Absence or Absent (Unscheduled)
1.Unscheduled time off from work that occurs when an employee is not present at work during a normally scheduled work period.

Absent or Absence (Scheduled)
1.Scheduled time off from work that occurs when an employee is not present at work during a normally scheduled work period.

Absenteeism Policy

1.A policy that provides guidance within an organization about how to manage absence from work.


1.A change in workplace methods, procedures, equipment, schedules or plan arrangements that facilitates the performance of job tasks performed by workers with special needs.

Accountable Plan
1.A reimbursement or allowance arrangement for employees business expenses (e.g., travel and meals) in which the reimbursement or allowance is excluded from the employeesincome.
Accumulated Benefit Obligation

1.An approximate measure of the liability of a pension plan in the event of a termination at the date the calculation is performed.

ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)

1.A law that amended the Americans with Disabilities Act to broaden the definition of “disability.”  The law’s broader scope makes it easier for employees’ impairments to qualify as a disability.

Administrative Law Judge

1.In the United States, an official who presides at an administrative hearing to resolve a dispute between a government agency and someone affected by a decision made by that agency.

Administrative Services Only

1.Type of contract with an insurance company or a third-party administrator that provides an employer with administrative services. It does not provide coverage for risk of insurance protection. The usual expenses covered include claims processing, plan design advice and printing benefit booklets.

Adverse Action

1.An act by an employer that negatively affects an employee, such as rejecting a job application, demoting or terminating an employee, or denying a promotion.

Adverse Impact

1.A policy or practice that, while neutral on its face, disproportionately affects members of minorities and other protected groups.

Affirmative Action

1.Process in which employers identify problem areas, set goals, and take positive steps to enhance opportunities for protected-class members.

2.Steps that are taken for the purpose of eliminating the present effects of past discrimination.

Affirmative Action Plan

1.A program designed to promote equal opportunities with regards to recruiting, hiring, training, and compensating workers by formulating practical steps to address the underutilization of specific groups.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
1.A federal law that prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age and older. Sets standards for pension and benefits provided by employers and requires that information about the needs of older workers be provided to the public.

Agency Shop
1.A situation in which a union represents all employees, regardless of their union membership, but requires that non-members pay union dues or fees on the assumption that union efforts benefit all workers.

1.An individual authorized to make contracts on behalf of an employer and bind an employer to those contracts. Employees or independent contractors may or may not act as agents.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

1.A dispute resolution process that falls outside the governmental judicial process; techniques include negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

American Arbitration Association

1.An organization that administers mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)
1.A federal economic stimulus package that included provisions affecting employers, including a COBRA subsidy program and new HIPAA requirements.

American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)

1.ASTD is the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

1.The Americans with Disability Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment decisions such as hiring, promotion, training, compensation, and termination.

Anniversary Date

1.The date an employee was hired.

1.A payment of money that is made yearly for the life of the person who is entitled to the payment.

Applicant Pool
1.All persons who are actually evaluated for selection.

Applicant Population

1.A subset of the labor force population that is available for selection using a particular recruiting approach.

Application Form

1.The form by which an applicant provides information on education, prior work record, and skills to an employer.

Appraisal Interview
1.An interview in which the supervisor and subordinate review the subordinates performance appraisal and make plans to remedy deficiencies and reinforce strengths.

1.A process of learning a skilled occupation through a combination of classroom training and on-the-job training.


1.A method of dispute resolution in which the parties agree to present evidence and arguments to a neutral party and abide by the decision of the neutral party.

Assessment Center

1.A collection of instruments and exercises designed to diagnose individuals strengths as well as their development needs.

At-Will Employment

1.A doctrine stating that in the absence of a written employment contract, the employer-employee relationship is one that generally may be ended by either party for any reason or no reason at all. There are several exceptions to the doctrine, including the statutory exception (e.g. firing the employee violates nondiscrimination law), the public policy exception (most states), and the implied-contract exception (most states).

Attitude Survey
1.One that focuses on employee feelings and beliefs about their jobs and the organization.


1.A process whereby the jobs of incumbents who leave are not filled.


1.An investigation, especially a review of records and procedures, whose purpose is to assess compliance with a law, regulation, or practice.

Availability Analysis
1.An analysis that identifies the number of protected-class members available to work in the appropriated labor markets in given jobs.



Back Pay

1.Earnings granted to an employee, usually by the court, which represent the difference between wages already paid to the employee and higher wages to which he or she was entitled but did not receive.

Background Screening

1.Investigations typically used during the pre-employment process to uncover an applicant’s criminal history, previous work experience, educational qualifications, and overall fit for the position he or she is seeking.

Bankruptcy Garnishment

1.A portion of an employee’s wages that is deducted for court-ordered bankruptcy payments. The amount is withheld from the employee’s disposable earnings.

Bargaining Unit

1.A group of employees who, by reason of the similarity of their jobs, form a unit appropriate for bargaining with management on issues pertaining to wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Base Pay

1.The basic compensation an employee receives, usually as a wage or salary.

Behavioral Interview1.A type of interview that attempts to determine if an individual has the behavioral characteristics that have been selected as necessary for success in a particular job. Behavioral interviews ask the candidate to pinpoint instances in which a specific behavior was exhibited in the past.


1.The person entitled to receive benefits under a plan, including the covered employee and his or her dependents.


1.Items that make up an employee’s total compensation package. These items often include things like health insurance, retirement plans, vacation time and life insurance.

Benefits Needs Analysis

1.A comprehensive look at all aspects of the company’s benefits program to determine which benefits will likely yield the highest return on investment.

Bereavement Policy

1.A time off program for employees to use when a family member, relative, or friend dies.

Best Practice

1.A method for accomplishing a goal that is most commonly used in an industry and is considered to be the most effective and reliable approach.

Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ)

1.A specific job-related requirement that is legitimate and considered a precursor to hiring a candidate for a position.


1.A one-time payment that does not become part of the employee’s base pay.

Breach of Contract

1.Failure to perform as required under a valid agreement with another party.


1.Practice of using fewer pay grades having broader ranges than that which is found in traditional compensation systems.


1.The reassignment of a senior employee to a position vacated by a junior employee as a result of a reduction in workforce.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

1.A government agency that produces economic data reflecting the state of the U.S. economy; the most well-known being the Consumer Price Index, Unemployment Rate, and the Producer Price Index.

Business Agent

1.A fulltime union official who operates the union office and assists union members.

Business Casual Dress Code

1.A policy by which employees are permitted to dress in more casual attire than traditional business clothing. Instead of business suits, for example, employees may wear a button-down shirt and khakis.

Business Necessity

1.Specific job-related requirement which is considered by the employer to be fundamental to the mission of the business; sometimes used as a defense against discrimination claims regarding employee selection.




Cafeteria Benefits

1.A benefit plan in which an employee can pick and choose among a number of fringe benefits up to a designated dollar amount, in addition to the universal benefits granted to all employees.

Calendar Quarter

1.One of four periods consisting of three consecutive calendar months (that is, January 1 through March 31, April 1 through June 30, July 1 through September 30, or October 1 through December 31)

Caregiver Leave

1.A type of leave given to employees under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) so they can care for a family member who is a member of the armed forces and who is undergoing medical treatment or who is medically unfit to perform military duties due to an injury or illness incurred while on (or aggravated by) active duty.

Catch-Up Contributions

1.An additional amount that may be contributed to an individual’s retirement plan upon reaching age 50.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

1.A federal agency that administers Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Central Tendency

1.The tendency of a rater to give average ratings.

Change Agent

1.Individuals responsible for fostering the compay’s change effort and assisting employees in adapting to the changes.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

1.The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

1.The corporate officer primarily responsible for managing the financial risks of a business. This executive is also responsible for financial planning and recordkeeping.

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

1.A company executive who is responsible for the management, implementation and usability of information and computer technologies.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

1.The senior manager who is responsible for managing the company’s day-to-day operations and reporting them to the chief executive officer.

Child Labor

1.The employment of minors under the age of 18.  In the United States, child labor laws define the hours and occupations children are permitted to work.

Child Support Garnishment

1.A portion of an employee’s wages that is deducted for court-ordered child support payments. The amount is withheld from the employee’s disposable earnings.

Childcare Assistance

1.A benefit that helps employees pay for childcare while they work.


1.Summons informing employers and employees of the regulations and standards that have been violated in the workplace.

Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA)

1.Replaced Executive Order 11491 as the basic law governing labor relations for federal employees.

Clayton Act

1.Labor legislation that attempted to limit the use of injunctions against union activities.

Closed Shop

1.A firm that requires individuals to join a union before they can be hired.

