The Alcott Group   Good for Your Business ~ Good for Your People
    •  Athena People in 40 Under 40
    •  Don't Neglect Older Employees
    •  Recruitment 101
    •  Use Employee Assistance Pgms
    •  Employment Drug Testing
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Welcome to the January 2007 edition of the Alcott Advisor.

First of all, congratulations to Athena People --Alcott's payroll manager -- for being named to Long Island Business News' "40 under 40" Class of 2007. An awards breakfast was held in honor of the "40 under 40" Class of 2007 inductees on January 25th at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY. The full press release is below.

For the past several months, we've been hearing about how the low unemployment rate is creating a difficult recruiting environment for employers. One of the things we can all learn from this is that we should constantly be striving to position our companies as "employers of choice." Thus, we thought it would be helpful to present some information on things that are important to today's employees. Related articles cover drug testing, employee assistance programs, ADEA, and seasonal workers. We hope this information is valuable to you and we wish you the very best for 2007.

Please let us know if there are employment-related issues you would like us to cover in the future. Send your e-mails to Al Anastasi at or call 631-420-0100.


The Alcott Group’s Athena People Named to the Long Island Business News “40 under 40” Class of 2007
The Alcott Group, one of New York State’s most prominent Professional Employer Organizations (PEO) with divisions on Long Island and in Buffalo, NY, recently announced that Athena People, Payroll Manager with the organizations, has been named to the Long Island Business News’ “40 under 40” Class of 2007. The award program, developed by Long Island’s leading business publication in 1998, recognizes outstanding members of the Long Island business community who are under the age of 40 and have distinguished themselves in the fields of business, government, education and not-for-profit. Ms. People, along with the other 39 honorees, has demonstrated a proven track record of career success, as well as in giving back to the community through various community service activities. An awards breakfast was held in honor of the “40 under 40” Class of 2007 inductees on January 25th at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY.

Since joining The Alcott Group in 2002, Ms. People has made a significant contribution to the company’s continued growth, expansion and market stature. As Alcott’s primary liaison between its Payroll and Human Resources Departments and that of its 350 affiliated companies, Ms. People has full responsibility for ensuring the accuracy of all information and efficient distribution of payroll to some 4500 employees throughout New York State.

Click here to read more


  With the nation’s unemployment rate at a low 4.5%, and New York State’s unemployment rate even lower at 3.7%, recruiting quality employees can be a challenge. In addition to offering competitive salaries and benefit packages, employers must present and strive for an employee-centered workplace. Knowing what employees want today is a good first step.

The Hudson Employment Index (NASDAQ: HHGP, ), a leading provider of permanent recruitment, contract professionals and talent management services worldwide, measures U.S. worker confidence through monthly telephone interviews with an estimated 9,000 workers. The Index then tracks and reports these findings. Some of the more interesting findings follow below. For example, do you know how your employees feel about telecommuting, meetings, feedback and socializing?

According to the Hudson survey, 59% of employees would like to have the option of occasionally splitting their time between the office and a home-based office? This is in contrast to the reality that only 23% of the U.S. workforce actually works from home or has this option.

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  Today, employment drug testing is considered to be a “best practice” and should be a “condition of employment” which businesses of all sizes and industries should employ. Drug testing falls into many categories, however, the basic drug test utilized within most corporate drug testing programs looks to detect the following five categories of substances:
  • Cannabinoids, which include marijuana and hashish
  • Cocaine, including crack and benzoylecognine
  • Opiates such as heroin, opium, codeine and morphine
  • Amphetamines, including methamphetamines and speed
  • Phencyclidine, including PCP and Angel Dust
More sophisticated or “10 Drug” testing programs will also test for:
  • Barbiturates
  • Methaqualone (quaaludes)
  • Benzodiazepines (i.e., various tranquilizers)
  • Methadone
  • Propoxyphene (i.e., Darvon compounds)
Click here to read more


Don't Neglect Your Older Employees or Your Seasonal Workers
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling in the case of Smith v. City of Jackson, Mississippi, No. 03-1160, 544 U.S. which directly affects older employees and their employers.

In that decision, the Court determined that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects workers who are 40 years of age or older against employment practices and policies that affect older workers disproportionately. It ruled that older workers may recover against employers if they can show that a practice or policy has a disparate impact on them, even if the practice or policy may have been established with no intent or motivation to discriminate against older workers and has the appearance of non-discriminating neutrality.

Experienced employment law attorneys are projecting an increase in disparate impact age discrimination lawsuits. Their advice to employers is to educate their supervisors and managers regarding this new court decision and to review their current workplace policies and procedures to determine whether older workers may be affected more than other younger employees. One area in which companies could inadvertently create a disparate impact age discrimination claim is in reduction in force (RIF) cases, which typically involve the layoffs of higher paid and often, older workers.

Click here to read more


Use Employee Assistance Programs to Create
Employer of Choice Environment
Creating a workplace environment that really conveys, “We care about our employees,” goes beyond manager-employee communications, meeting formats and options for telecommuting. It extends to recognizing the needs of employees beyond the workplace. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) were designed with exactly that goal in mind. They speak to employees’ personal concerns, and health and well-being matters -- as they pertain not just to the individual worker, but to his or her family members as well.

The best EAPs cover a wide range of employee concerns, from alcohol and drug abuse, depression and stress to parenting, childcare, marital, financial and legal problems. EAP programs provide employees with access to experienced professionals who provide their counseling, assistance, information and/or referrals to other specialists, who can best address the particular problem at hand. EAPs have been proven to significantly reduce the loss of employee productivity, relating to these types of problems along with lower employees’ health risks and related costs. Increased productivity and employee morale can be attributed to the presence of an effective EAP initiative.

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  You have received this newsletter because we have met in the past or are members of one of the many business or charitable groups that Alcott is involved in. If this newsletter has been forwarded to you and you would like to receive future issues, please click SUBSCRIBE and type "Subscribe" in the subject line.

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Alcott Client Connors and Sullivan, P.C. is Honored for Its Commitment to Hiring Workers with Disabilities

When Marty Markowitz --President of the Borough of Brooklyn -- and the Borough President's Advisory Committee on Disability Issues celebrated "National Disability Awareness Month" this past October, they also honored local businesses that have demonstrated a commitment to hiring workers with disabilities.

The Alcott Group is proud to announce that one of its clients, the law firm of Connors and Sullivan, P.C., headquartered in Brooklyn, NY with additional offices in Bayside, NY; Manhattan and Middle Village, NY, was among the organizations honored.

Connors and Sullivan was in the good company of a diverse group of 13 businesses -- including such household names as Cosco Wholesale, Foodtown, Home Depot and Stop & Shop, among others.

The law firm was nominated by Mr. Mitch Goldstein, Job Developer at the Roy Campanella Occupational Training Center, for hiring two of its young adults. The two individuals have worked full-time for Connors and Sullivan in the area of maintenance/utility services and have been welcomed into the Connors and Sullivan "family of employees."

In its program for the ceremony saluting its honorees and celebrating the 16th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, it was stated that, "The staff -- and especially Michael Connors -- have treated these two employees with respect and have provided them with ongoing support to make the work experience a very positive and stable one."

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