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Glossary For Human Resources

„« Ability test: An assessment instrument used to measure an individual¡¦s abilities, mental or physical skills level (i.e. problem solving, manual dexterity, etc.).

„« Absenteeism: Referred to as the habitual failure of employees to report for work when they are scheduled to work.

„« Absolute ratings: A rating method where the rater assigns a specific value on a fixed scale to the behavior or performance of an individual instead of assigning ratings based on comparisons between other individuals.

„« Abstract reasoning: The process of perceiving issues and reaching conclusions through the use of symbols or generalizations rather than concrete factual information.

„« Academic: An educator who is a faculty member at a college or university. Also referred to as Academician.

„« Accessible format: Materials that are designed in alternate formats such as Braille, audiotape, oral presentation or electronically for individuals with visual impairments.

„« Accountability: The responsibility placed on an individual or group for their own or others¡¦ actions, conduct, performance, projects, etc.

„« Accreditation: A process of external quality review and certification by a recognized body that evaluates individuals, colleges, universities and educational programs to assure they are performing the functions that they claim to be performing in a competent manner.

„« Achievement test: A standardized testing instrument used to measure how much an individual has learned or what skills he or she has attained as a result of education, training or past experience.

„« Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS): Caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which kills or damages cells of the body's immune system by progressively destroying the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers. People diagnosed with AIDS may get life-threatening diseases called opportunistic infections, which are caused by microbes such as viruses or bacteria that usually do not make healthy people sick.

„« Acquisition: The process of acquiring control of another corporation by purchase or stock exchange.

„« Action learning: A learner-driven, continuous learning process where learning revolves around the need to find solutions to real problems.

„« Active learning: The process of learning new knowledge, skills and behaviors through taking specific actions or performing specific tasks.

„« Activities of daily living (ADL): The personal care activities which are essential to an individual¡¦s everyday living, including eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, mobility and toileting.

„« Adjunct program: A supplemental training tool that applies programming principles to existing instructional modules, materials, texts, manuals, etc., that are designed to direct the learner to specific areas within the module.

„« Adult learner: Individuals who are beyond postsecondary education age, are employed on a full- or part-time basis and are enrolled in a formal or informal educational program.

„« Adverse action: Any act by an employer that results in an individual or group of individuals being deprived of equal employment opportunities.

„« Adverse impact: A substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion or other employment decision that works to the disadvantage of a race, sex or ethnic group.

„« Adverse selection: An employer¡¦s selection practices or policies that result in discriminatory or unfavorable treatment toward an individual or individuals who are members of a protected group.

„« Advisory committee: A group or panel of internal or external members with no decision- making authority, assembled to identify and discuss specific issues and make recommendations.

„« Affirmative action (AA): Any program, policy or procedure that an employer implements in order to correct past discrimination and prevent current and future discrimination within the workplace.

„« After-acquired evidence: Used in litigation of employment discrimination disputes, after-acquired evidence is evidence that the employer discovers after it has already discharged an employee which proves that even if the discharge in question is found to be illegal, the employer would have dismissed the employee anyway in light of discovering the misconduct.

„« Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967: The ADEA protects workers age 40 and over by prohibiting discrimination against workers 40 and over in any employment or employment-related decision. The Act applies to most employers with 20 or more employees. One of the main provisions of the Act is that employers, with very few exceptions, can no longer force an employee to retire.

„« Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990: The ADA is a federal anti-discrimination law which prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment. This law (covering employers with 15 or more employees) is designed to remove barriers that prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same employment opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities. When an individual's disability creates a barrier to employment opportunities, the ADA requires employers to consider whether a reasonable accommodation could remove the barrier.

„« Alternation ranking: A rating method used in job evaluation and performance evaluation whereby the rater is asked to select the best and worst employees from a listing of all employees and then rank them accordingly.

„« Alternative assessment: Nontraditional procedures and techniques used within the framework of instructional programs to evaluate a student¡¦s educational achievement.

„« Alternative dispute resolution (ADR): A voluntary procedure used to resolve disputes or conflicts between individuals, groups or labor-management. This procedure utilizes the services of a neutral third party to facilitate discussion and assist the parties in reaching an agreement which is binding.

„« Alternative worksite: Any location other than the employer¡¦s physical worksite where employees are allowed to perform their jobs.

„« Analysis of variance: A statistical method used to determine whether a relationship exists among two or more variables by formulating concurrent comparisons of the variables.

„« Analytical thinking: The ability to analyze facts, generate a comparison and draw correct inferences or conclusions from available information.

„« Anecdotal: Information that is based on observations or indications of individual actions instead of any organized process.

„« Anti-nepotism policy: An employer¡¦s policy that restricts the employment of two or more family members at the same time.

„« Apparent authority: The appearance that an individual has the authority or power to act as an organization¡¦s agent, even though the organization has bestowed no such authority or power to that individual.

„« Applicant files: Application forms/resumes and other relevant items maintained by an employer and used during the selection process.

„« Applicant flow data: Records of hiring, promotion and other related employment actions used for the purpose of monitoring selection and employment practices.

„« Applicant pool: The sum total of all individuals who have applied for a position either by submitting a resume or application for employment which the employer uses to select candidates for employment.

„« Applicant tracking: Any paper or computerized system that tracks the organization¡¦s data such as resumes/applications and internal job posting information.

„« Application service provider (ASP): A third-party organization that delivers software applications and related services over the Internet allowing an organization to outsource some or all of its information technology needs.

„« Apprenticeship: A system used to train a person in a recognized trade or craft in accordance with specific standards. The apprenticed individual obtains his or her skills by performing the related duties for a specified period of time under the tutelage of an experienced craft or tradesman.

„« Aptitude testing: A standardized testing instrument used during the selection process that is intended to measure and predict an individual¡¦s abilities.

„« Arbitration: An alternative dispute resolution method that uses a neutral third party (i.e. arbitrator) to resolve individual, group or labor-management conflicts and issue a binding decision.

„« Architectural barriers: The physical attributes or design of a building, structure or facility that prevent individuals with physical disabilities from accessing or freely using the building, structure or facility. The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 requires any building constructed or leased in whole or in part with federal funds be made accessible to and usable by the physically disabled.

„« Assessment center: A testing location where a candidate being considered for assignment or promotion to managerial or executive-level position is rated by a team of experienced evaluators over a series of days using standardized activities, games and other simulations to predict the candidate¡¦s future job performance.

„« Attendance policy: An employer¡¦s written standards regarding the requirement for employees to be on time and present at work during regularly scheduled work periods.

„« Attitude survey: A tool used to solicit and assess employee opinions, feelings, perceptions and expectations regarding a variety of managerial and organizational issues.

„« Attorney: A professional individual who is authorized to practice law and can be legally appointed by either a plaintiff or a defendant to provide legal advice or act as a legal agent on their behalf during legal proceedings.

„« Attrition: A term used to describe voluntary and involuntary terminations, deaths and employee retirements that result in a reduction to the employer's physical workforce.

„« Auxiliary aids: Defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as including "a wide range of services and devices (necessary) for ensuring that equally effective communication" takes place with regard to persons with hearing, speech and vision disabilities. Such aids include, but are not restricted to, providing interpreters, assistive listening devices, materials in Braille, closed caption, telecommunication devices for the hearing impaired, etc.

„« Availability analysis: The process of determining the number of qualified minorities and women in the relevant available workforce who possess or have the ability to acquire the required skills or qualifications for any available position within the organization.

„« Baby boomers: The term used to describe those individuals born between 1945 and 1970.

„« Baby busters: The term used to describe those individuals born between 1961 and 1972.

„« Background check/investigation: The process of verifying information supplied by applicants who are being considered for employment, including, but not limited to, contacting former employers, obtaining educational records and requesting criminal or consumer credit reports.

„« Baldridge National Quality Award: The Baldrige Award is given by the President of the United States to businesses¡Xmanufacturing and service, small and large¡Xand to education and health care organizations that apply and are judged to be outstanding in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and results.

„« Balanced scorecard: A popular strategic management concept developed in the early 1990s by Drs. Robert Kaplan and David Norton. The balanced scorecard is a management and measurement system that enables organizations to clarify their vision and strategy and translate them into action. The goal of the balanced scorecard is to tie business performance to organizational strategy by measuring results in four areas: financial performance, customer knowledge, internal business processes, and learning and growth.

„« Bankruptcy: A federal law consisting of different chapters (i.e. chapter 7, chapter 11 or chapter 13) that allows individuals and businesses that are experiencing extreme financial duress and are unable to meet their financial obligations to eliminate or restructure their debts.

„« Barrier analysis: The process of reviewing an organization¡¦s policies and procedures to identify and eliminate impediments in recruitment, selection, transfer, or promotion of protected class individuals throughout the organization.

„« Behavioral-based interview: An interview technique that focuses on a candidate¡¦s past experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities by asking the candidate to provide specific examples of when he or she has demonstrated certain behaviors or skills as a means of predicting future behavior and performance.

„« Behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS): An appraisal that requires raters to list important dimensions of a particular job and collect information regarding the critical behaviors that distinguish between successful and unsuccessful performance. These critical behaviors are then categorized and appointed a numerical value used as the basis for rating performance.

„« Behavioral risk management: The process of analyzing and identifying workplace behavioral issues and implementing programs, policies or services most suitable for correcting or eliminating various employee behavioral problems.

„« Behavior modification: A conscious attempt to change or eliminate an individual¡¦s undesirable behavior by specifying expected behavior and reinforcing and rewarding desired behavior.

„« Bell-shaped curve: The curve representing the normal distribution of a rating or test score.

„« Benchmarking: The systematic process of comparing an organization¡¦s products, services and practices against those of competitor organizations or other industry leaders to determine what it is they do that allows them to achieve high levels of performance.

„« Benchmarks: The standards used as a basis for comparison or measurement.

„« Bereavement leave: An employer policy that provides a specific number of paid days off following the death of an employee¡¦s spouse, parent, child, grandparent or in-law so that the employee may attend funeral proceedings, etc.

„« Best practices: Defined in a variety of ways, but typically refers to the practices of an organization that enables them to achieve superior organizational performance results.

„« Bidding: The practice of posting all job openings internally so that current employees may be allowed the opportunity to apply for vacant positions prior to the employer seeking qualified candidates through other external recruitment measures.

„« Blended workforce: A workforce is comprised of permanent full-time, part-time, temporary employees and independent contractors.

„« Blind ad: A job advertisement placed in a newspaper, trade journal/publication, magazine or Internet job board that contains no identifying information about the employer placing the ad.

„« Blood-Borne Pathogens Standard: An OSHA standard that sets forth requirements for employers with workers exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials. In order to reduce or eliminate the hazards of occupational exposure, an employer must implement an exposure control plan for the worksite with details on employee protection measures. The plan must also describe how an employer will use a combination of engineering and work practice controls, ensure the use of personal protective clothing and equipment, provide training, medical surveillance, hepatitis B vaccinations, and signs and labels, among other provisions. Engineering controls are the primary means of eliminating or minimizing employee exposure and include the use of safer medical devices, such as needle less devices, shielded needle devices and plastic capillary tubes.