Co-payment or Co-pay

1.Employee payment for a portion of the cost of both insurance premiums and medical care.


1.A method used by managers and supervisors to provide positive or constructive feedback to employees to help them excel.

COBRA General Notice (Initial Notice of Rights)

1.A notice that employers must provide to all covered employees and their qualified dependents within 90 days of becoming eligible for group health insurance and following a COBRA qualifying event.

Cognitive Ability Tests

1.Test that measures the thinking, memory, reasoning, verbal, and mathematical abilities of an individual.

Collective Bargaining

1.Process whereby representatives of management and workers negotiate over wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.


1.Compensation computed as a percentage of sales in units or dollars

Commission on Civil Rights

1.A commission that appraises civil rights laws and policies of the U.S. government, follows legal developments regarding discrimination, investigates allegations that U.S. citizens are being denied their civil rights, and evaluates equal opportunity programs.

Common Law

1.A law developed through previous judicial decisions (i.e. legal precedent) rather than through the legislative branch of government.

Commuter Assistance

1.A benefit offered to employees to help them pay for the cost of commuting to work.


1.The average of the employee’s actual pay divided by the pay range midpoint within the job grade.

Comparable Worth Theory

1.A theory of pay structures requiring that jobs which, though not similar in duties, are of comparable economic value to the employer and should carry equal rates of pay (some states require that comparable worth jobs be paid equally, particularly in the public sector).

Compensable Factor

1.A job value commonly present throughout a group of jobs that is used for determining compensation.

Compensatory Damages

1.Money that is awarded in a judicial proceeding to compensate a party for injury to persons or property.

Compensatory Time Off

1.Hours given in lieu of payment for extra time worked. Typically only permitted in the public sector.


1.A knowledge, skill, or ability required for an employee to excel in a particular job.

Competency Model

1.Similar to a job analysis, a systematic way to gather and analyze information regarding the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) needed to perform a specific job function. Competency Models are defined in specific behavioral terms and are usually better adapted to overall company objectives and initiatives, as they describe the competencies needed to be successful in the organization as a whole.

Complaint Procedure

1.A formalized procedure in an organization through which an employee seeks resolution of a work problem.

Compressed Workweek

1.A work schedule in which a full week’s work is accomplished in fewer than five days.


1.Process by which a third party attempts to keep union and management negotiators talking so that they can reach a voluntary settlement.

Conflict Resolution

1.A process by which workplace disputes are settled, such as through negotiation and mediation.

Consent Order

1.A court order entered with the consent of all parties to a judicial proceeding; a settlement that has been adopted by a court.

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

1.A law that gives workers and their families the right to choose to continue group health benefits for limited periods if they lose their group health benefits because of voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other qualifying life events.

Constructive Discharge

1.A situation in which an employee quits because work conditions have become so intolerable.

Contingency Plan

1.A plan for dealing with emergencies and extraordinary situations.

Contingent Worker

1.A temporary or part-time worker.

Continuous Process Improvement

1.A total quality management concept whereby employees work toward 100 percent effectiveness on the job.

Contract Administration

1.Implementing, interpreting, and monitoring the negotiated agreement between labor and management.

Contractual Rights

1.Rights based on a specific contractual agreement between employer and employee.


1.An amount an employer pays into a plan for all those participating in the plan, or an amount an employee pays into a plan for his or her benefit.

Contributory Plan

1.Pension plan in which the money for pension benefits is paid in by both employees and employers.

Core Competency

1.Skill, knowledge, or ability that is fundamental to a job.

2.A unique business or employee capability that differentiates the organization from its competition.

Core-Plus Plans

1.A flexible benefits program whereby employees are provided core benefit coverage and then are permitted to buy additional benefits from a menu.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

1.Comparison of costs and benefits associated with training and other employment-related actions.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

1.An adjustment made in wages that corresponds with a change in the cost of living.

Craft Union

1.One whose members do one type of work, often using specialized skills and training.

Credit Union Deduction

1.An amount deducted from an employee’s wages for a contribution to a credit union.

Creditable Coverage (Medicare Part D)

1.Prescription drug coverage offered by an employer or other entity that is expected to pay on average as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage. Entities whose policies include prescription drug coverage must notify Medicare eligible policyholders whether their prescription drug coverage is considered “creditable.”

Creditor Garnishment

1.An amount that is deducted from an employee’s wages, as a result of a court order, to pay a creditor.

Cut Score

1.A point at which applicants scoring below a predetermined point (cut-score) on an employment-related test are rejected.



Daily Pay

1.The amount of regular wages paid to an employee on a daily basis.

Davis-Bacon Act

1.A law that sets wage rates for laborers employed by federal contractors.


1.An exclusion or preclusion from something; in business terms, usually refers to an exclusion from subcontracting with the government.


1.Process whereby a union is removed as the representative of a group of employees.


1.The amount of covered expenses that the insured must pay before a plan or insurance contract starts to reimburse for eligible expenses.


1.A statement that tends to hold a person up to contempt, ridicule, or ill-repute; may form the grounds for a lawsuit if it is untrue.

Defined Benefit Plan

1.Retirement plan that is designed to provide each participant with a fixed income at retirement.

2.One in which an employee is promised a pension amount based on age and service.

Defined Contribution Plan

1.A plan providing for an individual account for each participant, and for benefits based solely on the amount contributed to the account, plus or minus income, gains, expenses and losses allocated to the account.


1.A reduction in an employee’s rank or status, which typically involves the removal of responsibilities and the loss of privileges and/or pay that are associated with a more senior rank.

Department of Labor (DOL)

1.A federal agency responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and other employment-related activities.


1.A person who relies on another individual for financial support.

Dependent on Experience (DOE)

1.A method used to determine salaries of new hires based on years of experience relevant to the current position.

Differential Piece-Rate System

1.A system in which employees are paid one piece-rate wage for units produced up to a standard output and a higher piece-rate wage for units produced over the standard.

Direct Deposit

1.A method by which an employee’s pay is deposited directly into his or her bank account.


1.A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Disabled Person

1.Someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits life activities, who has record of such an impairment, or who is regarded as having such an impairment.


1.A process for dealing with job-related behavior that does not meet expected and communicated performance standards.


1.A revelation of something; the uncovering of a fact previously hidden or unknown


1.Unfair treatment of an employee based on a protected characteristic.

Disparate Impact (also known as adverse impact)

1.A form of discrimination in which an employer’s policy or practice, while neutral on its face, has a disproportionate effect on a protected class.

Distributive Bargaining

1.A competitive, confrontational bargaining strategy.


1.The variety of differences among employees.

Docking of Pay

1.A reduction in an employee’s pay for time away from work or for disciplinary sanctions. State laws govern the permissibility of pay docking.

Domestic Partnership

1.An intimate, committed relationship between two unrelated individuals who live together and who aren’t married; a spousal equivalent.

Double Time

1.An amount paid to an employee that is two times their regular rate of pay. Some states require employees to be paid double time for working beyond a certain number of hours per day or week.


1.A euphemism used for cutting back on the number of employees.

2.A layoff of workers.


1.An amount advanced from and repaid to future commissions earned by the employee.

Drug-Free Workplace Act

1.A law that requires contractors and grantees to agree to provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a contract or grant from a federal agency.

Due Process

1.Means used for individuals to explain and defend their actions against charges or discipline.

Due Process of Law

1.Any set of legal procedures that is guaranteed to a party by virtue of a statute, constitution, or judicial decision.

Duties Test

1.A test for determining whether a job qualifies for one of the exemptions from the overtime and minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Other tests include the salary test and the salary-basis test.




1.The use of the Internet or an organizational intranet to conduct training.


1.An online program operated by the federal government that allows employers to use information provided on Form I-9 to verify whether newly hired employees are authorized to work in the United States.

Early Retirement

1.Retirement that commences before the designated standard age of retirement, which is usually accompanied by fewer pension benefits. In some cases, companies will offer early retirement programs as a way to avoid layoffs.

Earned Income Tax Credit

1.A refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families.

Earnings Statement

1.A detailed description of an employee’s year-to-date earnings, including amount withheld for taxes and other deductions.

Economic Strike

1.An impasse that results from the ability of labor and management to agree on the wages, hours, terms, and conditions of a “new” contract.

Educational Assistance

1.A benefit provided by employers to help employees pay for improving their education.

EEO-1 Report

1.A form that employers use to provide the federal government with a count of their workforce by ethnicity, race, and gender. Employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with federal government contracts of $50,000 or more and 50 or more employees are required to file the report annually.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

1.A system that handles financial transactions between two accounts electronically, such as payment of employment taxes or payment of employee wages.

