have their handbook reviewed at least annually. SESCO retainer clients and many association members receive these services from SESCO. Please take advantage of these programs. SESCO literally reviews, revises and prepares hundreds of handbooks on an annual basis. As one of the leading experts in employee handbook development and compliance to federal and state employment regulations, we welcome the opportunity to assist you with this project.

Employers Should Use the DiSC Profile

The DiSC Profile is the leading personal assessment tool used by over 1 million people every year to improve hiring, work productivity, teamwork, leadership and communications. SESCO provides this service to our clients throughout the country. The DiSC Profile is in excess of 94% accurate and the reporting is extremely user-friendly for both employer and the applicant and/or employee.

What is DiSC®?

The DiSC assessment, published by Wiley, is a non-judgmental tool used for discussion of people’s behavioral differences. If you participate in a DiSC program, you’ll be asked to complete a series of questions that produce a detailed report about your personality and behavior. You’ll also receive tips related to working with people of other styles.

The DiSC® model provides a common language that people can use to better understand themselves and to adapt their behaviors with others – within a work team, a sales relationship, a leadership position, or other relationships.

DiSC profiles help you and your team:

  • Increase your self-knowledge: how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress, and how you solve problems
  • Improve working relationships by recognizing the communication needs of team members
  • Facilitate better teamwork and teach productive conflict
  • Develop stronger sales skills by identifying and responding to customer styles
  • Manage more effectively by understanding the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members
  • Improve hiring and onboarding success
  • Ensure applicant and job position match

As stated, SESCO processes these profiles for clients. It simply takes a few minutes through an online link and you will receive a 13-page report. In addition to the basic DiSC assessment, the DiSC also provides expanded profiling for leadership and sales.

Special Thanks to New SESCO Clients!

Newport Housing Authority
Newport, TN

Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens (AASC)
Cedar Bluff, VA

Bay Area Corporation (Bay Area Tire & Service Center)
Severna Park, MD

Virginia Business College
Bristol, VA

Baker's Construction
Piney Flats, TN

SESCO Client Feedback

"Thank you! I'm so grateful to have you all as a resource!" ~ Janet L. Wilcher, PHR; SHRM-CP, Human Resources Director — First Team Auto Mall

"This 2-day training was awesome! I got sooo much out of it. I don't see Jamie's contact information, so when you speak to her please thank her for me and let her know I really appreciate her help and it was well worth it! This was really wonderful and time well spent! Thank you!!!" ~ Aba Mills-Robertson — Blue Ridge Medical Center

Featured SESCO Client

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) is an international non-profit association representing all segments of the tire industry, including those that manufacture, repair, recycle, sell, service or use new or retreaded tires, and also those suppliers or individuals who furnish equipment, material or services to the industry. The mission of TIA is to promote tire safety through training and education, to act as the principal advocate in government affairs and to enhance the image and professionalism of the industry so that our member businesses may be more successful. TIA has more than 13,000 members from all 50 states and around the globe.

SESCO appreciates the opportunity to be of service to TIA and its valued members.

Sesco's Spring Seminar Series 2020

The Effective Leader/Manager
March 4-5, 2020 Bristol, VA
March 11-12, 2020 Richmond, VA

Human Resources: Understanding the Basics
April 1-2, 2020 Bristol, VA
April 14-15, 2020 Richmond, VA

Human Resources for the Advanced Professional
May 12-13, 2020 Bristol, VA
May 5-6, 2020 Richmond, VA

Richmond, Virginia Location:
Virginia Community Healthcare Association (VCHA)
3831 Westerre Parkway
Henrico, VA 23233-1330

Bristol, Virginia Location:
Courtyard by Marriott
3169 Linden Drive
Bristol, VA 24202

(SESCO has partnered with one of our valued clients, Virginia Community Healthcare Association, to host our Richmond Seminar Series.)