„« Blue collar workers: Hourly paid workers employed in occupations that require physical or manual labor.

„« Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ): A very narrowly interpreted exception to EEO laws that allows employers to base employment decisions for a particular job on such factors as sex, religion or national origin, if they are able to demonstrate that such factors are an essential qualification for performing a particular job.

„« Bonus plan: An incentive pay plan which awards employees compensation, in addition to their base salary, for achieving individual or group performance and productivity goals.

„« Boundary less organization: Defined as an organization that removes roadblocks to maximize the flow of information throughout the organization.

„« Branding: The process of identifying and differentiating an organization¡¦s products, processes or services from another organization by giving it a name, phrase or other mark.

„« Breach of contract: Occurring when an individual who is a party to a contract or agreement does not uphold or violates the terms of the contract.

„« Break-even analysis: A measure used to determine the approximate sales volume required to cover the costs associated with producing a particular product or service.

„« Broad banding: A pay structure that consolidates a large number of narrower pay grades into fewer broad bands with wider salary ranges.

„« Buddy system: A form of employee orientation whereby a newly hired employee is assigned to another employee (typically within the same department) who shows the new employee the ropes, introduces him or her to coworkers, gives personal assistance and answers questions on an as-needed basis.

„« Budget: A numerical summary of an organization¡¦s available resources and how those resources are to be allocated based on anticipated future expenditures for various items, such as equipment, training and development programs, benefits, implementing new processes or services, etc.

„« Bumping: The practice of allowing more senior level employees whose positions have been slotted for elimination or downsizing the option of accepting an alternative position within the organization, for which they may be qualified to perform and which is currently occupied by another employee with less seniority.

„« Burden of proof: The burden placed on an employer, as a result of a claim of discriminatory treatment, to provide a verifiable, legitimate and nondiscriminatory reason for any employment action taken which may have resulted in adverse treatment of a member(s) of a protected group.

„« Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): The principal fact-finding agency for the federal government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. The BLS is an independent national statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes and disseminates essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other federal agencies, state and local governments, business and labor. BLS also serves as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor.

„« Burnout: Physical or emotional exhaustion, lack of motivation or decreased morale resulting from an individual being exposed to excessive or prolonged stress and frustration caused by personal problems, work pressures, financial difficulties, etc.

„« Business continuity planning: Broadly defined as a management process that seeks to identify potential threats and impacts to the organization and provide a strategic and operational framework for ensuring the organization is able to withstand any disruption, interruption or loss to normal business functions or operation.

„« Business literacy: The knowledge and understanding of the financial, accounting, marketing and operational functions of an organization.

„« Business plan: A document that provides relevant information about a company by outlining items such as the company¡¦s business description, market or industry, management, competitors, future prospects and growth potential, etc.

„« C-Suite: A term used to describe members of the executive team, i.e. CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, etc.

„« Call center: The area in an organization responsible for screening, forwarding and logging large volumes of customer-related calls at the same time through the use of technology and other resources.

„« Cafeteria plan: A benefit plan which allows employees to choose between one or more qualified tax-favored benefits and cash.

„« Career center: An office set up within an organization to be used for the purpose of providing outplacement counseling and job placement services to displaced workers.

„« Career counseling: Guiding individuals through the career planning and career decision-making process by helping them to make informed decisions regarding educational and occupational choices, as well as providing resources needed to further developing job search and placement skills.

„« Career development: The process by which individuals establish their current and future career objectives and assess their existing skills, knowledge or experience levels and implement an appropriate course of action to attain their desired career objectives.

„« Career ladder: The progression of jobs in an organization¡¦s specific occupational fields ranked from highest to lowest based on level of responsibility and pay.

„« Career mobility: The propensity to make several career changes during an individual¡¦s lifetime instead of committing to a long-term career within a specific occupational field.

„« Career path: The progression of jobs in an organization¡¦s specific occupational fields ranked from lowest to highest in the hierarchal structure.

„« Career planning: The process of establishing career objectives and determining appropriate educational and developmental programs to further develop the skills required to achieve short- or long-term career objectives.

„« Career plateau: Occurs when an employee has reached the highest position level he or she can possibly obtain within an organization and has no future prospect of being promoted due to a lack of skills, corporate restructuring or other factors.

„« Case study: A case study uses real scenarios that focus on a specific issue(s). It looks deeply at a specific issue, drawing conclusions only about that issue and only in that specific context.

„« Casual dress: Refers to attire such as jeans, casual slacks, t-shirts, sport and polo shirts and other apparel used for leisure.

„« Casual employment: The practice of hiring employees on an as-needed basis, either as a replacement for permanent full-time employees who are out on short- and long-term absences or to meet employer¡¦s additional staffing needs during peak business periods.

„« Caucus: A labor relations term used to define periodic suspensions of negotiations in order to provide both sides with an opportunity to consider their relevant positions.

„« Centralization: The process of consolidating all decision-making authority under one central group or location.

„« Change agent: A term used to define an individual or group of individuals who directly or indirectly cause or accelerate social, cultural, or behavioral change.

„« Change management: The systematic approach and application of knowledge, tools and resources to deal with change. Change management means defining and adopting corporate strategies, structures, procedures and technologies to deal with changes in external conditions and the business environment.

„« Child-labor law: Provisions under FLSA are designed to protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs that are detrimental to their health and safety. FLSA restricts the hours that youth under 16 years of age can work and lists hazardous occupations too dangerous for young workers to perform.

„« Civil rights: The rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and federal and state statutes enacted to protect a wide range of individual rights, such as right to vote, freedom of speech, the right to assemble, the right to equal treatment, etc.

„« Civil Rights Act of 1964: A federal statute enacted to further guarantee the constitutional rights of individuals and prevent employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin or age.

„« Civil Rights Act of 1991: A federal statute that amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enacted to strengthen and improve federal civil rights laws by providing for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination, clarifying provisions regarding disparate impact actions and for other purposes.

„« Class action suit: A lawsuit filed by one party on behalf of themselves and other people in a group who share the same complaint.

„« Climate survey: A tool used to solicit and asses employee opinions, feelings, perceptions and expectations regarding a variety of factors pertinent to maintaining the organizations climate, such as opportunities for growth, management, working relationships and environment, etc.

„« Coaching: A training method in which a more experienced or skilled individual provides an employee with advice and guidance intended to help him or her develop skills, improve performance and enhance the quality of his or her career.

„« Co-employment: The relationship between a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) or employee leasing firm and an employer, based on a contractual sharing of liability and responsibility for employees.

„« Color discrimination: Color discrimination occurs when a person is discriminated against based on the lightness, darkness, or other color characteristic of the person. Even though race and color clearly overlap, they are not synonymous.

„« Cognitive ability testing: A testing instrument used during the selection process in order to measure the candidate¡¦s learning and reasoning abilities.

„« Common law employment test: Refers to the IRS¡¦s 20-question common law test which examines the level of control exercised over a worker by an employer in order to determine whether the individual is an employee or an independent contractor.

„« Communicable disease: Any condition that is transmitted directly or indirectly to a person from an infected person or animal through the agency of an intermediate animal, host or vector or through the inanimate environment. Communicable diseases include, but is not limited to, influenza; tuberculosis; conjunctivitis; infectious mononucleosis; acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), AIDS-related complex (ARC) and positive HIV antibody status; hepatitis A, B, C and D; meningitis; SARS; and sexually transmitted diseases.

„« Compa ratio: The ratio of an actual pay rate to the midpoint for the respective pay grade used for comparing actual rates of pay with the midpoint for a particular pay grade within the salary structure.

„« Comparative rating: A rating method that determines ratings by making comparisons between the individuals being rated.

„« Compensatory time-off plan: The practice of giving employees paid time off that can be used in the future in lieu of paying them overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. While an acceptable practice in the public sector, the FLSA places very strict limitations on the use of compensatory time off for private sector employers.

„« Competency-based pay: A compensation system that recognizes employees for the depth, breadth and types of skills they obtain and apply in their work. Also known as skill-based and knowledge-based pay.

„« Competencies: The knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform a specific task or function.

„« Compressed workweek: An alternative scheduling method that allows employees to work a standard workweek over less than a five-day period in one week or a 10-day period in two weeks.

„« Concurrent validity: The means of determining a test¡¦s or other assessment tool¡¦s validity by comparing test scores against actual job performance.

„« Condition of employment: An organization¡¦s policies and work rules that employees are expected to abide by in order to remain continuously employed.

„« Confidentiality agreement: A contract restricting an employee from disclosing confidential or proprietary information.

„« Conflict of interest: Refers to situations when an individual has other competing financial, professional or personal obligations or interests that interfere with his or her ability to adequately perform required duties in a fair and objective manner.

„« Consideration: A benefit or other item of value given to an individual who is asked to sign an employment contract or agreement (i.e., release agreement) that is above and beyond what the individual would have been entitled to, had he or she not been asked to sign a contract or agreement.

„« Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985: Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, if an employee terminates employment with the company, the employee is entitled to continue participating in the company¡¦s group health plan for a prescribed period of time, usually 18 months. (In certain circumstances, such as an employee¡¦s divorce or death, the length of coverage period may be longer for qualified dependents). COBRA coverage is not extended to employees terminated for gross misconduct.

„« Constructive discharge: Occurs when a manager/supervisor or employer makes working conditions so unbearable or abusive that a reasonable person believes that resignation is the only appropriate action to take.

„« Construct validity: The extent to which a test or other assessment instrument measures a particular trait.

„« Consultant: An individual who works independently to assist and advise client organizations with various organizational functions and responsibilities on a fee-for-service basis.

„« Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968: Prohibits employees from being terminated for garnishments for any one indebtedness. Although two or more do allow an employer to terminate, care should be exercised to prevent disparate impact if the employees being terminated are mostly women and minorities.

„« Consumer credit report: The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) defines a consumer report as any communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living, which is used, or expected to be used, or collected, in whole or in part, for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility for credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family or household purposes or employment purposes.

„« Consumer Price Index (CPI): An index of prices used to measure the change in the cost of basic goods and services in comparison with a fixed base period. Also called cost-of-living index.

„« Content validity: The degree to which a test or other assessment instrument used during the selection process measures the skills, knowledge and abilities or other related job qualifications.

„« Contingency planning: The process of identifying an organization¡¦s critical information systems and business operations and developing and implementing plans to enable those systems and operations to resume following a disaster or other emergency situation.

„« Contingent worker: Refers to an individual employed in a job that does not have an explicit contract for long-term employment (i.e., independent contractor or temporary employee)

„« Core competencies: The skills, knowledge and abilities which employees must possess in order to successfully perform job functions that are essential to business operations.

„« Core work activities: The tasks or functions within an organization considered essential to the organization¡¦s business operations.

„« Core workers: Employees who are considered to be vital to the organization¡¦s successful business operations.

„« Corporate citizenship: ¡¥Corporate Citizenship is the contribution a company makes to society through its core business activities, its social investment and philanthropy programs, and its engagement in public policy. The manner in which a company manages its economic, social and environmental relationships, and the way it engages with its stakeholders (such as shareholders, employees, customers, business partners, governments and communities), has an impact on the company's long-term success.¡¦ (World Economic Forum) The term is also used interchangeably with other similar terms such as Corporate Governance and/or Corporate Social Responsibility.