Electronic Monitoring

1.Electronic systems for tracking employee use of an employer’s equipment and resources while on the job.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

1.Employer-sponsored programs designed to provide confidential counseling for problems concerning health, marital difficulties, alcohol and drug abuse, stress, or other things that may affect an employee’s work performance.

Employee Counseling

1.A process whereby employees are guided in overcoming performance problems.

Employee Development

1.Future-oriented training, focusing on the personal growth of the employee.

Employee Handbook

1.A booklet with policies and other documents describing important aspects of employment with the company.

Employee Leasing

1.Hiring temporary employees for long periods of time.

Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 (EPPA)

1.Prohibits most employers from using polygraph tests, also known as lie detector tests, when making employment decisions. There are a few limited exceptions to the EPPA, such as exemptions for certain government contractors, public employees, security personnel and drug company employees.

Employee Referral Program

1.A program by which an employer offers incentives to employees who refer someone they know for an open position.

Employee Referrals

1.A recommendation from a current employee regarding a job applicant.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

1.Law passed in 1974 designed to protect employee retirement benefits.

Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)

1.A program by which an employer offers incentives to employees who refer someone they know for an open position.

Employee Survey

1.A survey of employees’ attitudes about their job, work environment, compensation, and/or benefits.

Employer Processing Fee

1.An amount that is deducted from an employee’s wages for garnishment processing. Limits regarding these fees are set by the Consumer Credit Protection Agency.

Employment and Training Administration (ETA)

1.The mission of the ETA, as part of the U.S. Department of Labor, is to contribute to the more efficient and effective functioning of the U.S. labor market by providing high quality job training, employment, labor market information, and income maintenance services primarily through State and local workforce development systems.

Employment At-Will

1.See At-Will Employment

Employment Contract

1.Agreement that formally outlines the details of employment.

Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)

1.A form that is required by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to document eligibility for employment in the United States. All employees, citizens and non-citizens hired after November 6, 1986 must complete Section 1 of this form at the time of hire.

Employment Test

1.An assessment used as the basis for making an employment-related decision.

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)

1.Prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants on the basis of race, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

1.A federal agency tasked with ending employment discrimination in the United States.

Equal Pay Act (EPA)

1.A federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in compensation.

Equal Pay Theory

1.A theory that men and women should be paid equally for performing equal work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.


1.The perceived fairness between what a person does and what the person receives.


1.The study and design of the work environment to address physiological and physical demands on individuals. Pertaining to an arrangement of physical tasks in such a way as to accommodate the functions and limitations of the human body.

Essential Functions

1.Duties that are basic or fundamental to a position.

2.Under the ADA, reasonable accommodation must be made in order for a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a position.


1.A set of moral principles that guide an employer’s and its employees’ actions.

Exception Reporting

1.A process for creating a report when timekeeping or other data fall outside acceptable norms.

Executive Order (EO)

1.An edict issued by a member of the executive branch of a government, usually the head of that branch.

Executive Order 10988

1.Affirmed the right of federal employees to join unions and granted restricted bargaining rights to these employees.

Executive Order 11491

1.Designed to make federal labor relations more like those in the private sector. Also established the Federal Labor Relations Council.

Exempt Employee

1.An employee who is exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Exit Interview

1.An interview with an employee who is leaving the company. Such a meeting gives employers an opportunity to inquire about the exiting employee’s reason for leaving and their opinion of the company.

Experience Rating

1.A figure used by workers’ compensation insurers and state unemployment authorities in calculating premium rates or contribution rates based on an employer’s claims history.




1.A neutral third-party individual who conducts a hearing to gather evidence and testimony from the parties regarding the differences between them.

Factor Comparison Method

1.A method of job analysis in which job factors are compared to determine the worth of the job.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

1.Federal law (codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.) that regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer credit information.

Fair Employment Practice

1.A manner of operating in which there is no discrimination on the basis of factors that do not apply to job performance, such as race, gender, and religion.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

1.Also known as the federal Wage and Hour law, the Act regulates minimum wage, overtime, equal pay, child labor and recordkeeping requirements for virtually all employers.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

1.A law that gives employees job-protected unpaid time off after the birth or adoption of a child, for personal illness, or to care for a sick family member.

Family-Friendly Benefits

1.Flexible benefits that are supportive of caring for family.

Federal Agency Garnishment

1.A portion of an employee’s wages that is deducted by court order from the employee’s disposable earnings for payments due to the federal government.

Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)

1.A federal tax identification number assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Any business offering products or services that are taxed must obtain a FEIN.

Federal Income Tax

1.Funds deducted from an employee’s earnings to finance federally funded programs.

Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)

1.A United States employment tax imposed in an equal amount on employees and employers to fund federal programs for retirees, the disabled, and children of deceased workers.

Federal Labor Relations Authority

1.An independent agency of the United States government. Created by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, it governs labor relations between the Federal government and its employees.

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service

1.An independent agency of the United States Government, founded in 1947, which provides mediation services to industry, community and government agencies worldwide.

Federal Pay Employee Comparability Act of 1990

1.A law that attempted to address the need for pay reform in the executive branch of the United States Government that became apparent in the 1980s as Federal civil service salaries fell behind those in the private sector.

Federal Trade Commission

1.An independent agency of the United States government that was established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act. Its principal mission is the promotion of consumer protection and the elimination and prevention of anticompetitive business practices.

Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA)

1.A United States federal law that authorizes the Internal Revenue Service to collect a federal employer tax used to fund state workforce agencies.


1.A trustee; a person to whom money or property has been turned over to be managed and taken care of for the benefit of others.

Fiscal Year

1.Twelve month period chosen by the company and approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to report the company’s annual performance.

Flexible Benefits Plan

1.A plan that allows employees to select the benefits they prefer from groups of benefits established by the employer.

Flexible Spending Account

1.Benefit account which allows the employee to set aside money on a pretax basis to pay for certain benefits.

Flexible Staffing

1.Use of recruiting sources and workers who are not traditional employees.

Flexible Work Arrangement

1.A work schedule that differs from the traditional 8-hour day, Monday through Friday work schedule.


1.Scheduling arrangement in which employees work a set number of hours per day by varying starting and ending times.

Forced Distribution

1.Performance appraisal method in which ratings of employees’ performance are distributed along a bell-shaped curve

Forced-Choice Appraisal

1.A type of performance appraisal method in which the rater must choose between two specific statements about an employee’s work behavior.


1.Use of information from the past and present to identify expected future conditions


1.A job classification that typically affords employees more rights and benefits than part-time employees. Typically, full-time employees work 40 or more hours per week; however, employers may have different definitions of full time.

Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs)

1.The number of employees comparable to a full-time employee, calculated by dividing total hours worked in all part-time and full-time jobs by the hours worked in a standard full-time job.


1.A layoff from work, usually a temporary one.




1.The sharing with employees of greater-then-expected gain in profits and/or productivity.


1.A legal procedure in which a person’s earnings are required by court order to be withheld by an employer for the payment of a debt such as child support.

General Duty Clause (OSHA)

1.A clause under the Occupational Safety and Health Act requiring employers to provide employees with a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing, or likely to cause, death or serious physical harm.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)

1.A law prohibiting employers from using an individual’s genetic information to make employment-related decisions.  The law also prohibits group health plans from denying coverage to individuals based solely on a genetic predisposition to developing a disease in the future.

Golden Parachute

1.A severance benefit that provides protection and security to executives in the event that their employment is terminated.

Good Faith Bargaining

1.Both parties are communicating and negotiating. Proposals are being matched with counter-proposals with both parties making every reasonable effort to arrive at an agreement. It does not mean that either party is compelled to agree to a proposal.

Good Faith Effort

1.A sincere and honest motive or intent. When evaluating an employer’s compliance with various requirements, courts typically look to determine whether a good faith effort was made by the employer in order to comply with a specific law or requirement.

Government Contractor

1.A private company or organization that has a contract with the government to produce goods or services.

Grandfather Clause

1.Language in a statute or regulation that exempts an otherwise covered entity because of its status prior to the adoption of the statute or regulation.

Green Card

1.Another term for an INS Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151 or I-551); an immigrant visa that allows an alien to become a permanent resident of the U.S. and lawfully secure work.

Green-Circled Employee

1.An incumbent who is paid below the range set for the job.


1.A complaint filed by an employee, typically in writing, describing an unsatisfactory working condition.

Grievance Arbitration

1.Means by which a third party settles disputes arising from different interpretations of a labor contract.

Grievance Procedures

1.Formal channels of communications used to resolve grievances.

