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Capability Company

A Message from our President

Dear Reader,

Happy September! As the peak of hurricane season reaches me in North Carolina, and Earl, Fiona, and Gaston are swirling in the Atlantic, I find it notable that this point in our meteorological calendar corresponds with the frenzy of back-to-school and the sometimes jarring realization that we have only one quarter left in the year.
As with any impending predicament, it is easier to cope with the onslaught if we can prepare ourselves before a crisis arises. We hope the resources available to you on our website are helpful for you while preparing for and weathering a variety of potential nonprofit "storms", and we welcome suggestions for other topics to pursue.
Speaking of tips and checklists, please take a few minutes to read this month's article, in which Laura DiPersia gives us 7 Human Resources tips for organizations that may not have a dedicated HR department. Although not an exhaustive list, this can certainly get your organization moving along the right path!
From the sunny side of the forecast, we would like to announce our search for the executive director of Durham's Partnership for Children. For details about this posting, please read the position profile on our website.
Finally, as always, we have our calendar of upcoming events. We hope you take a moment to review the conferences and activities your peers are attending in the next few months while you are setting up your personal schedule.
Now, as for preparing for a hurricane, we defer to the National Hurricane Center for guidance.
Wishing you a dry, safe and calm month,

Sherry Heuser
President, Capability Company

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Durham's Partnership for Children

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Article of the Month

Word count: 453
Approximate Reading Time: 3 Minutes

The Complex World of Human Resources...Why Ignorance Isn't Bliss

by Laura DiPersia, MHR

Human Resources procedures are a fast-paced, ever changing aspect of company operations where, unfortunately, the potential for liabilities is vast. Whether job applicant or long time employee there is a law protecting a person from the time they apply until the day they retire and every minute in between. While we have all heard “ignorance is bliss” this is one area where being blissful could result in a wealth of pain and anxiety later. Rather than hide from HR processes and hope they will go away, empower yourself with a working knowledge of the industry. Here are 7 tips to get you started.

  1. Your Employment Application: Times have changed and there are many questions such as age, gender, marital status, race, religion, etc. that are no longer acceptable (there are a few rare exceptions that are known as a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification).   Review your employment application for appropriateness. For a general overview of unacceptable questions see
  2. Employment Eligibility: The Form I-9 Employment Eligibility and Verification must be completed by all employees and is at times updated by the government (most recent update 8/09). The form, including instructions, can be found at:
  3. Fair Labor Standards Act: Per US the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq. (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. There are several very important components to the FLSA including making sure all your employees are classified correctly as exempt or non-exempt for the purposes of calculating overtime pay. These are key areas in HR to understand as mistakes can be costly. See for a reference guide.
  4. Time & Attendance: For proper payroll processing, fewer pay check corrections, and increased efficiency consider an electronic time clock or on-line time sheet system. Many payroll providers also offer time and attendance tracking systems for a small fee.
  5. Discrimination Laws and Protected Class: Having a good working knowledge of the Federal Laws Prohibiting Discrimination will build your confidence, but also help you know you need to consult an HR professional or employment lawyer. For more information on Federal Laws Prohibiting Discrimination see:
  6. Employee Training: Employees have rights but also responsibilities. Empower employees with the knowledge to protect themselves while also informing them of their responsibilities. Trainings to consider include Preventing and Reporting Harassment, Workplace Safety and Diversity. 
  7. Employee Information: Often employers ensure client confidentially, but your employees have rights to privacy too. Review the systems you have in place to protect your employees’ personal information such as social security number, date of birth, bank account, health insurance information etc.

The Bottom Line:At the end of the day trying to navigate the ever changing and complex world of Human Resources without full knowledge of the many facets of the industry can be incredibly stressful and place your business in jeopardy. If your current infrastructure does not include an HR Department consider hiring an HR consultant or employment lawyer, recruiting one to join your Board of Directors or outsourcing your HR functions to a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). Peace of mind is priceless and when dealing with employee situations it is well worth the investment.

Laura DiPersia is an organizational development and employee relations consultant, whose work focuses on organizational development, process efficiency, employee relations, outcomes development and performance management. 

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Event Calendar

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In This Issue

Current Searches
Article of the Month
The Bottom Line
Event Calendar


A Client's Perspective

“I know that the ink is not yet on the paper, much less dry, but I can’t thank you enough—could not have done it without you!"
Camilla Herlevich
North Carolina
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