„« Corporate culture: The beliefs, values and practices adopted by an organization that directly influence employee conduct and behavior.

„« Corporate image: The way in which an organization is viewed by clients, employees, vendors or the general public.

„« Corporate values: The prescribed standards, behaviors, principles or concepts that an organization regards as highly important.

„« Cost-benefit analysis: A means of measuring the costs associated with a specific program, project, activity or benefit compared with the total benefit or value derived.

„« Cost of labor: The total payments in the form of gross salary and wages, bonuses, and other cash allowances paid to employees and salaries, allowances, fees, bonuses and commissions paid to working directors and fees paid to non-working directors for their attendance at the Board of Directors' meetings.

„« Cost of living: The amount of money needed to buy the goods and services required to maintain a specific standard of living. The cost of living is closely tied to rates of inflation and deflation. In estimating such costs, food, clothing, rent, fuel, lighting, and furnishings as well as expenses for communication, education, recreation, transportation, and medical services are generally included. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measurement of the cost of living prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, tracks changes in retail prices of an average ¡§market basket.¡¨ Changes are compared to prices in a previously selected base year, from which figures the percentage increase or decrease in the cost of living can be calculated.

„« Cost of living adjustment (COLA): An annual adjustment in wages to offset a change in purchasing power, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The Consumer Price Index is used rather than the Producer Price Index because the purpose is to offset inflation as experienced by the consumer, not the producer.

„« Cost-per-hire: The direct and indirect costs that are calculated to measure the costs associated with filling a vacancy. Direct costs include, but are not limited to, advertising, employment agency fees, job fairs, employee referrals, credit and reference checking costs, examination and testing costs during the selection process, signing bonuses, relocation costs, human resource overhead costs, college recruiting costs, Internet costs and training and communication costs. Indirect costs can include, but are also not limited to, lower productivity, costs of turnover, morale impacts, safety (if there is a higher number of accidents as a result of the vacancy), disruption of regular business functions, overtime (to compensate for the vacancy) and hiring to maintain production.

„« Counseling: Actions or interactions in one or serial form which serve to provide direction, guidance or advice with respect to recommendations, decisions or courses of action.

„« Craft worker: An individual employed in a profession or activity that uses experienced hands to make something. Apprenticeships are often required and post secondary vocational schools also offer such craft oriented training. Training time can be over a course of years and require certification examinations. Examples: electrician, plumber, tool; and die maker, machinist, HVAC specialist, journeyman carpenter, cabinet maker.

„« Crisis management: A broad term that refers to an organizations pre-established activities and guidelines, for preparing and responding to significant catastrophic events or incidents (i.e., fire, earthquake, severe storms, workplace violence, kidnapping, bomb threats, acts of terrorism, etc.) in a safe and effective manner. A successful crisis management plan also incorporates other organizational programs such as , emergency response , disaster recovery, risk management, communications, business continuity, etc.

„« Crisis planning: A formal written plan establishing specific measures or actions to be taken when responding to catastrophic events or tragedies (i.e., fire, earthquake, severe storms, workplace violence, kidnapping, bomb threats, acts of terrorism, etc.) in the workplace.

„« Crisis prevention: The process of an organization implementing specific plans and procedures designed to circumvent certain disasters or emergencies.

„« Critical success factors: The key items that must be met in order to successfully achieve a specific objective.

„« Critical tasks: The job tasks or functions essential to the proper performance of a particular job.

„« Cross-functional teams: Work teams comprised of individuals who represent the various organizational functions, departments or divisions.

„« Cross training: The process of developing a multi skilled workforce by providing employees with training and development opportunities to ensure they have the skills necessary to perform various job functions within an organization.

„« Cyber smear: Using Web sites, listservs, chat rooms or bulletin boards to post insulting or defamatory statements regarding former employers.

„« Cultural differences: The diverse behaviors, beliefs, customs, traditions, language and expressions that are characteristic to groups of people of a particular race, ethnicity or national origin.

„« Cultural integration: The process of bringing people of different racial or ethnic backgrounds into equal association.

„« Curriculum vitae (c.v.): Used in the United States to describe, a longer, more detailed version of a resume. Internationally is synonymous with resume.

„« Daily work records: A daily log of job tasks being performed by individual employees over a certain period of time. Used often as a form of job analysis.

„« Damages: The amounts awarded by a court to be paid by one party to another as a result of violating a contract or agreement.

„« Deauthorization: The termination of union representation over a specific bargaining unit following a decertification election.

„« Decentralization: The process of assigning decision-making authority to lower levels within the organizational hierarchy.

„« Decertification: Allows members of a particular bargaining unit to terminate their union representation through a voting process.

„« Deductive reasoning: The ability to extract certain rules based on a sequence of experiences or observations and apply those rules to other similar situations.

„« Defamation: Injury caused to an individual¡¦s character or reputation resulting from another individual(s) issuing false or malicious statements either verbally or in writing.

„« Deferred compensation: Payment for services under any employer-sponsored plan or arrangement that allows an employee (for tax-related purposes) to defer income to the future.

„« Defined benefit plan: A retirement plan that is not an individual account plan and pays participants a fixed periodic benefit or a lump-sum amount, calculated using specific formulas that include such items as age, earnings and length of service.

„« Defined contribution plan: An individual account plan in which the employer contributes a specific amount of money into each year that is to be distributed among the accounts of each plan participant.

„« De-layering: An organizational restructuring strategy meant to reduce the organization¡¦s existing levels of managers or supervisors.

„« Delegation: The process of assigning tasks or projects to subordinates and clearly dictating expected outcomes and timeframe for completion.

„« De minimis rule: Described by IRS guidelines as any benefit, property or service provided to an employee that has so little value (taking into account how frequently similar benefits are provided to employees) that accounting for it would be unreasonable or administratively impracticable. Cash, no matter how little, is never excludable as a de minimis benefit, except for occasional meal money or transportation fare.

„« Demographics: The physical characteristics of a population, such as age, sex, marital status, family size, education, geographic location and occupation.

„« Demotion: A permanent reassignment to a position with a lower pay grade, skill requirement or level of responsibility than the employee¡¦s current position.

„« Departmentation: The process of dividing an organization¡¦s labor, functions, processes or units into separate groups.

„« Department of Labor (DOL): The federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing a large quantity of federal labor laws, including, but not limited to, overtime pay, child labor, wages and hours, workplace health and safety, FMLA, and various other employee rights.

„« Dependent care assistance plan: An employer benefit plan that provides employees with dependent care assistance, such as paying for or providing qualified child and dependent care services necessary for them to seek or obtain gainful employment or remain gainfully employed.

„« Deposition: The process of one party, accompanied by his or her legal counsel, answering questions under oath about pertinent facts regarding a case put forth by another party¡¦s legal counsel; conducted outside of a courtroom.

„« Descriptive scale: Any rating scale that uses adjectives or phrases to determine performance ratings.

„« Developmental counseling: A form of shared counseling where managers or supervisors work together with subordinates to identify strengths and weaknesses, resolve performance-related problems and determine and create an appropriate action plan.

„« Developmental disabilities: Defined as a severe, chronic disability of an individual that: is attributable to mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments; is manifested before the individual attains the age of 22; is likely to continue indefinitely; results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: self-care, receptive and expressive living, and economic self-sufficiency; and reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary or generic services, individualized support or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.

„« Development program: Training or educational programs designed to stimulate an individual¡¦s professional growth by increasing his or her skills, knowledge or abilities.

„« Direct compensation: All compensation (base salary and/or incentive pay) that is paid directly to an employee.

„« Direct costs: The costs directly attributed to a particular products, programs or activities.

„« Direct labor: The workers who actually produce a product or provide a service.

„« Disability: Defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual¡¦s major life activities (i.e., walking, talking, standing, sitting, etc.)

„« Disability management: The process of coordinating efforts between employees, management, physicians, rehabilitation service providers and insurance carriers to reduce the impact of work-related injuries or illnesses and assisting injured employees in continuing to successfully perform their jobs.

„« Disabled individual: Under the ADA guidelines, an individual with a disability is a person who: has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment. Disability under Social Security rules are defined as an individual who is unable to perform work that he or she was previously able to perform and the individual cannot adjust to other work because of his or her medical condition(s), which is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

„« Disaster recovery plan: A set of guidelines and procedures to be used by an organization for the recovery of data lost due to severe forces of nature, such as earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, floods or hurricanes.

„« Discharge: The termination of an employee based on previous disciplinary proceedings or for violating a major work rule or policy.

„« Disciplinary action: The means of reprimanding employees who fail to abide by the organization¡¦s performance standards, policies or rules.

„« Disciplinary layoff: A disciplinary measure in which employees are suspended without pay for a specified period of time due to violations of a company work rule or policy.

„« Disclosure: The process of disclosing information to employees or the general public regarding any business practices or processes that contain the propensity to be hazardous to the environment or the health and safety of individuals.

„« Discretionary bonus: A form of variable pay where an employer provides additional cash compensation to an employee for reasons that are not pursuant to any prior contract, agreement or promise that would lead the employee to expect the payments regularly.

„« Discrimination: Any policy or action taken related to recruiting, hiring, promotion, pay or training practices that result in an unfair disadvantage to either an individual or group of individuals who are considered part of a protected class.

„« Disqualifying income: Commonly used as an offset when coordinating income from multiple sources.

„« Disparate impact: Under Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) law, a less favorable effect for one group than for another. A disparate impact results when rules applied to all employees have a different and more inhibiting effect on women and minority groups than on the majority.

„« Disparate treatment: Such treatment results when rules or policies are applied inconsistently to one group of people over another. Discrimination may result when rules and policies are applied differently to members of protected classes.

„« Displaced workers: Individuals who have lost their jobs due to a plant closing, relocation, downsizing or position elimination.

„« Dissatisfiers: Factors, such as working conditions, job functions, pay and benefits or organizational policies and practices, that contribute to employee dissatisfaction.

„« Distance learning: The process of delivering educational or instructional programs to locations away from a classroom or site to another location by using technology, such as video or audio conferencing, computers, Web-based applications or other multimedia communications.

„« Distractors: Refers to incorporating incorrect items or answers into a testing instrument where the testee is asked to select from a group of items or answers (i.e., multiple choice exams).

„« Diversity: A broad definition of diversity ranges from personality and work style to all of the visible dimensions of diversity such as race, age, ethnicity or gender, to secondary influences such as religion, socioeconomics and education, to work diversities such as management and union, functional level and classification or proximity/distance to headquarters.

„« Diversity training: A fundamental component of a diversity initiative that represents the opportunity for an organization to inform and educate senior management and staff about diversity. The purpose of training is not only to increase awareness and understanding of workplace diversity, but also to develop concrete skills among staff that will facilitate enhanced productivity and communications among all employees.

„« Documentation: Refers to written notices, records, forms, memos, letters and so forth used during disciplinary proceedings.