Griggs v. The Duke Power Company Case

1.Supreme Court case in which the plaintiff argued that his employer’s requirement that coal handlers be high school graduates was unfairly discriminatory. In finding for the plaintiff, the court ruled that discrimination need not be overt to be illegal, that employment practices must be related to job performance, and that the burden of proof is on the employer to show that hiring standards are job related.

Gross Misconduct

1.Behavior that causes someone to lose their job as the result of actions that are more severe than poor performance or judgment.

Gross Pay

1.An employee’s pay before deductions for taxes and other items are made.

Gross Receipts

1.Total amount of sales attributed to an employee, used to determine how tips are allocated.

Group Order Ranking

1.A relative standard of performance characterized as placing employees into a particular classification, such as the top one-fifth.

Guaranteed Fair Treatment

1.Employer programs that are aimed at ensuring that all employees are treated fairly, generally by providing formalized well-documented and highly publicized vehicles through which employees can appeal any eligible issues.


Halo Effect

1.Rating an employee high on all items because of his or her performance in one area.

Handbook Disclaimer

1.A written statement intended to limit the scope of the employee handbook, usually addressing employees’ at-will status (i.e. the handbook doesn’t create an express or implied contract) and the employer’s ability to change policies at any time.

Hazard Communication Standard

1.An OSHA regulation that requires organizations to communicate to their employees hazardous chemicals they may encounter on the job and how to handle them safely.

Health Insurance

1.An insurance against financial loss because of an illness or injury.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

Acronyms: HIPAA

1.A law that  protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. HIPAA is also intended to protect patient privacy.

Health Maintenance Act

1.A law that established the requirement that companies offering traditional health insurance to its employees must also offer alternative health-care options.

Health Maintenance Organization

1.A type of Managed Care Organization (MCO) that provides a form of health insurance coverage that is fulfilled through hospitals, doctors, and other providers with which the HMO has a contract.

Health Promotion

1.A supportive approach to facilitate and encourage employees to enhance healthy actions and lifestyles.

Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)

1.An employer-funded reimbursement account for an employee’s medical expenses.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

1.A tax-advantaged savings account for medical expenses. Employees must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan in order to open a health savings account. Both employers and employees may contribute to the account.


1.A law that offers a payroll tax break to employers who hire new employees in 2010.


1.The action of selecting a candidate and establishing an employment relationship.


1.A day on which employees are generally exempt from work but are typically paid for such time. Some companies choose to observe federal holidays, others select the holidays they wish to observe.

Honesty Test

1.Any of a number of psychological surveys that attempt to expose an individual’s tendency to be dishonest.

Hostile Environment

1.A term used for the result of harassment that creates an abusive or intimidating working environment for the person being harassed.

Hot Cargo Clause

1.Clauses in union contracts permitting employees to refuse to handle or work on goods shipped from a struck plant. Most hot cargo clauses were made illegal by the Taft-Hartley Act, but there are some exceptions.

Hot-Stove Rule

1.Discipline should be immediate, provide ample warning, be consistent, and impersonal

Hourly Pay

1.Payments made based on the number of hours an employee works (pay per hour).

HR Audit

1.A formal research effort that evaluates the current state of HR management in an organization.

HR Generalist

1.A person with responsibility for performing a variety of HR activities.

HR Specialist

1.A person with in-depth knowledge and expertise in a limited area of HR.

HSA Employer Contribution

1.The elective amount that the employer contributes to the employee’s health savings account (HSA). The amount is not taxable for FIT, FICA, or FUTA.

Human Resource Information System (HRIS)

1.An integrated system designed to provide information used in HR decision making.

Human Resource Planning

1.Process of analyzing and identifying the need for, and availability of, human resources so that the organization can meet its objectives.

Human Resources

1.The organizational function charged with the responsibility of implementing strategies and policies relating to the management of individuals.

Human Resources Inventory

1.Describes the skills that are available within the organization.

Human Resources Management (HRM)

1.The design of formal systems in an organization to ensure effective and efficient use of human talent to accomplish organizational goals.



I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification)

  1. See Employment Eligibility Verification Form

Illegal Issues

1.Collective bargaining issues that would require either party to take illegal action.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)

1.Law designed to cut down on illegal immigration. Under IRCA, employers may only hire individuals who are authorized to work in the United States. Employers must verify the identity and employment eligibility of all hired employees by completing an I-9 form.


1.The state of being physically, mentally, or psychologically damaged or weakened.


1.A situation where labor and management cannot reach a satisfactory agreement.


1.To accuse of dishonesty; to discredit in a court.

Implied Contract

1.An enforceable contract between two parties that arises from the conduct or inferences made by one party to the other, without a formal agreement between the two. Certain verbal statements made to an employee may be considered an implied contract, altering the at-will relationship.


1.A special type of incentive plan using a specific mathematical formula for determining employee bonuses.

In-house Development Centers

1.A company-based method for exposing prospective manager to realistic exercises to develop improved management skills.


1.A factor that motivates employees.

Incentive Plan

1.A plan in which a production standard is set for a specific work group, and its members are paid incentives if the group exceeds the production standard.

Incentive Stock Option (ISO)

1.A type of employee stock option. When exercising ISOs, one does not have to pay income tax because the options are taxed at a capital gains rate instead.

Incident Rate

1.Number of injuries, illnesses, or lost workdays as it relates to a common base of 100 full-time employees.


1.Protection against loss; surety; guarantee; insurance.

Independent Contractor

1.A worker who performs specific tasks or projects for an employer and is not considered an employee. In determining whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor, information that provides evidence of the degree of control and independence of the worker must be considered. There are a variety of tests, including one provided by the IRS, that employers can use when making this determination.


1.The periodic and automatic adjustment of employee compensation to account for inflation in the economy.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

1.A special account in which an employee can set aside funds that will not be taxed until the employee retires.

Individual-centered Career Planning

1.Career planning that focuses on individuals’ careers rather than on organizational needs.


1.The process for welcoming a new employee into an organization. Generally, information pertaining to safety, the work environment, the new job description, benefits and eligibility, company culture, company history, and anything else relevant to working in the new company is covered.

Industrial Union

1.One that includes many persons working in the same industry or company, regardless of jobs held.

Informal Training

1.Training that occurs through interactions and feedback among employees and does not occur in a traditional classroom setting.

Initiation Fees

1.A one time deduction from an employee’s wages for union initiation dues.


1.A court order to refrain from particular conduct.


1.Willful disregard or disobedience of superior authority or legitimate order.

Insurance Reimbursement

1.The amount reimbursed to an employee as compensation for not participating in a company sponsored insurance plan. This amount is reported as regular wages on the employee’s W-2.

Integrated Disability Management Program

1.A benefit that combines disability insurance programs and efforts to reduce workers’ compensation claims.

Integrative Bargaining

1.Also known as interest-based bargaining, in which both parties collaborate to find a win-win solution for their dispute.

Intellectual Property

1.An intangible asset that is the product of the mind, such as patents and business methods.

Interest Arbitration

1.An impasse resolution technique used to settle contract negotiation disputes.

Intermittent Leave

1.FMLA leave taken in separate blocks of time instead of one continuous period.

Internal Applicant

1.A current employee who applies for a different position within the organization.

Internet Applicant Final Rule

1.Issued by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the rule addresses recordkeeping by Federal contractors and subcontractors about the Internet hiring process and the solicitation of race, gender, and ethnicity of internet applicants.


1.Supervised practical training offered to college students and recent college graduates.


1.Used as part of the selection process, interviews give both the applicant and the company an opportunity to learn more about one another.


1.An organizational network that operates over the Internet.



Job Abandonment

1.Occurs when an employee fails to report for work for an extended period of time without contacting the employer.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

1.Consulting service that offers information about job accommodations and the employability of individuals with disabilities.

Job Analysis

1.Systematic way to gather and analyze information about the content, context, and the human requirements of jobs.

Job Criteria

1.Important elements in a given job.

Job Description

1.Written statements that describe the duties, responsibilities, required qualifications, and reporting relationships of a particular job or position.

Job Design

1.Organizing tasks, duties, and responsibilities into a productive unit of work.

Job Enlargement

1.Broadening the scope of a job by expanding the number of different tasks to be performed.

Job Enrichment

1.Increasing the depth of a job by adding responsibilities to a job.

Job Evaluation

1.The systematic determination of the relative worth of jobs within an organization.

Job Offer Letter

1.A document that confirms the details of an offer of employment, typically including information such as job title, reporting relationship, salary, bonus potential, benefits, etc.

Job Posting

1.A system in which the employer provides notices of job openings.

Job Reinstatement

1.The return of an employee who has been on leave to his or her job.

Job Rotation

1.The process of shifting an employee from job to job in order for him or her to develop additional skills.

Job Satisfaction

1.A positive emotional state resulting from evaluating one’s job experience.

Job Sharing

1.An alternative work arrangement in which two or more people work the same job for an employer.

Job Specifications

1.Part of a job description, a list of the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that a job requires.

Job Training Partnership Act (JPTA)

1.The JTPA was designed to improve employment status of disadvantaged young adults, dislocated workers, and people dealing with barriers to gaining employment.

Jury Duty

1.The civic duty to serve on a jury.

Just Cause

1.Reasonable justification for taking employment-related action.


Labor Force Population

1.The body of people who are at least 14 years old who are actively employed or who are seeking employment.

Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA)

1.Amended the Wagner Act of 1935 to outlaw closed shops and prohibit unions from using union monies for national elections. The LMRA also defined unfair union practices, instituted an 80 day cooling off period for strikes threatening national safety and allowed suits for breach of contract against unions.

Labor Market

1.The external supply pool from which workers compete for jobs and employers compete for workers.

Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA)

1.The act, also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act, was passed in 1959 to eliminate union corruption. It provided for a bill of rights for union members which included procedures to be followed in union elections, the ability to sue unions, and the right to have a copy of the collective bargaining agreement. Additionally, certain forms of picketing were outlawed as well as Hot Cargo clauses.


1.A suspension or dismissal of employees because of a lack of work or corporate reorganization.

Learning Curve

1.A graph that depicts the rate of learning by expressing the relationship between experience and efficiency. As employees become more experienced with a task they often become more efficient at the task. The implication is that the more times a task is performed, the less time will be required on each subsequent iteration.

Leave Allotment

1.Refers to the total amount of time an eligible employee is entitled to leave per year under applicable laws.

Leave Bank

1.Sometimes referred to as a paid time off or PTO bank, a leave bank is a certain number of days of leave from which an employee can draw upon to use for vacation, sick, or personal reasons.

Leave of Absence

1.A length of time for which an employee has permission to be absent from work.

Legislating Love

1.Company policies and guidelines regarding personal relationships at work.

Leniency Error

1.Occurs when a rater consistently rates employees higher than what is deserved for each performance dimension.

Living Wage

1.A sufficient wage for an individual to afford the basic costs of living and raising a family in a particular community.

Lock-out/Tag-out Regulations

1.OSHA regulations intended to prevent accidents to employees who are servicing machines and other equipment. The lock-out/tag-out regulations call for the control of energy-isolating devices by attaching locks to prevent the machine from being operated, or tags that warn employees not to start up the machine.


1.Tactic used by employers in labor disputes, in which employees are locked out of the workplace or otherwise denied employment until a labor settlement is reached.

Lump-Sum Distribution

1.A one-time payment for an entire amount due, rather than breaking payments into smaller installments. Some lump-sum distributions receive special tax breaks.

Lump-Sum Increase

1.Merit increase awarded as a one-time lump sum bonus of all or part of an employee’s annual pay increase.


Managed Care

1.Plan to control employer’s health care cost through the introduction of protocols for health care providers, and to improve the methods used by employers and employees to select health care providers. Patients are enrolled in the plan and payments are made to health care providers on behalf of its members, thus shifting the financial risk for health care to providers rather than patients and payers.

Management By Objectives

1.Process of agreeing upon objectives within an organization so that management and employees buy into the goals and gain clarity surrounding what they are and how to attain them.

Management Development

1.An organization’s strategic investment in the training of its managers in order to improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Management Rights

1.Those rights reserved to the employer to manage, direct, and control its business.

Mandated Benefits

1.Benefits that U.S. employers must provide to employees as ordered by federal and state law. Examples of such benefits include COBRA, workers’ compensation, social security, and unemployment compensation.

Mandatory Issue

1.A collective bargaining issue identified specifically by labor laws or court decisions as a subject that is required to be addressed in a bargaining agreement.

Marginal Function

1.A duty that is part of a job but incidental or ancillary to the purpose and nature of a job. Such functions often only occupy a small percentage of an employee’s time.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

Acronyms: MSDS

1.A document containing information about the properties and safe handling of a chemical substance.

Maturity Curve

1.Curve that depicts the relationship between experience and pay levels. A typical maturity curve demonstrates a rapid rate of increase in pay in the early stages of growth and then a leveling off with increased maturity.

McDonnell-Douglas Corp v. Green

1.U.S. Supreme Court case in which Green believed he was rejected for a position at the McDonnell Douglas Corporation due to his race. The Supreme Court decided that Green must show that the company’s stated reason for his rejection was in fact a pretext for discrimination. The ruling established the concept of disparate treatment.

Meal Period

1.A break in which employees are relieved from duty for the purpose of eating meals. Meal Periods are governed by State law.


1.Non-binding intervention between parties to promote resolution of a grievance, reconciliation, or compromise. Parties take part in a structured settlement negotiation through the guidance of a neutral negotiation expert.


1.State programs with federal matching funds for public health assistance to persons, regardless of age, whose income and resources are insufficient to pay for health care.

Medical Certification

1.A form that is completed by a healthcare provider and used to support an employee’s request for leave under the Family and Medical leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA establishes rules for medical certifications.

Medical Review Officer

1.A licensed physician responsible for reviewing drug test results to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the drug testing process.

Medical Support Garnishment

1.A portion of an employee’s wages that is deducted by court order to provide coverage for the cost of health services to a child eligible for medical assistance.


1.Federally sponsored program under the Social Security Act that provides hospital benefits, supplementary medical care, and catastrophic coverage to persons 65 years of age and older and to some younger persons who are covered under Social Security benefits.

Medicare Part D

1.A prescription drug benefit program for those enrolled in Medicare.


1.A health insurance policy sold by private insurance companies to cover costs that an original Medicare Plan doesn’t cover.

Membership-Based Rewards

1.Rewards that are distributed to all employees, regardless of their performance level.

Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA)

1.Requires that annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits be no lower than the dollar limits for medical and surgical benefits offered by a group health plan. The Mental Health Parity Act was amended by the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).

Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA)

1.Amended the Mental Health Parity Act to include equity for substance abuse disorders. The Act prohibits group health plans from limiting benefits and requiring higher patient costs for mental health/substance use disorder benefits than those that apply to medical or surgical benefits.

Mental Impairment

1.A mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.  The term is used in the Americans with Disabilities Act’s definition of disability.


1.A relationship in which experienced employees aid other employees in the early stages of their careers.

Merit Pay

1.Ties pay to measurable performance criteria. Bonuses are given to employees who perform their job according to such objective measures.

Merit System

1.Appointing and promoting government personnel on the basis of merit rather than political affiliation or loyalty. Such a system utilizes educational and occupational qualifications, testing, and job performance as criteria for selecting, hiring, and promoting such employees.

Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

1.Ensures that federal civil servants are hired, retained and promoted based on merit rather political patronage. The MSPB conducts studies of the merit systems, hears and decides charges of wrongdoing, and orders corrective disciplinary actions when appropriate.

Mileage Allowance

1.A rate by which an employer reimburses employees when they use their personal cars for company business.

Military Leave

1.A form of leave in which employees take time off for military service. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (– USERRA) and applicable state laws govern the rights of employees who go on military leave.

Minimum Wage

1.The lowest wage, determined by federal law, that an employer may pay an employee for a specified job. The federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 an hour. Many states also have minimum wage laws that call for a minimum wage greater than that which is established by federal law.

Minority/Female Business Enterprise

1.Business entity which is at least 51% owned and controlled by women or minorities.

Misc. Fringe Benefit

1.The value of a taxable fringe benefit an employee receives, such as a prize, club membership, or employer-provided vacation. The amount is reported as federal taxable wages on the employee’s W-2.

Misc. Pay

1.The amount paid to employees for any miscellaneous taxable wages that are not covered by any other earnings type.

Mission Statement

1.Summary of business goals and values; a definition of why the organization exists. The mission statement typically emerges as part of the strategic planning process in an attempt to attach meaning to an organization’s operations beyond merely financial profit.

Modular Plans

1.A flexible benefit system whereby employees choose a pre-designed package of benefits. This allows employees to utilize the benefits that are most important to their existing needs.

Money Purchase Plan

1.A retirement plan in which employers contribute a fixed amount (usually a percentage of the employee’s salary) annually.

Monthly Pay Period

1.A pay period in which employees are paid once per month.


1.A situation in which an employee works a second job, often at night.


National Emergency Strike

1.A strike that would significantly impact the national economy.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

1.Established by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, NIOSH is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injuries and illnesses.