„« Domestic partner benefits: Benefit plan provided by an employer that recognizes individuals who are of the same or opposite sex as spousal equivalents for purposes of health care coverage. Domestic partners are typically defined of as individuals that have lived together in the same residence for a specified period, are responsible for each other's financial welfare, are not blood relatives, are at least 18 years of age, are mentally competent, are life partners and would get legally married should the option become available, are registered as domestic partners if there is a local domestic partner registry, and are not legally married to anyone else.

„« Downgrading: The practice of moving an employee to a job that has a lower pay grade or level of responsibility or skill.

„« Downshifting: Refers to employees who choose to accept or remain in lower level or lower paying jobs in order to satisfy their personal and family needs.

„« Downsizing: The process of reducing the employer¡¦s workforce through elimination of positions, management layers, processes, functions, etc.

„« Dress code: An organizational policy or rule to be used by employees as a guideline as to what is considered appropriate attire for the workplace.

„« Drug abuse/substance abuse: Habitual and excessive use of a drug for purposes other than what was medically intended.

„« Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988: Requires some federal contractors and all federal grantees to agree that they will provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a contract or grant from a federal agency. Although all covered contractors and grantees must maintain a drug-free workplace, the specific components necessary to meet the requirements of the Act vary based on whether the contractor or grantee is an individual or an organization.

„« Drug testing: The process of testing employees to detect the presence of illegal drugs or alcohol within their system. Drug testing can be conducted on a pre-employment, random or post-accident basis, as well as for cause or suspicion, in accordance with the employer¡¦s policy and any governing state law.

„« Dual career ladders/tracks: An employee career development plan allowing employees to alternate between technical, professional or managerial positions over the course of their careers while they simultaneously receive higher compensation and gain higher status levels within the organization.

„« Due diligence: A critical component of mergers and acquisitions, it is the process of conducting an investigation and evaluation in order to examine the details of a particular investment or purchase by obtaining sufficient and accurate information or documents that may influence the outcome of the transaction.

„« E-learning: The delivery of formal and informal training and educational materials, processes and programs via the use of electronic media.

„« Early retirement plan: A benefit plan offered by an organization providing incentives geared toward encouraging employees who are approaching retirement age to voluntarily retire prior to their normal retirement age.

„« Early return to work program: Modified work programs designed to get employees who have been out of work due to injury or illness to return to the workforce sooner by providing them with less strenuous alternative jobs until they are able to resume their full regular duties.

„« Electromation: Used to refer to a NLRB ruling declaring that, in nonunion companies, labor management cooperation (i.e., quality circles, employee involvement programs, etc.) is illegal because the committees through which such cooperation takes place are equal to a labor organization, as defined by the NLRA.

„« Electronic monitoring: An employee surveillance practice where items such as telephone calls or e-mail/Internet usage are observed for general business, training or performance-related reasons.

„« Emergency planning: The process of establishing specific measures or actions to be taken when responding to catastrophic events or tragedies (i.e., fire, earthquake, severe storms, workplace violence, kidnapping, bomb threats, acts of terrorism or other emergency situations) in the workplace.

„« Emotional intelligence: Describes the mental ability an individual possesses enabling him or her to be sensitive and understanding to the emotions of others, as well as to manage his or her own emotions and impulses.

„« Employee assistance program (EAP): A work-based intervention program designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems (i.e., marital, financial or emotional problems, family issues, substance/alcohol abuse) that may be adversely affecting the employee¡¦s performance.

„« Employee-driven idea system: A type of suggestion program where employees are rewarded for being ultimately responsible for the management and implementation of any idea they submitted.

„« Employee engagement: The means of creating a work environment that empowers employees to make decisions that affect their jobs. Also referred to as employee involvement. Further defined by the Corporate Leadership Council in the in their 2004 study, ¡§Driving Performance and Retention Through Employee Engagement¡¨ as ¡§the extent to which employees commit to something or someone in their organization, how hard they work, and how long they stay as a result of that commitment.¡¨

„« Employee handbook: A written or electronic document containing summaries of the employer¡¦s policies and benefits designed to familiarize employees with various matters affecting the employment relationship.

„« Employee leasing: A staffing alternative whereby employers form a joint-employment relationship with a leasing agency or professional employer organization (PEO) that takes on the responsibility for various HR-related functions, such as labor law compliance, compensation and benefits administration, record-keeping, payroll and employment taxes.

„« Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988: Prohibits most private employers from requiring employees or candidates for employment to submit to a lie detector test. The only time an employer may ask (but not require) an employee to take a polygraph test is in the conduct of an ongoing investigation into theft, embezzlement or a similar economic loss; or if the employee had access to property that was lost and the employer has a reasonable suspicion that the employee was involved. Employees who take a polygraph test may not be discharged or suffer any other negative consequences solely on the basis of the test, without other supporting evidence. The Act strictly mandates how polygraph tests may be administered and how the results are used.

„« Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)of 1974: ERISA sets requirements for the provision and administration of employee benefit plans. Employee benefit plans include health care benefits, profit sharing and pension plans, for example.

„« Employee referral program: A recruiting strategy where current employees are rewarded for referring qualified candidates for employment.

„« Employee relations: A broad term used to refer to the general management and planning of activities related to developing, maintaining and improving employee relationships by communicating with employees, processing grievances/disputes, etc.

„« Employee retention: Organizational policies and practices designed to meet the diverse needs of employees and create an environment that encourages employees to remain employed.

„« Employee self-service: A trend in human resource management that allows employees to handle many job-related tasks normally conducted by HR (such as benefits enrollment, updating personal information and accessing company information) through the use of a company's intranet, specialized kiosks or other Web-based applications.

„« Employee stock ownership plan (ESOP): A trust established by a corporation that operates as a tax-qualified defined contribution retirement plan, but unlike traditional defined contribution plans, employer contributions are invested in the company's stock.

„« Employee stock purchase plan: An employer-sponsored plan that allows employees to purchase company stock below the fair market value.

„« Employer of choice: A term used to describe a public or private employer whose practices, policies, benefits and overall work conditions have enabled it to successfully attract and retain talent because employees choose to work there.

„« Employment agency: An organization that provides job placement assistance, either on a temporary or permanent basis, to individuals seeking employment opportunities.

„« Employment-at-will: A legal doctrine that states that an employment relationship may be terminated by the employer or employee at any time and for any or no reason.

„« Employment agreement/contract: A formal, legally binding agreement between an employer and employee outlining terms of employment such as duration, compensation, benefits, etc.

„« Employment branding: A combination of marketing, communication and technology used by an organization intended to give it greater visibility amongst a large population within a short timeframe.

„« Employment cost index: Conducted annually as part of the Department of Labor¡¦s National Compensation Survey program, the Employment Cost Index measures the relative changes in wages, benefits and bonuses for a specific group of occupations.

„« Employment displacement: Occurs when an employee is terminated as a result of position elimination.

„« Employment practices liability audit: An assessment of an employer¡¦s current policies and practices to determine potential areas of liability (i.e., discrimination, wrongful discharge and other violations of employee rights) typically conducted by an outside consulting or legal firm.

„« Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI): An insurance plan that provides employers with protection against claims of discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment or other employment-related issues made by employees, former employees or potential employees.

„« Employment torts: The grounds on which a lawsuit is based, such as wrongful discharge, negligence or invasion of privacy.

„« Employment visas: An immigration-issued document that allows aliens to obtain temporary residency for the purpose of pursuing employment opportunities within the United States.

„« Empowerment: Enabling an individual to have responsibility, control and decision-making authority over the work he or she performs.

„« English-only rules: An employer policy or work rule that requires employees to only speak in the English language at all times while on the job or in the workplace.

„« English as a second language (ESL): English language training provided to individuals who do not speak English as their primary language.

„« Environmental Scanning: A process that systematically surveys and interprets relevant data to identify external opportunities and threats.

„« Equal employment opportunity (EEO): A policy statement that equal consideration for a job is applicable to all individuals and that the employer does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability or sex.

„« Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): The federal agency responsible for publishing guidelines, enforcing EEO laws and investigating complaints of job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age or disability.

„« Equal Pay Act of 1963: A federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating between male employees and female employees in terms of pay when they are performing jobs that are essentially the same or of comparable worth.

„« Equal Treatment: A legal doctrine used in discharge cases to determine whether an employer¡¦s policies and practices are applied in a fair, consistent and nondiscriminatory manner.

„« Equivalent position: According to section 825.215 of the FMLA regulations, an equivalent position is one that is virtually identical to the employee's former position in terms of pay, benefits and working conditions, including privileges, perquisites and status. It must involve the same or substantially similar duties and responsibilities, which must entail substantially equivalent skill, responsibility and authority.

„« Ergonomics: The design of the equipment, furniture, machinery or tools used in the workplace that promotes safety, efficiency and productivity and reduces discomfort and fatigue.

„« Error of central tendency: A rating error occurring when the rater displays a propensity to assign only average ratings to all individuals being rated.

„« Error of contrast: An error occurring when raters assign ratings based on comparisons between individuals being rated instead of using previously established organizational standards.

„« Error of halo: A rating error occurring when the rater assigns a rating based on individuals¡¦ positive or negative characteristics.

„« Error of inconsistency: Occurs when no established organizational standards for rating an individual exist, and raters use different strategies for assigning ratings.

„« Error of projection: An error in rating, which occurs when raters are inclined to allow their own personal characteristics or values to affect the ratings they assign.

„« Error of recency: Occurs when raters assign a rating based on the individual¡¦s short-term versus long-term job performance.

„« Error of standards: Occurs when a rating is assigned based on impracticable standards established by the rater.

„« Errors and omissions insurance: An insurance policy providing businesses with coverage and protection against potential lawsuits from clients or customers.

„« Essay appraisal: An appraisal strategy requiring the rater to provide a narrative description of an individual¡¦s performance based on the rater¡¦s performance observations.

„« Essential functions: The primary job functions or tasks that an individual must be able to perform with or without a reasonable accommodation.

„« Ethical Leadership: Broadly defined, as the demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and promotion of such conduct among followers through two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision-making processes (M.E Brown and L.K. Trevino, Measures for Leadership Development Ethical Leadership Scale)

„« Ethics: A philosophy principle concerned with opinions about appropriate and inappropriate moral conduct or behavior by an individual or social group.

„« Ethnic categories: A grouping of individuals who are of the following decent: American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Black or African American; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and White.

„« Executive compensation: Compensation packages specifically designed for executive-level employees that include items such as base salary, bonuses, perquisites and other personal benefits, stock options and other related compensation and benefit provisions.

„« Executive development: Training and educational programs designed to increase performance and further the development of leadership skills for executive and senior-level managerial employees.

„« Executive Order: An official presidential directive that has the same force as a law.

„« Executive Order 11246 of 1965: Administered and enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, who do over $10,000 in government business in one year, from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Executive Order also requires government contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of their employment.

„« Executive outplacement: A program designed to provide displaced senior-level managerial and professional employees with career management and transition services that go above and beyond what is typically offered through a customary outplacement program.

„« Executive retreat: A team building and development approach designed for executive-level managers; conducted off-site and typically lasts from a few days to a week.

„« Executive search firm: An agency or organization used by employers to assist them with the selection and placement of candidates for senior-level managerial or professional positions.

„« Exempt employees: Employees who meet one of the FLSA exemption tests and who are paid on a fixed salary basis and not entitled to overtime.