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

1.Also known as the Wagner Act (1935), The NLRA guaranteed workers the right to join unions without fear of management retaliation. It created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to enforce this right and prohibited employers from committing unfair labor practices that might discourage organizing or prevent workers from negotiating a union contract.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

1.The agency created by the Wagner Act to investigate unfair labor practice charges and to provide for secret-ballot elections and majority rule in determining whether or not an organization’s employees want a union.

National Mediation Board (NMB)

1.Established by the 1934 amendments to the Railway Labor Act of 1926, the NMB provides a dispute resolution process to effectively minimize work stoppages in the airline and railroad industries.

National Origin

1.Refers to the country in which a person was born or from which his or her ancestors are descendants. Discrimination based on national origin is considered a violation of civil rights.

Negligent Hiring

1.The failure to properly investigate an applicant’s background, resulting in the hiring of someone with a history of violence, criminal activity, or other undesirable past. Employers have been found guilty of negligent hiring when an applicant’s past wasn’t properly investigated and after hiring the individual, he or she committed criminal acts against fellow employees, clients, or customers.

Negligent Referral

1.The failure to disclose complete and accurate information about former employees.


1.The employment of relatives and friends. Many U.S. businesses discourage nepotism in their personnel practices.

Net Pay

1.The amount of pay an employee receives after deductions for taxes and other items.


1.Building a web of interpersonal relationships for mutually beneficial purposes such as business referrals, customer acquisition, and complementary product offerings.

New Employee Orientation

1.Process of welcoming a new employee into an organization. New employee orientation, often spearheaded by a meeting with the Human Resources department, generally contains information about safety, the work environment, the new job description, benefits and eligibility, company culture, company history, and anything else relevant to working in the new company.

New Hire Reporting

1.The process by which employers must notify a designated state agency about newly hired employees.

Non-Compete Agreement

1.Places restrictions on an employee’s ability to work for an employer in the same line of business for a specified period of time, typically limited to a certain geographic area, following separation from the company. State laws govern the enforcement of non-compete agreements.

Non-Contributory Plan

1.Pension plan in which all the funds for pension benefits are provided by the employer.

Non-Creditable Coverage (Medicare Part D)

1.Employer-provided prescription drug coverage that isn’t expected to pay, on average, at least as much as the standard Medicare drug coverage.

Non-Exempt Employee

1.An employee entitled to minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Nondirective Interview

1.An unstructured interview that allows candidates to discuss their qualifications openly. The interviewer does not use a specific set of pre-established questions; he or she formulates their inquiries based on the interviewee’s answers to the previous questions.

Nonqualified Stock Option

1.The company offers employees an option to buy shares of stock at a fixed price. This option allows the employee to participate in the potential increase in the value of the stock, but without the risk of a cash investment.

Norris-LaGuardia Act

1.Also known as the Anti-Injunction Bill, a federal law that outlawed yellow-dog contracts, those in which a worker agreed as a condition of employment that he would not join a labor union.

Occupational Information Network (ONET)

1.The ONET system serves as the nation’s primary source of occupational information, providing comprehensive information on key attributes and characteristics of hundreds of jobs.

Occupational Outlook Handbook

1.A nationally recognized source of career and job information, designed to provide information regarding the training and education needed, the earning potential, and working conditions for hundreds of jobs.

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act

1.An Act concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of U.S. workers.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

1.A federal agency responsible for enforcing workplace safety and health laws and a host of whistleblower protections.

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

1.Part of the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration, OFCCP is responsible for ensuring that employers doing business with the Federal government comply with nondiscrimination laws.


1.Person outside the normal chain of command who acts as a problem solver for both management and employees.

On-Call Pay

1.The hourly wage paid to an employee as compensation for being available outside of their regular work schedule.


1.The process by which an employer integrates a new employee or a promoted employee into the organization and their new role.

Open Door Policy

1.A policy that promotes open communication between employees and managers by encouraging employees to approach their managers with thoughts, suggestions and concerns.

Open Shop

1.Workers are not required to join or financially support a union.

Opinion Survey

1.Communication device that uses questionnaires to ask employees their opinion of the company, management, and the work environment.


1.Process of welcoming a new employee into an organization. Orientation, often spearheaded by a meeting with the Human Resources department, generally covers information about safety, the work environment, the new job description, benefits and eligibility, company culture, company history, and anything else relevant to working within the new company.


1.A form (OSHA 300) by which employers classify work-related injuries and illnesses and note the extent and severity of each case.

OSHA-Approved State Plan

1.A workplace safety and health program operated and enforced by a state and approved and monitored by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.


1.Services designed to assist terminated employees in finding new employment.


1.Contracting with a second party to perform one or more of a company’s internal processes or functions. Functions that are most frequently outsourced include: payroll, 401(k) administration, and retirement planning.


1.Under federal law, the time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, payable at a rate of one and half times an employee’s regular hourly rate.

Paid Time Off (PTO) Policy

1.All-purpose time off policy for eligible employees to use for vacation, illness, injury, or personal business. PTO combines traditional vacation and sick leave plans into one flexible, inclusive policy.

Paired Comparison Method

1.An appraisal method for ranking employees by which each employee is compared to each of the other employees.

Pandemic Preparedness

1.A state of being ready for an epidemic of infectious disease that has spread across a large geographic area.

Panel Interview

1.An interview of a job candidate by two or more people.


1.The state of being equivalent. Under the Mental Health Parity Act, group health plans that offer mental health benefits must provide for the same coverage as offered for medical or surgical benefits.


1.Refers to the amount of hours spent working. Part-time employees typically work less than 40 hours per week and usually receive pro-rated benefits.

Pay Adjustment

1.The amount paid to employees as an adjustment to regular wages. The amount appears as taxable wages on the employee’s W-2.

Pay Advance

1.A taxable amount paid to an employee prior to actually earning it.

Pay Compression

1.Only a small difference in pay exists amongst employees, regardless of their skills or experience.

Pay Equity

1.Similarity in pay for all jobs requiring comparable levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Pay Grade

1.A grouping of individual jobs within a salary range.


1.Rewarding employees based on their performance.


1.A check with payment of wages or salary.


1.The day on which employers pay salaries and wages to employees.


1.A list of employees receiving wages or a salary and the amounts due to each.

Payroll Period

1.Period of service for which an employer pays wages to employees.

Payroll Register

1.A record of payroll information for a specific pay period. A payroll register typically contains multiple columns summarizing each employee’s hours worked, earnings (including regular pay, overtime, and vacation pay), deductions, gross pay, and net pay.

Peer Evaluation

1.A performance evaluation situation in which coworkers provide input into the employee’s performance.

Peer Orientation

1.Coworkers assist in orienting new employees.

Peer Review

1.A procedure for handling employee grievances in which a committee consisting of peer representatives of employees and management hear and decide on grievances.

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

1.A federal corporation created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to protect the pensions of American workers and retirees.

Pension Plan

1.Retirement benefits established and funded by employers and employees.

Per diem

1.Per day; an amount of money that is payable per day.

Performance Analysis

1.Verifying that there is a performance deficiency and determining whether that deficiency should be rectified through training or through some other means (such as transferring an employee).

Performance Appraisal

1.The process of evaluating how well employees perform their jobs when compared to a set of objective standards, and then communicating that information to employees.

Performance Management

1.Process used to identify, encourage, measure, evaluate, improve, and reward employee performance.

Performance Standards

1.Indicators of what the job accomplishes and how performance is measured in key areas of a job.

Performance-Based Pay

1.An incentive compensation model that rewards employees based on their personal, team, and/or organizational performance.

Permissive Issue

1.Collective bargaining issue that is not mandatory, but relates to certain jobs.

Perquisites (perks)

1.Special benefits, usually non-cash items, typically reserved for executives.

Personal Appearance

1.The manner in which one grooms and dresses. Policies governing personal appearance typically require employees to dress professionally and often prohibit clothing that is revealing or unkempt.

Personal Leave

1.A type of leave for personal matters that fall outside that with which is covered by other leave policies.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

1.Equipment designed to reduce employee exposure to hazards. OSHA has established when certain PPE is required.

Personnel File

1.Employee-related records that an employer retains.  Federal and state laws establish rules for record retention, privacy, and security. State laws also govern employee access to their personnel files.

Phased Retirement

1.A gradual transition into full retirement by reducing employee hours or job responsibilities.

Physical Ability Test

1.Test that measures individual abilities such as strength, endurance, and muscular movement.

Physical Demands

1.The physical activity, stress, or exertion required by a job. Physical demands may include an individual’s ability to stand for long periods of time or to lift a certain amount of weight.


1.A method of employee compensation in which the employee is paid for output (by the “piece”) rather than for time (by the hour).

Plan Administrator

1.The person who is identified in the plan document as having responsibility for running the benefits plan. It could be the employer, a committee of employees, a company executive, or someone hired for that purpose.