„« Exit interview: An interview conducted at the time of an employee¡¦s resignation.

From Pakistan, Karachi

• Pay grades: A method used to group jobs together that have approximately the same relative internal worth and are paid at the same rate.

• Pay range: Associated with pay grades, the range sets the upper and lower compensation boundaries for jobs within that range.

• Payroll records: Documentation created and maintained by the employer, which contains information regarding hours worked, salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, vacation/sick pay, contributions to qualified health and pension plans, net pay and deductions for all employees on the employer’s payroll for the year.

• Pay structure: A structure of job grades and pay ranges established within an organization. May be expressed as job grades or job evaluation points.

• Peer appraisal: A performance appraisal strategy whereby an employee is reviewed by his or her peers who have sufficient opportunity to examine the individual’s job performance.

• Pension plan: An employer benefit plan funded through insurance, a trust, general assets or other separately maintained funds designed to provide employees with a monthly income benefit upon retirement.

• Perceived disability: A person who does not meet the definition of a disabled individual in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act but is regarded by his or her employer as having a mental or physical disability.

• Performance appraisal: A periodic review and evaluation of an individual's job performance.

• Performance-based pay: A variable pay strategy that pays employees based on their individual performance and contributions, rather than the value of the job they are performing.

• Performance counseling: The process of improving employee performance and productivity by providing the employee with feedback regarding areas where he or she is doing well and areas that may require improvement.

• Performance improvement plan: A plan implemented by a manager or supervisor that is designed to provide employees with constructive feedback, facilitate discussions between an employee and his or her supervisor regarding performance-related issues, and outline specific areas of performance requiring improvement.

• Performance management: The process of maintaining or improving employee job performance through the use of performance assessment tools, coaching and counseling as well as providing continuous feedback.

• Performance monitoring: The practice of monitoring employees while they perform their jobs through the use of surveillance cameras, telephone or computer monitoring.

• Performance standards: The tasks, functions or behavioral requirements established by the employer as goals to be accomplished by an employee.

• Perquisites: A form of incentives generally given to executive employees granting them certain privileges or special consideration, such as memberships in clubs, physical fitness programs, financial counseling, etc.

• Personal days: A benefit designed to provide employees with an allotment of paid days off in addition to holidays, sick days or vacation days, which they can use to attend to personal matters.

• Personality test: A test instrument usually involving a standardized series of questions that are used to evaluate an individual’s personality characteristics.

• Personal protective equipment: Clothing and other work accessories (i.e., safety glasses, hearing protection, etc.) designed to create a barrier against potential workplace hazards.

• Personnel records: All information pertaining to individual employees, which is collected and maintained by the employer and is essential to the employer for handling various employment-related matters.

• Phased retirement: A work schedule arrangement that allows employees to gradually reduce their full-time hours over a period of time.

• Physical ability test: A test instrument used to determine an individual’s ability to perform the functions or tasks of a job where physical strength or endurance is required.

• Physical examination: A medical examination performed by a company physician or an independent physician to ascertain whether or not an individual is able to perform the physical requirements of a particular job.

• Piece rate: A per-piece rate system that pays employees based on the number of pieces produced.

• Pink slip: A written or verbal notice given to employees who are being terminated or laid-off.

• Plan administrator: An individual or plan sponsor designated by the instrument under which the plan is operated to be responsible for the administration of pension and welfare benefit plans.

• Premium only plan (POP): Considered to be the most basic type of Section 125 plan, a POP is a benefit plan that is designed to allow employees to elect to make premium contributions on either a pre-tax or post-tax basis.

• Policy: A written statement that reflects the employer’s standards and objectives relating to various employee activities and employment-related matters.

• Position control: A workforce planning tool that imposes certain rules or restrictions on the creation, and filling of positions as a means to manage and control the costs associated with any given position within the organization.

• Positive discipline: A disciplinary strategy geared toward reducing and improving an individual’s unfavorable behavior or conduct by rewarding positive behavior rather than focusing on and punishing negative behavior.

• Positive reinforcement: The process of acknowledging specific behaviors with positive feedback, such as a smile, praise or reward.

• Post-accident testing: The process of testing an employee involved in a workplace accident for the presence of drugs or alcohol.

• Post- tax contributions: Contributions made to a benefit plan that are subject to applicable state or federal tax withholding requirements.

• Practitioner: An individual who practices a learned profession.

• Predictive validity: Used in the test validation process to measure the relationship between test scores and actual job performance.

• Pre-employment testing: The practice of issuing tests to potential employees on a pre-employment basis in order to determine an applicant’s suitability for a certain position. These tests may include, but are not limited to, drug and alcohol tests, medical examinations, skills tests, physical agility tests, honesty/integrity tests or personality tests.

• Preexisting condition: Any condition for which a person is currently receiving treatment, has been advised to receive treatment or for which a prudent person would seek treatment.

• Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978: An amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, requiring pregnancy or related conditions to be treated in the same manner as any other temporary disability.

• Pre-tax contributions: Contributions made to a benefit plan that are exempt from all applicable state or federal tax withholding requirements.

• Premium pay: Additional compensation paid for work performed outside of regularly scheduled work hours.

• Prepaid group legal plan: A benefit plan that provides employees, their spouses or dependents with assistance in obtaining legal services, which have been prepaid in whole or in part by the employer.

• Prescription drug benefits: Typically a provision included in a group health plan designed to provide covered employees and their dependents with payment assistance for medically prescribed drugs.

• Prevailing wage: A rate of pay determined by the U.S. Department of Labor based upon the geographic area for a given class of labor and type of project.

• Prima facie case: Latin for “at first view” or “at first appearance,” a prima-facie case is a lawsuit that requires an employer to articulate a reason that sufficiently proves that any decision or action taken was made based on legitimate and nondiscriminatory factors.

• Privacy: Refers to information about an employee which he or she regards as personal or private (i.e., medical information, financial data, etc.) and the right of that individual to not have such information shared with others.

• Private letter ruling: A formal document issued by the Internal Revenue Service announcing tax decisions or changes.

• Probation: Used as a form of discipline, it is a specified period of time during which an individual’s performance or conduct is closely monitored.

• Probationary period: A specified period of time (typically 30-90 days) where a newly hired, promoted or transferred employee’s job performance is evaluated. Primarily used by supervisors to closely observe an employee’s work, help the employee adjust to the position and reject any employee whose performance does not meet required standards.

• Pro forma: The term pro forma comes from the Latin phrase meaning, "as a matter of form". The term is very broad and its meaning depends on the context in which it is being used. Basically it is a term used to describe the presentation of data, usually financial statements, where the data reflects information as if the state of the world were different from that which is in fact the case.

• Policy/procedures manual: A detailed written document designed to assist managers and supervisors in carrying out their day-to-day responsibilities by acquainting them with all of the organization's policies and the procedures required to implement those policies.

• Process reengineering: The process of improving business practices or methods by creating and implementing new processes or making changes to existing processes.

• Professional Employer Organization (PEO): An organization that enters into a join-employment relationship with an employer, by leasing employees to the employer, allowing the PEO to share and manage many employer-related responsibilities and liabilities. Employers outsource their human resource functions, such employee benefits, compensation and payroll administration, workers’ compensation and employment taxes.

• Profit sharing plan: A qualified retirement plan established and maintained by an employer which enables employees and their beneficiaries to participate in the profits of the employer's business.

• Progressive discipline: A form of discipline whereby increasingly harsher penalties are awarded each time an employee is disciplined for the same or a different performance infraction or policy or work-rule violation. Generally, the sequence is an oral warning to written warnings to suspension and finally termination.

• Promotion: Career advancement within an organization, which includes increased authority, level of responsibility, status and pay.

• Proprietary information: Information associated with a company's products, business or activities, including such items as financial data; trade secrets; product research and development; product designs; marketing plans or techniques; computer programs; processes; and know-how that has been clearly identified and communicated by the company as proprietary, a trade secret or confidential.

• Protected characteristics: Legal terminology referring to areas protected by federal or state statutes.

• Protected class: A legal term describing certain groups, such as women, older and disabled individuals, Vietnam-era veterans and minorities.

• Psychological test: A written, visual or verbal assessment administered to determine cognitive and emotional skills.

• Qualified domestic relations order (QDRO): An order, decree, judgment or administrative notice (including a settlement agreement) that establishes the rights of another person (the “alternate payee”) to benefits; issued by a domestic relations court or other court of competent jurisdiction or through an administrative process established under state law.

• Qualified medical child support order (QMCSO): An order, decree, judgment or administrative notice (including a settlement agreement) requiring health coverage for a child; issued by a domestic relations court or other court of competent jurisdiction or through an administrative process established under state law.

• Qualified plan: A defined benefit or defined contribution pension plan covered by ERISA and IRS regulations qualifying for certain tax advantages for both the employer and the participant.

• Qualified special disabled veteran: A special disabled veteran who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the employment position such veteran holds or desires and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of such position.

• Quality assurance: Activities or programs whose purpose is to demonstrate and ensure that products and services meet specifications and are consistently of high quality.

• Quality audit: The process of examining the elements of a quality management system in order to evaluate how well they comply with quality system specifications.

• Quality circle: A carefully selected group of employees who voluntarily meet on a regular basis to identify problems and make recommendation by using various techniques for analyzing and solving work-related problems.

• Quality control: Activities or programs whose purpose is to ensure that all quality specifications for products or services are being met and are of consistently high quality.

• Quality improvement: Any system or process designed to enhance an organization's ability to meet quality requirements.

• Quid pro quo: Legal terminology essentially meaning “what for what” or “something for something.” It is the concept of getting something of value in exchange for giving something of value.

• Quid pro quo harassment: Quid pro harassment involves expressed or implied demands for sexual favors in exchange for some benefit (a promotion, pay increase, etc.) or to avoid some detriment (termination, demotion, etc.) in the workplace. By definition, it can only be perpetrated by someone in a position of power or authority over another (i.e., manager or supervisor over a subordinate).

• Quit: A voluntary resignation from employment that is initiated by the employee.

• Quota system: In affirmative action systems, it is a means of attempting to achieve workplace balance by hiring and/or promoting specified numbers or ratios of minorities or women in positions from which they have been excluded.

• Race-norming: The practice of adjusting employment test scores to compensate for racial differences.

• Random testing: Drug and alcohol tests administered by an employer that selects employees to be tested on a random basis.

• Rank order: A rating method where the performance of a group, process or product is arranged in a particular order, such as highest to lowest.

• Reasonable accommodation: Modifying or adjusting a job process or a work environment to better enable a qualified individual with a disability to be considered for or perform the essential functions of a job.

• Reasonable person standard: A standard used in sexual harassment suits, referring to conduct or behavior so offensive in nature that any reasonable person, regardless of sex, would agree the conduct or behavior should be illegal.

• Reasonable suspicion testing: A drug or alcohol test administered to an employee due to a performance or policy infraction or poor or erratic behavior.

• Reassignment: Transferring individuals to alternative positions where their talents or skills may be best utilized to their own or the organization’s benefit or where they are better able to perform the job in accordance with required standards.

• Reciprocity: A relationship between states or other taxing jurisdictions whereby privileges granted by one are returned by the other under a reciprocal agreement.

• Reciprocal review: An appraisal method where the subordinate and the manager are evaluated by each other based on agreed-upon performance criteria.

• Recognition: An acknowledgement of an employee’s exceptional performance or achievements expressed in the form of praise, commendation or gratitude.

• Recordable illness/injury: All occupational injuries and illnesses that require more than basic first aid treatment, or deaths that occurred in the workplace.

• Recruitment: The practice of soliciting and actively seeking applicants to fill recently vacated or newly created positions using a variety of methods (i.e., internal job postings, advertising in newspapers or electronic job boards/sites, utilizing search firms, or listing position with trade and professional associations, etc).

• Red circle rate: A pay rate that is above the maximum range assigned to the job grade. Employees are usually not eligible for additional pay increases until the range maximums exceed the individual pay rate.

• Redeployment: The reassignment of employees to other departments or functions as an alternative to laying them off.

• Reduction in force: An involuntary separation of an employee or groups of employees due to economic pressures, lack of work, organizational changes or other reasons of business necessity that require a reduction in staff.

• Reengineering: The redesigning of business and work processes, policies or organizational structure.

• Reference checking: The process of verifying information supplied by applicants on an application or resume.

• Regression analysis: A statistical measure used to discover relationships between variables such as performance ratings and promotions.

• Regular full/part-time employee: An individual who has been hired by an employer to work a predetermined amount of hours per week in a position/appointment of indefinite duration.

• Rehabilitation Act of 1998: A federal statute requiring federal agencies to ensure that electronic and information technology systems are accessible to individuals with disabilities when their jobs require the use of electronic or information technology systems.

• Reinforcement: The practice of providing positive feedback to an individual or groups of individuals after completion of a particular project or achievement of a particular goal.:

• Release agreement: A type of legal written document executed by an employer and signed by an employee whereby the employee relinquishes certain rights in exchange for some form of consideration, such as a benefit the employee would not have otherwise received had he or she not been discharged.

• Reliability: A measure of the ability of a test or other appraisal instrument to evaluate what is being measured on a consistent basis.

• Religious accommodation: An accommodation made for an employee, such as time off from work, so that he or she may observe a religious holiday or attend a religious ceremony or their day of Sabbath such as Saturday or Sunday.

• Relocation assistance: A type of benefit offered to employees who accept work assignments in new locations. Typically takes the form of assistance with moving costs, travel expenses, temporary lodging and home-buying/selling.

• Remedial counseling: A type of employee counseling used to correct performance or behavior-related issues.

• Remedial training: Describes a method of teaching intended to help people who have basic skills deficiencies, such reading or writing.

• Remediation: A strategy designed to conquer a deficiency in an employee’s behavior, performance or skills.

• Remote employees: Employees who work off company premises and are removed from their supervisors or mangers.

• Remote managers: A manager who supervises employees who perform their work at a site other then the employer’s premises.

• Repatriate: The process of returning to the United States after being placed on a long-term international assignment.

• Reprimand: An oral or written reproach given to an employee as part of disciplinary action.

• Request for proposal (RFP): A document an organization sends to a vendor inviting the vendor to submit a bid for a product or service.

• Resident alien: A resident alien is a lawful permanent resident of the United States at any time if he or she has been given the privilege, according to the immigration laws, of residing permanently as an immigrant. This status usually exists if the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services has issued a green card.

• Resolution: The disposition of a disagreement or grievance through alternative dispute resolution methods.

• Restrictive covenant: A contract clause requiring executives or other highly skilled employees to refrain from seeking and obtaining employment with competitor organizations in a specific geographical region and for a specified period of time.

• Restructuring: Changing an organizational structure in order to make it more efficient and cost effective.

• Resume: A written document outlining an individual’s work experience, skills, educational background, accomplishments and other related information supporting his or her career goal.

• Retaliatory discharge: A form of discriminatory discharge that occurs when an employer dismisses an employee as retaliation against the employee for a specific action.

• Retention bonus: An incentive payment used to entice employees from leaving the organization. Typically employees are asked to sign an agreement stating they will remain employed for a specific duration or until the completion of a particular task or project in order to be eligible for the bonus.

• Retiree skill bank: A pool of retired former employees who are rehired on a temporary or contractual basis.

• Retirement plan: A written qualified or nonqualified benefit plan, funded by employer and employee contributions, that provides retirement income benefits for employees.

• Retraining: Training that is provided for a certain job to enable an employee to acquire the necessary skills to work with new processes, procedures or equipment.

• Return on investment (ROI): A ratio of the benefit or profit derived from a specific investment, compared with the cost of the investment itself.

• Reverse discrimination: Employment policies or practices that result in discriminatory treatment against applicants or employees who are not minorities or members of a disadvantaged group.

• Reward system: A formal or informal program used to recognize individual employee achievements, such as accomplishment of goals or projects or submission of creative ideas.

• Rightsizing: An approach to reducing staff, whereby jobs are prioritized in order to identify and eliminate unnecessary work. This method uses a selection criteria based on individual jobs, rather than people, in order to avoid possibly laying off the wrong employees.

• Right-to-know: An OSHA standard providing workers with protection from hazardous substances in the workplace by requiring employers to keep employees informed of any hazardous substances that they may be working with, as well as the hazards and symptoms associated with the substance.

• Right-to-sue letter: A letter issued by the EEOC, once a charge has been recorded and processed, informing individuals who filed the charge that they have the right to further pursue their charges in a federal or state court.

• Right-to-work: A state law preventing labor-management agreements requiring an individual to join a union as a condition of employment.

• Risk management: The use of insurance and other strategies in an effort to minimize an organization’s exposure to liability in the event a loss or injury occurs.

• Role playing: A training method in which each participant purposely acts out or assumes a particular character or role.

• Rolling year: Under FMLA regulations, a rolling year is defined as a 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee first uses leave.

• Rotational training: A training method where employees are rotated among a variety of different jobs, departments or company functions for a certain period of time.

• Rural sourcing: An outsourcing method that is based on transferring jobs away from higher cost urban areas to lower cost rural areas.

• Sabbatical: A voluntary arrangement whereby an employer allows an employee paid or unpaid leave for a specified duration of time in order for the employee to pursue a course of advanced training, teach or perform a public service. In education, it is a period of time college or university teachers are allowed to stop their usual work in order to study or travel, usually while continuing to be paid (typically every seven years).

• Safe Harbor Regulations: Guidelines regulated by the Department of Labor, which, when fully complied with, may reduce or limit the liability of a plan fiduciary.

• Safety training: A teaching tool used to help employees become more safety-conscious in all aspects of safety.

• Salary compression: Pay differentials too small to be considered equitable. The term may apply to differences between (1) the pay of supervisors and subordinates; (2) the pay of experienced and newly hired incumbents of the same job; and (3) pay-range midpoints in successive job grades.

• Salary grade: A compensation level expressed as a salary range, which has been established for each position within the organization.

• Salary range: A range of pay rates, from minimum to maximum, set for a specific pay grade.

• Salary structure: A structure of job grades and pay ranges established within an organization. May be expressed as job grades or job evaluation points.

• Sales compensation: A compensation system designed for individuals employed in managerial sales or sales representative positions. Individuals are paid on a commission or percentage of sale basis, in accordance with achieving specified sales goals.

• Salting: Refers to paid union organizers who apply for jobs with an employer for the purpose of organizing the employer’s workforce.

• Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was enacted to increase accountability of corporations to their shareholders in the wake of recent accounting scandals. There are many financial provisions that are not germane to HR basics. Two provisions are of special interest to HR professionals--the whistleblower protection provision and the 401(k) blackout notice provision.

• Scalability: The degree to which a computer application or component can be expanded in size, volume or number of users served and continue to function properly.

• Scanlon Plan: A gain sharing program in which employees share in specific cost savings that are due to employee effort. The Scanlon Plan involves much employee participation, predating quality circles with most of the same techniques.

• Schedule interview: An interviewing format in which each candidate is asked for the same exact information.

• School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994: A national effort to develop a school-to-work system to assist students in making the transition from school to the adult workforce. The goal of the Act is to create well-marked paths students can follow to move from school to good first jobs or from school to continued education and training. The Act focuses on broadening educational and career opportunities for all students by encouraging state and local partnerships between businesses and educational institutions.

• S corporation: Business enterprise allowed by the IRS for most companies with 75 or fewer shareholders, enabling the company to enjoy the benefits of incorporation while being taxed as if it were a partnership.

• Screening: Usually the first step taken during the interviewing process, involving reviewing prospective candidate applications/resumes, verifying information supplied by the candidate, conducting interviews and examining test results.

• Search firm: An organization or individual consultants working on a retainer or fee basis who provide the service of searching and screening potential candidates for prospective employers. Typically search firms are retained for higher-level professional or managerial positions.

• Self-directed teams: A multi-skilled, cross-functional group of employees possessing full empowerment who share responsibilities for producing a particular service or product.

• Self-employed: An individual who has earned income for the current or preceding year from self-employment, within the meaning of I.R.C. §401(c) (2), or an individual who would have had such income, except for the fact that the relevant business did not incur a profit for the year.

• Self-funding/self-insurance: A benefit plan whereby the employer assumes all the risk, paying out for claims but saving the cost of any associated premiums.

• Seminar: A facilitator-directed meeting or conference consisting of groups of individuals gathered to study a specific subject matter.

• Semi-skilled Worker: Semi-skilled workers have to be able to read, write and communicate but are usually not required to have educational or apprenticeship credentials to qualify for jobs. Training time is short, task specific and generally doesn’t require much in terms of reasoning skills.

• Seniority: Status determined by the length of time an employee has worked for a specific employer, department or position within the organization.

• Sensitivity training: A form of individual counseling geared toward increasing self-awareness and sensitivity to others. It aims to assist key employees in developing their leadership skills surrounding issues of diversity and harassment prevention.

• Serious health condition: An illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice or residential medical care facility; or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

• Service award: Part of a formal or informal recognition program that rewards employees based on length of service.

• Severance pay: A form of short-term salary continuation awarded to employees who are being terminated. Severance payments often equal one week's pay for each year of service.

• Sex Discrimination Act of 1975: The Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination against individuals based on sex or marital status in areas of employment, education, the provision of goods, facilities and services or in the management of premises.

• Sex discrimination: Discriminatory conduct or actions based on sex or pregnancy, as it relates to conditions of employment, benefits, pay and opportunities for advancement.

• Sexual harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

• Sexual orientation: The focus of a person's amorous or erotic desires and feelings toward members of the opposite or the same gender.

• Shareholder: An individual or corporation that owns shares in the corporation.

• Shift differential: Additional compensation, usually expressed as cents per hour, paid as an incentive for employees to accept working a less-then-desirable work shift (i.e., 2nd or 3rd shift).

• Short-term disability: A benefit designed to provide temporary income replacement for worker absent due to illness or injury, but who is expected to return to work within a specified timeframe.

• Sick leave: Paid time off granted to employees who are out of work due to an illness or injury.

• Simulation: An instructional method used to teach problem solving, procedures or operations by placing learners in situations akin to reality.

• Situational leadership: A management theory stating that different situations call for different leadership styles and that essentially there is no one best way to lead.