Plant-wide Incentive

1.An incentive system that rewards all members of the plant based on how well the entire group performed.

Polygraph Test

1.An instrument designed to measure the truthfulness of the test subject.  The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 (EPPA) prohibits most private employers from using polygraph tests.


1.A pension plan feature that allows employees to move their pension benefits from one employer to another.

Portal-to-Portal Act

1.Defines a compensable workday and dictates the circumstances when employers must pay employees for time spent traveling to and from the worksite.

Post-training Performance Method

1.Evaluating training programs based on how well employees can perform their jobs after they have received the training.

Pre-retirement Counseling

1.Employer-sponsored counseling aimed at providing information to ease the transition into retirement.

Pre-tax Deduction

1.Deductions that are made from an employee’s pay on a pre-tax basis for contributions to certain qualified benefit plans, such as a flexible spending account or 401(k) plans.

Preexisting Condition

1.A condition (usually physical) of an employee that exists prior to the commencement of health care under a group medical plan, which is oftentimes refused coverage.

Preexisting Condition

1.An employee’s condition (usually physical) that exists prior to the commencement of health coverage under a group health plan.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

1.A healthcare provider that contracts with an employer group to provide healthcare services to employees at a competitive rate.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act

1.An amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that prohibits sex discrimination based on “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions”.

Preliminary Notice of Adverse Action

1.A notice to an individual that the employer is planning to take an adverse action based on information contained in a consumer report.  The notice also includes information on the individual’s rights under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.


1.A periodic payment for health or other types of insurance.

Prevailing Wage

1.The wage, as determined by the government, that prevails among workers in a particular occupation and geographical area and that must be paid to workers in similar occupations on projects that are performed under government contracts.

Prima facie

1.A Latin expression meaning “on its first appearance,” used in common law jurisdictions to denote evidence that is sufficient to prove a particular proposition or fact. In most legal proceedings, one of the parties has the burden of proof, which requires that party to present prima facie evidence of all facts essential to its case. If that party fails to present prima facie evidence on any required element of its case, its claim may be dismissed without any response by the opposing party.

Primary Duty

1.The principal or most important duty that the employee performs. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, determination of an employee’s primary duty must be based on all the facts in a particular case, with the major emphasis on the character of the employee’s job as a whole.

Privacy Act

1.Requires federal government agencies to make available information in an individual’s personnel file.

Privacy Concern Case (OSHA)

1.A type of injury or illness for which an employer must not include the employee’s name on the OSHA 300 Log. OSHA defines which injuries and illnesses must be treated as  â€œprivacy concern cases.”


1.A measure of the quantity and quality of work done, considering the cost of the resources used.

Professional Employer Organization (PEO)

1.A company that handles human resources related functions – such as payroll, workers’ compensation and benefits administration – for client organizations. The PEO hires the client organization’s employees and becomes the employer of record for tax and insurance purposes. This practice is known as co-employment.

Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

1.Certification awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute. Signifies mastery of the human resources field.

Profit Sharing

1.Employees receive a percentage of the company’s profits.

Programmed Instruction

1.Material is learned in highly organized, logical sequence, often through self instruction. Students progress through a unit of study at their own rate, advancing only when ready.

Progressive Discipline

1.A process whereby repeated or unresolved performance and misconduct problems are met with more serious results over time. The sequence of consequences within the progressive discipline process typically involves the following: a verbal warning, written warning, suspension and/or termination of employment.

Project Management

1.Planning, organizing and managing resources in order to successfully complete a project.


1.The advancement of an employee from one position to another position with greater pay and responsibility.

Proprietary Information

1.Confidential ideas and information owned by the company, which generally may not be shared outside of the organization.

Protected Class

1.A group that is covered by antidiscrimination or fair employment practices laws. Characteristics currently protected under federal EEO laws include: age, sex, race, religion, disability, national origin, and genetic information. State laws may protect additional groups.

Protected Health Information (PHI)

1.Individually identifiable health information.

Psychomotor Test

1.Test that measures dexterity, hand-eye coordination, arm-hand steadiness, and other related factors.

Public Policy

1.A societal objective or interest; a legal right or obligation, expressed in a constitution, statute, regulation, or judicial decision, that benefits the general public.

Punitive Damages

1.Money that is awarded to a plaintiff in a judicial proceeding to punish a defendant for a wrongful act.



1.The standards, requirements, education, and training that must be met for an individual to be eligible for an open job.

Qualified Beneficiary

1.An employee, his/her spouse, and/or dependent children who are eligible to receive coverage under COBRA when group health care coverage would have otherwise been lost as the result of a qualifying event.

Qualifying Event (COBRA)

1.A term used by COBRA that refers to specific events that result in an employee’s or his/her spouse and/or dependent’s loss of health coverage, such as divorce, layoff, or termination. Such events qualify that individual or individuals to be covered under COBRA.

Qualifying Exigency

1.A set of situations defined by the Department of Labor that are eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act when an employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on (or has been notified of an impending call to) “covered active duty” in the Armed Forces.

Quality Circle

1.Small group of employees who monitor productivity and quality and suggest solutions to problems.

Quid pro quo

1.A demand for sexual favors in exchange for some job benefit, such as a promotion or raise.


Railway Labor Act

1.Federal law that governs labor relations in the railway and airline industries. The Act, which was passed in 1926, seeks to substitute bargaining, arbitration and mediation for strikes as a means of resolving labor disputes.


1.Listing of all employees from highest to lowest in performance.

Ranking Method

1.The simplest method of job evaluation that involves ranking each job relative to all other jobs, usually based on overall difficulty.

Rater Bias

1.Error that occurs when a rater’s values or prejudices distort the rating.


1.Process by which union members vote to accept the terms of a negotiated labor agreement.

Realistic Job Preview

1.A selection device that allows job candidates to learn negative as well as positive information about the job and organization.

Reasonable Accommodation

1.A modification or adjustment to a job or work environment so that a qualified individual with a disability can perform the essential functions of a job.


1.The act of bringing employees back to work following a temporary layoff.


1.Acknowledging employee achievements and accomplishments, verbally, in writing or with a material reward.


1.The process of retaining employee-related and other records within an organization.


1.Individual tasked with the responsibility of seeking and qualifying new employees for the organization.


1.The process of generating a pool of qualified applicants for a job.

Red-circled Employee

1.An incumbent who is paid above the range set for the job.

Reduced Schedule Leave

1.A type of FMLA leave involving a reduction in an employee’s work schedule. For example, an employee on FMLA leave with a serious health condition may only be able to work four hours per day, rather than the typical 8 hours per day. This type of arrangement would qualify as reduced schedule leave.

Reduced Work Hours

1.A downsizing concept whereby employees work fewer than forty hours and are paid accordingly.

Reductions in Force (RIF)

1.A dismissal of one or more employees because of a lack of business or due to a corporate reorganization; a layoff.


1.Reinventing workflow and processes within an organization to improve performance and efficiency.

Reference Check

1.A verification of an applicant’s background and fit for a job involving contact with the individual’s former employers, co-workers, and educational institutions.

Reinvestigation Request

1.A form submitted by an individual who is disputing information found in a consumer report and is seeking further investigation.

Relative Standards

1.Evaluating an employee’s performance by comparing the employee with other employees.

Relocation Assistance

1.A benefit provided when employers ask employees to move to a new location for a job.


1.Payment for goods provided or services rendered; compensation.

Repetitive Motion Injury

1.Any bodily injury sustained as a result of repetitive motions over a long period, particularly those performed in connection with employment.

Repetitive Stress Injury

1.A group of conditions that are caused when too much stress is placed on a joint, which typically occurs when the same action is performed over and over.

Replacement Charts

1.Organizational charts identifying positions that may become vacant in the near future and the individuals who may fill the vacancy.


1.An employee’s written or verbal notice to an employer that he or she is quitting the job.

Resignation Letter

1.A letter provided by an employee who is voluntarily separating from the company explaining their reason for leaving and indicating when their last day of employment will be.

Rest Period

1.Short breaks. If offered, the Fair Labor Standards Act considers breaks under 20 minutes to be compensable.


1.An action taken by an employer that has a negative impact on an employee because the employee has complained about or claimed wrongdoing against the employer.


1.An act or period of withdrawing from one’s work.

Retirement Equity Act (1984)

Acronyms: REA

1.An amendment to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 providing more benefits for surviving spouses, lowering the age for participation, and addressing gender equity concerns.

Retirement Plan

1.A plan set aside to pay for expenses once an individual retires. A 401(k) plan is one of the most common types of retirement plans.