• Six Sigma: Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven methodology used to eliminate defects and improve processes and cut costs from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.

• Skill: Ability to perform a mental or motor activity that contributes to the effective performance of a job task.

• Skill-based pay: A salary differentiation system that bases compensation on an individual’s education, experience, knowledge, skills or specialized training.

• Skill gap: A deficiency in basic writing, reading, mathematical or oral communication skills.

• Skills inventory: A list of skills or competencies possessed by an individual.

• Skills training: Training provided to employees to help them ascertain the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their current jobs; also used as a retraining method when new systems or processes are introduced.

• Slander: False defamation expressed as spoken words, signs or gestures, which cause damage to the character or reputation of the individual being defamed.

• Slow learner: A term used to describe individuals with mental disabilities and an IQ of between 75 and 90.

• Social Security: A federal program under the Social Security Act which provides for retirement, disability and other related benefits for workers and their eligible dependents.

• Social Security card: A card issued by the Social Security Administration displaying an individual’s full legal name and social security number assigned to the individual.

• Soft skills: Skills required to perform a certain job where the job is defined in terms of expected outcomes, but the process to achieve the outcome varies.

• Sole proprietorship: A business enterprise in which an individual is fully and personally liable for all the obligations of the business, is entitled to all profits and exercises complete managerial control.

• Span of control: A management principle expressing that a limit exists to the number of people an individual can effectively and successfully manage.

• Special disabled veteran: A person entitled to disability compensation under laws administered by the Veterans Administration for disability rated at 30 percent or more; or rated at 10-20 percent in the case of a veteran who has been determined to have a serious employment handicap under 38 USC 3106; or a person whose discharge or release from active duty was for a service-connected disability incurred.

• Specialization: A principle stating that, as an organization grows, work within the organization needs to be divided in order to keep jobs from becoming so specialized or complex that they require a greater range of skills that essentially can not be performed by one individual.

• Spot rewards: Cash and noncash awards given to employees for ideas submitted or accomplishments benefiting the organization.

• Staffing: The function within an organization responsible for recruitment, screening and selection of employees. Oftentimes, this function may also be responsible for other areas of employment, such as orientation, retention, training and termination of staff.

• Staffing metrics: Measures used to determine costs associated with recruitment and hiring, time to fill/start for open positions and recruiter workload/activity.

• Staff leasing: The practice of an employer directly hiring an employee on a temporary basis for an indefinite period of time instead of utilizing the services of a temporary staffing agency.

• Stakeholder: Someone with a vested interest in the successful completion or outcome of a project.

• Standard deviation: A statistic used as a measure of the dispersion or variation in a distribution, equal to the square root of the arithmetic mean of the squares of the deviations from the arithmetic mean.

• Standard error: Statistical estimate of possible size error present in a test score or other group measure.

• Standardization: Design and implementation of consistent specifications for procedures, practices, materials, machinery or other equipment or other types of products and services.

• Standardized interview: A form of interviewing that uses the same subject matter and identically sequenced questions, then evaluating responses to determine the differences between candidates.

• Standardized testing: A written test, the scores of which are interpreted by referencing the scores of a norm group that has taken the test and which is considered to be representative of the population that takes the test.

• Standard score: A score derived from the mean performance of a group on a test, as well as the comparative performance of all the individuals who took the test.

• Standard operating procedures: A prescribed written procedure outlining how recurring tasks, duties and functions are to be performed organization-wide.

• Statute of limitation: Laws prescribing deadlines for filing lawsuits within a certain time after events, which are the source of the claim, occur.

• Statutory benefits: Benefits that are mandated by federal or state laws, such as Social Security, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation.

• Stock option plan: An organizational program that it that grants employees the option of purchasing a specific number of stock in the company at a future date.

• Stop loss insurance: A contract established between a self-insured employer and an insurance provider providing for carrier coverage if a claim incurred exceeds a specified dollar amount over a predetermined period of time.

• Strategic HR: The process of taking a long-term approach to Human Resource Management through the development and implementation of HR programs that address and solve business problems and directly contribute to major long-term business objectives.

• Strategic planning: The process of identifying an organization's long-term goals and objectives and then determining the best approach for achieving those goals and objectives.

• Strategic staffing: The practice of hiring smaller core numbers of permanent employees and utilizing temporary employees to fill more highly specialized positions within the organization.

• Stress interview: An interviewing style whereby the interviewer subjects a candidate to pressure or stress to ascertain how the candidate reacts under such conditions.

• Stress management: The design and implementation of workplace programs and services intended to combat employee stress and improve overall employee morale, effectiveness and productivity.

• Strike: Occurs when employees deliberately refuse to perform their jobs and/or form picket lines outside the employer’s premises to prevent or discourage others from working in their place or conducting business with the employer.

• Structured interview: A structured interview asks the same questions of each candidate, so that valid comparisons of the quality of responses can be obtained. The questions generally take four job-related forms: situational, observational, personal and behavioral.

• Subject matter expert: An individual who has expertise in a business process or specific area.

• Subordinate appraisal: An appraisal system whereby managerial employees are evaluated by their subordinates.

• Subsidiary: A company having more than half of its stock owned by another company or is completely owned by another company.

• Substance abuse: Defined as a destructive pattern of substance (i.e., narcotics or alcohol) use leading to clinically significant social, occupational or medical impairment.

• Succession planning: The process of identifying long-range needs and cultivating a supply of internal talent to meet those future needs. Used to anticipate the future needs of the organization and assist in finding, assessing and developing the human capital necessary to the strategy of the organization.

• Suggestion system: A system allowing employees to voice complaints, make recommendations or submit ideas regarding company policies, procedures, working conditions, benefits, etc.

• Summary annual report: A summarized report containing information on the financial status of an employee benefit plan.

• Summary material modifications: A summary of modifications or changes made to an employee benefit plan that is not included in the summary plan description.

• Summary plan description: A written statement that contains information regarding participation, coverage and employee rights for any ERISA-covered benefit plan.

• Supervisory/management development: Training provided to employees with the potential for promotion into supervisory or managerial-level positions within the organization or as a remedy for performance-related issues.

• Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (SUB): Typically found in collective bargaining agreements. SUB pay benefits are taxable payments form a fund which can be combined with state unemployment insurance benefits during periods of temporary layoff to provide a higher level of unemployment benefits during the term of layoff.

• Supranational: Involving more than one country or having authority which transcends one country, i.e., the European Union is a supranational organization.

• Survey: A data collection method used to assist organizations with problem identification, measuring employee morale or expectations and determining areas of concern.

• Suspension: A form of disciplinary action resulting in an employee being sent home without pay for a specified period of time (the Fair Labor Standards Act contains stricter rules relating to suspending salaried exempt employees without pay).

• SWOT Analysis: A SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning tool used to collect and evaluate information on an organization’s current Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a specific project or business venture.

• Systemic discrimination: A pattern of discrimination that on the surface appears neutral but in reality is systemic or through its application of policies and practices.

• 360-degree feedback: An appraisal process whereby an individual is rated on his or her performance by people who know something about the individual’s work. This can include direct reports, peers, managers, customers or clients; in fact, anybody who is credible to the individual and is familiar with his or her work can be included in the feedback process. The individual usually completes a self-assessment exercise on his or her performance, which is also used in the process.

• Talent Management: Broadly defined as the implementation of an integrated strategies or systems designed to increase workplace productivity by developing improved processes for attracting, developing, retaining and utilizing people with the required skills and aptitude to meet current and future business needs.

• Tangible rewards: Rewards that can be physically touched or held (i.e., a gift certificate, gifts in the form of merchandise or a savings bond.)

• Task analysis: Involves defining standards and conditions of a particular task and identifying the distinguishing factors between tasks.

• Task competencies: The specific activities and tasks that make up a particular job.

• Team building: A training program designed to assist a group of people to work together as a team while they are learning.

• Teamwork: Described as the practice of individuals working together in order to bring a variety of talents and experiences to achieve a common goal.

• Telecommuting: Working from a remote location (often one’s home workstation) using computers, telephones, facsimile machines and other remote capabilities, rather than commuting via automobile or other mode of transportation to and from an employer's work site to perform equivalent work.

• Teleconferencing: A conference established between two or more people or groups of people who are in different locations; made possible by the use of such telecommunications equipment as closed-circuit television

• Temporary employee: An individual who works on either short- or long-term assignments with an employer without being treated as a permanent employee and lacking the benefits of permanent employees. Normally utilized by employers to meet seasonal or other demands that they do not have the internal resources to meet.

• Temporary restraining order: Restraining and/or protective orders are examples of orders issued by a court restraining the conduct of an individual and protecting a victim from the activities of an abusive person.

• Temp-to-perm: The process of hiring employees on a temporary basis, usually through a temporary staffing agency, with the understanding that if the individual’s performance meets or exceeds expectations, he or she will be offered a permanent position within the organization.

• Termination: Separation from employment due to a voluntary resignation, layoff, retirement or dismissal.

• Termination-at-will: A rule allowing an employee or employer to terminate the employment relationship at any time for any or no reason at all.

• Termination Date: Normally the last date actually worked by an employee; however, for employers with accrued leave programs, paid leave programs, benefit continuation programs or severance pay programs which go beyond the last day worked, the termination date would be the date at which accruals, paid leave, benefit continuation or severance continuation ceases.

• Test security: An individual’s right to privacy, as it relates to information regarding test results, providing for informed consent of how test results are used.

• Theory X: States that some people have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever possible. These people need to be controlled and coerced by their managers to achieve production.

• Theory Y: Assumes that people have a psychological need to work and want achievement and responsibility. A manager's role with these people is to help them achieve their potential.

• Think tank: A group organized for the purpose of intensive research and problem solving, especially in the areas of technology, social or political strategy, or demographics.

• Third-party sexual harassment: Harassment of an employee by someone other than another employee, such as a client, customer, vendor or service provider.

• Time management: The discipline of utilizing time efficiently and well in order to achieve professional, personal or organizational objectives.

• Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Title VII is a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits discrimination in virtually every employment circumstance on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy or national origin. In general, Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The purpose of Title VII's protections is to "level the playing field" by forcing employers to consider only objective, job-related criteria in making employment decisions. Title VII must be considered when reviewing applications or resumes, when interviewing candidates, when testing job applicants and when considering employees for promotions, transfers or any other employment-related benefit or condition.

• Total compensation: The complete pay package awarded employees on an annual basis, including all forms of money, benefits, services and in-kind payments.

• Total quality management: A structured system that satisfies internal and external customers and suppliers by integrating the business environment, continuous improvement and breakthroughs with development, improvement and maintenance cycles.

• Total remuneration: The amount of monetary and non-monetary value to an employee of all the elements in the employment package, as well as any other intrinsic or extrinsic rewards of value to the employee.

• Trade secret: A trade secret consists of any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information used in one's business, which gives the business an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it.

• Trailing spouse: A term used to describe the spouse of an employee who has been transferred or relocated.

• Training aids: Any form of audio or visual materials used for training purposes.

• Training and development: A process dealing primarily with transferring or obtaining knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to carry out a specific activity or task.

• Training needs analysis: A method used to determine what people need to learn and which training programs may be beneficial. The result of the analysis is a training needs report identifying training needs and the interventions needed to reduce key performance gaps.

• Transfer: Moving an employee from one position, shift or department to another within the organization.

• Transformational leadership: A systematic form of leadership focusing on change and innovation. According to Bernard Bass, it is a form of leadership occurring when leaders “broaden and elevate the interests of their employees, when they generate awareness and acceptance of the purposes and the mission of the group and when they stir their employees to look beyond their own self-interest for the good of the group”

• Transitional employment: Provides alternative work arrangements, such as temporary light or modified duty, for employees who have been absent from the workplace as a result of illness or injury and who have been released by their medical provider to return to work.

• Transsexual: An individual who assumes the identity and acts the part of the gender opposite to his or her own biological sex due to a strong desire to be another sex.

• Transgender: A term applied to an individual whose physical appearance and behaviors do not conform to traditional gender roles.

• Trend analysis: The process of forecasting an organization’s staffing needs by analyzing past employment patterns in order to identify trends that may be expected to continue.

• Tuition assistance: A program designed to provide financial assistance to employees taking educational courses at an accredited college or university.

• Turkey trot: A term used to describe the practice of transferring problem or performance-challenged employees from one position or department to another with the expectation that the employee may improve under a new supervisor or in a different work atmosphere.

• Turnover: Describes changes in the work force resulting from voluntary or involuntary resignations.

• Turnover costs: Costs associated with a separation of employment, including items such as unemployment compensation, COBRA benefits continuation costs, the cost of conducting exit interviews, as well as costs associated with replacing an employee, such as advertising, pre-employment testing, time and materials for new hire orientation, training and lost productivity.

• Turnover rate: The number of separations during a month, including both voluntary and involuntary terminations (excluding layoffs). The turnover rate is calculated by taking the number of separations during a month divided by the average number of employees on the payroll multiplied by 100.

• Underutilization: As part of the affirmative action process, this report is used to determine whether certain members of protected groups are being inadequately represented within the workforce. The report uses information based on the geographic area and positions within the organization.

• Unemployment insurance (UI): A statutory benefit. Unemployment insurance is designed to provide workers who have been laid off a weekly income during short periods of unemployment. The system is run and funded by state and federal taxes paid by employers.

• Unemployment rate: The number of individuals unemployed as a percentage of the labor force.

• Unfair labor practice (ULP): An unfair labor practice (ULP) is a violation of a right protected by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. The ULP procedures provided by the Statute are part of the basic mechanisms by which the parties are protected in the exercise of their rights.

• Unfairly discriminatory: An action or policy resulting in members of protected groups becoming disadvantaged in relation to the employer’s selection, hiring, promotion, pay and training opportunities, when said person(s) are as equally qualified and have the same potential to be successful.

• Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures of 1978: The Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures address the use of interviewing, testing, training and other employee selection tools and their impact on discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Specifically addressed is adverse impact, measured by the 80% test, which states that if a selection practice yields less than 80% of a protected group, as compared with the most frequently selected group, there may be evidence of discrimination. The guidelines also require employers to maintain records, for an unspecified period of time, on their selection procedures and any adverse impact noted, as well as records of the employer's workforce broken down by race and ethnic groups.

• Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994: The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA, or the Act), signed into law on October 13, 1994, clarifies and strengthens the Veterans’ Reemployment Rights (VRR) Statute. USERRA is intended to minimize the disadvantages to an individual that can occur when that person needs to be absent from his or her civilian employment in order to serve in the uniformed services. USERRA makes major improvements in protecting service member rights and benefits by clarifying the law and improving enforcement mechanisms. USERRA expands the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for uniformed services duty and retain reemployment rights.

• Union: A formal organization certified by the National Labor Relations Board and authorized to act on behalf of employees regarding wages, benefits, working conditions, conditions of employment and job security.

• Union Shop: A form of union security that requires employees to join the union, within a certain time after they are hired or after a compulsory-unionism contract is executed, and to maintain their membership as a condition of employment.

• Unretirement: The practice of hiring retired former employees whose skills or qualifications are in need.

• Unsafe acts: Any action, such as horseplay, fighting, failing to abide by a safety rule, etc., that results in accident or injury to another.

• Unsafe conditions: Hazards, such as faulty equipment or tools, improper safety procedures, failure to improperly guard equipment, etc., that result or have the potential to result in an accident or injury to another.

• Unskilled worker: Someone who is not required to use reasoning in their work: Examples: packager, assembler, laborer, hand, apprentice

• Unwelcome behavior/conduct: Conduct or behavior by peers, subordinates or supervisors that is objectionable or unacceptable to an individual.

• Upward mobility: The process of preparing minorities for promotion into higher-level jobs, such as managerial positions.

• Utilization management: Review and analysis of health care programs to determine cost control methods. Involves reviewing claims for potential utilization problems.

• U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): On March 1, 2003, service and benefit functions of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) transitioned into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS is responsible for the administration of immigration and naturalization adjudication functions and establishing immigration services policies and priorities.

• Vacation buy-back plan: A program that allows an employee to sell back to the employer any unused vacation time balances.

• Vacation buying/selling/trading: A program that allows employees to buy additional vacation time from another employee or sell additional time they may have available to another employee. Some programs also allow for trading of future vacation time.

• Vacation carryover: A policy allowing employees to transfer a portion of their current year vacation balances for use in the next year. The amount of time that can be carried over is based on the employer’s policy.

• Validity: The general concept of validity is traditionally defined as "the degree to which a test measures what it claims, or purports, to be measuring." Validity is normally subdivided into three categories: content, criterion-related and construct validity. Validity is an essential characteristic for all tests and test ratings.

• Value-added work: Work that increases the value of a service or product to the employer’s customers.

• Value statement: A document outlining and representing the core priorities in the organization’s culture.

• Variance forecasting: A measure that utilizes a demand and availability forecast to determine whether an organization has the ability to meet future manpower needs.

• Vertical disintegration: Used to describe organizations that over time shed layer after layer of full-time permanent employees and replace them with temporary workers until their workforce primarily consists of temporary employees.

• Vertical management: A traditional organizational structure consisting of primary functions (i.e., engineering, manufacturing, finance, etc.), with each function having its own manager.

• Vertical organization: An organizational structure consisting of many layers of management or other positions of authority.

• Vesting: An employee’s right to receive present or future pension benefits, even if the employee does not remain in the service of the employer.

• Vestibule training: A form of training conducted outside of the workplace to acclimate newly hired employees with procedures and equipment or tools to be used in their jobs.

• Veterans Benefit Improvement Act of 2004: An act signed into law by President Bush on December 10, 2004 that amended portions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), imparting certain reemployment and benefit protections to individuals who are and employees engaged in military service. The act requires that employers extend the period for continuation of health care coverage and requires employers to provide covered employees with appropriate notice of their rights, benefits and responsibilities under USERRA.

• Vietnam Era Veteran: Defined as an individual who served on active duty for more than 180 days, any part of which occurred during the period between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975, and who received other than a dishonorable discharge, as defined in the regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974.

• Virtual HR: The use of technology to provide HR programs via an employee self-service platform. Typically includes use of such items as voice response systems, employee kiosks, etc.

• Virtual mentoring: A form of mentoring whereby the mentor and mentored communicate from a distance, utilizing either e-mail or other forms of electronic conferencing.

• Virtual office/workplace: The work site of employees such as sales reps or other types of employees who work off company premises and communicate with their respective workplaces via telephone or computer.

• Vision statement: A vision statement is a description of what an organization wants to become or hopes to accomplish in the future (typically in the next 10 years).

• Voluntary leave/layoff: Leave without pay that is taken on a voluntary basis by employees for specified duration. Often used as an alternative to layoff.

• Voluntary reduction in hours: Allows employees to voluntarily reduce their working hours as well as their pay for a specified duration. Also used as an alternative to layoff.

• Volunteerism: Organizational support, often in the form of paid leave or sponsorship, for employees pursuing volunteer opportunities or performing community services.

• V-time: An alternative work schedule that allows employees to voluntarily agree to reduce their work time and pay.

• Wage and salary administration: Procedures used for planning and administering organization-wide compensation programs for all levels of employees.

• Wage and salary survey: A benchmark report consisting of market pay data for a variety of jobs conducted either on a local or nationwide basis. Used to evaluate an organization’s own current pay structures and as a future compensation planning tool.

• Wage curve: Depicts pay rates currently being paid for each job within a pay grade in relation with the rankings awarded to each job during the job evaluation process.

• Wage gap: The difference in pay between female employees and male employees who are performing the same or comparable jobs.

• Wage garnishment: Usually in the form of a court order, a garnishment requires withholding a portion of an employee’s earnings for repayment of a debt.

• Wage differential: Differences in wage rates for similar jobs occurring either due to the location of company, hours of work, working conditions, type of product manufactured or other circumstances.

• Wage structure: Depicts the range of pay rates to be paid for each grade for various positions within the organization.

• Waiver: A document signed by either an employee or prospective employee in which he or she renounces certain specified rights or considerations.

• Weingarten Rule: The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Labor Board that employees have a right, protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, to insist upon union representation during an investigatory interview by the employer, provided the employee "reasonably believes" the interview "might result in disciplinary action." This right arises from Section 7's "guarantee of the right of employees to act in concert for mutual aid and protection." The right applies to unionized employees and is limited to situations where the employee specifically requests representation. The employer is not legally required to advise the employee of this right, and it applies only to investigatory meetings.

• Welfare plan: A plan designed to provide employees with coverage for medical or hospital care and surgical procedures. May also include other benefits, such as vacation or scholarship programs.

• Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit: The Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit is a federal income tax credit that encourages employers to hire long-term family assistance recipients, who begin to work any time after December 31, 1997, and before January, 2004. Established by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, the tax credit can reduce employers' federal tax liability per new hire.

• Well child care: Health care benefits that provide payment for routine office visits and physical examinations, immunizations and laboratory tests for dependent children.

• Wellness program: Programs, such as on-site or subsidized fitness centers, health screenings, smoking cessation, weight reduction/management, health awareness and education, that target keeping employees healthy, thereby lowering employer’s costs associated with absenteeism, lost productivity and increased health insurance claims.

• Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989: Whistleblower protection is the federal law that provides protection to employees against retaliation for reporting illegal acts of employers. An employer may not rightfully retaliate in any way, such as discharging, demoting, suspending or harassing the whistle blower. Employer retaliation of any kind may result in the whistle blower filing a charge with a government agency and/or filing a law suit against the employer.

• White collar employees: Employees who are paid on a salaried basis and whose jobs do not require the performance of work of a manual nature. Such individuals are normally employed in the capacity of managers, supervisors, salespeople, clerical or technical workers and meet the criteria of the FLSA white collar exemption test.

• Willful misconduct: Willful misconduct is defined as any action, taken by an employee consciously and willfully, that is deliberately malicious or violates a company policy. Willful misconduct can include such things as: willful or deliberate behavior inconsistent with the continuation of employment; conduct causing imminent and serious risk to a person’s health, safety, reputation or the viability or profitability of the employer’s business; theft, assault or fraud; being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work; or refusing to carry out a lawful and reasonable instruction consistent with an employment policy.


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