Retroactive Pay

1.The amount paid to employees to make up the difference between what they were actually paid and the amount they should have been paid. Retroactive pay is typically used in situations in which underpayments were made.

Return to Work Certification (Fitness for Duty Certification)

1.A certification by a health care provider that an employee is fit to return to work after an injury or illness.

Right to Know

1.An employee’s right to know about the hazards they are exposed to while at work, harm the hazards may cause, and the precautions to take in order to prevent the harmful effects.

Right to Privacy

1.The freedom from unauthorized and unreasonable intrusion into personal affairs.

Right-to-sue Letter

1.A letter provided to the employee following an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigation into his or her complaint.  The letter notifies a complainant that he or she has 90 days in which to file a personal suit in federal court.

Right-to-work Laws

1.State laws that prohibit requiring employees to join unions as a condition of obtaining or continuing employment.

Roth 401(k) Plan

1.A type of 401(k) plan in which contributions are made on a post-tax basis.

Safe Harbor

1.A provision of a statute or regulation that reduces or eliminates a party’s liability under the law, as long as the party acted in good faith.


1.Fixed payment made to an employee on a regular basis, typically without regard to the number of hours worked.

Salary Survey

1.An instrument designed to determine what certain individuals in specific roles and within certain industries earn.

Salary Test (for Determining Exempt Status)

1.One of the tests used to determine whether an employee is exempt from the overtime and minimum wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Generally, to qualify as an exempt executive, administrative, or professional employee, an employee must be compensated on a “salary basis” at a rate of not less than $455 per week.


1.Practice in which unions hire and pay people to apply for jobs at non-union companies.

Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE)

1.SIMPLE allows employers with no more than 100 employees to sponsor a retirement plan. Employees can receive an employer matching contribution of up to 3 percent of their pay. Employers may reduce that amount if business conditions vary from year to year. SIMPLE plans require few administrative burdens since the bank or financial institution receiving the funds does most of the paperwork.


1.Slang term for a worker who replaces a striking employee.

Scanlon Plan

1.An organization-wide incentive program focusing on cooperation between management and employees through sharing problems, goals and ideas. A bonus is paid when profits exceed those of the base period.

Screening Interview

1.A preliminary interview used to qualify a candidate before he or she meets with a hiring authority in person. Screening interviews are usually quick, efficient and low-cost strategies that help to weed out unqualified candidates.

Seasonal Employee

1.A temporary worker who is typically employed during an employer’s peak season. Most retail establishments hire seasonal employees to meet the added demand of the holiday season.

Second Injury Fund (Workers’ Compensation)

1.A fund established to limit an employer’s workers’ compensation costs when a worker suffers an injury after already having an impairment or disability.

Security Audit

1.A comprehensive review and investigation of organizational security. A security audit may include a review of electronic communication as well as physical controls.


1.Process of choosing individuals who have needed qualifications to fill jobs in an organization.

Selection Criteria

1.Characteristic that a person must have to perform a job successfully.

Selection Rate

1.The percentage hired from a given group of candidates.

Self-Directed Work Team

1.A group of employees who leverage one another’s skills in order to meet a specific goal without the direct supervision of management.


1.A type of health insurance in which an employer assumes a direct risk of paying for claims and benefits.

Semimonthly Pay Period

1.A pay period in which employees are paid twice per month.

Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

1.The second certification, awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute, that signifies that an individual has advanced theoretical knowledge and practical experience in human resource management necessary to pass a rigorous examination demonstrating a mastery of the body of knowledge in the field.


1.Time spent in the organization or on a particular job.

Separation Notice

1.A form by which employers document employee departures from the organization. Some states require employers to provide employees with a Separation Notice, often used for unemployment compensation purposes.

Serious Health Condition

1.Defined by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a serious heath condition is an injury, illness, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient, medical care or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

Service Letter

1.A letter provided to an employee by a former employer, describing the nature and duration of the employment and the reason for termination.


1.A proportion of government contracts that are reserved for businesses owned by members of disadvantaged groups.

Severance Pay

1.A security benefit voluntarily offered by employers to employees leaving their employment.

Sexual Harassment

1.Continued, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature toward another employee.

Shared Services

1.Sharing HRM activities among geographically dispersed divisions.


1.The time period for which an employee is at work.

Shift Differential

1.An extra amount of pay that employees receive for working undesirable shifts.

Sick Building

1.An unhealthy work environment.

Sick Leave

1.Time off given to an employee who is ill.

Similarity Error

1.Evaluating employees based on the way an evaluator perceives himself or herself.

Simple IRA

1.A tax-deferred retirement plan for eligible businesses with less than 100 employees who do not maintain or contribute to any other retirement plan.

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP)

1.Under this type of retirement plan, an employer makes contributions on behalf of its employees to an individual retirement arrangement called a SEP-IRA.

Simulated Training

1.Training employees on special off-the-job equipment, whereby training costs and hazards can be reduced.

Sit-Down Strike

1.When organized workers “sit down” at their work stations, preventing their employer from replacing them with other workers or causing the employer to move production to other locations.

Situational Interview

1.A structured interview in which applicants are asked how they would respond in specific job situations.

Skill Variety

1.The extent to which the work requires several different activities for successful completion.

Small Necessities

1.A term coined by several states to refer to certain family obligations of workers, such as attending children’s school conferences and pediatrician visits, and/or assisting elderly relatives with doctors visits and personal care. Several states now mandate that employers give time off to attend to those matters.

Social Networking

1.Interaction among social contacts and other people who share a common interest or background, most commonly done online.

Social Security Act

1.This Act provides benefits to retirees and the unemployed, and a lump-sum benefit at death.

Social Security Administration

1.Government administration created to advance the economic security of the nation’s people through managing America’s Social Security programs.

Social Security Disability Insurance

1.Insurance that pays benefits to disabled individuals and certain members of their family if insured, meaning that the individual worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.


1.A petition or request for something.

Span of Control

1.The number of employees a supervisor can effectively direct.

Speak up! Programs

1.Communication programs that allow employees to register questions, concerns, and complaints about work-related matters.


1.The overall process of recruiting, hiring, and exiting employees from an organization.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)

1.A system for classifying industries by a four-digit code. Certain government departments and agencies, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), still use the SIC codes.

Standard Occupational Classification

1.A system of classifying occupations. It is designed to cover all occupations in which work is performed for pay or profit, reflecting the current occupational structure in the United States.


1.A formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority.

Statutes of Limitations

1.Laws that establish deadlines for the institution of various kinds of legal actions.

Statutory Right

1.A right granted to a person by authority of a statute.

Stock Option

1.A plan that gives an individual the right to buy stock in a company, usually at a fixed price for a period of time.

Strategic Human Resource Management

1.Organizational use of employees to gain or keep a competitive advantage against competitors.

Stress Interview

1.Interview designed to create anxiety and put pressure on an applicant to see how the person responds.


1.Work stoppage in which union members refuse to work, often in order to put pressure on an employer to address employee grievances.

Structured Interview

1.An interview in which there are fixed questions that are presented to every applicant.

Student Loan Garnishment

1.A portion of an employee’s wages that is deducted for a student loan payments.


1.An individual or company that takes on a portion of a contract originally assigned to a primary contractor.

Succession Planning

1.Process of identifying a longer-term plan for the replacement of key employees.

Suggestion System

1.A formal method of obtaining employee input and upward communication.

Summary Annual Report

1.The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires employers to file annual reports with the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor on the status of their benefit plans, and to provide employees with a summary of those reports, called a Summary Annual Report.

Summary Plan Description (SPD)

1.A document that explains the claims procedure and other benefit information of a health insurance plan to employees.

Sunshine Law

1.Law that exists in some states, mandating that labor-management negotiations be open to the public.

Supplemental Security Income

1.A Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues designed to help the elderly and disabled who have little or no income.

Supplemental Wages

1.Compensation paid in addition to an employee’s regular wages. Supplemental wages include, but are not limited to, bonuses, commissions, overtime pay, payments for accumulated sick leave, severance pay, awards, back pay, retroactive pay increases, and payments for nondeductible moving expenses.


1.A disciplinary measure that bars an employee from working for a period of time.

Sympathy Strike

1.A strike that takes place when one union strikes in support of the strike of another.


Taft-Hartley Act

1.Also known as the Labor Management Relations Act, this law prohibited union unfair labor practices and enumerated the rights of employees as union members. It also enumerated the rights of employers.


1.See Lock-out/Tag-out Regulations


1.Arriving at work later than the scheduled start time.

Tax Levy Garnishment

1.A portion of an employee’s wages that is deducted from disposable earnings as payment for unpaid taxes.

Team Interview

1.Interview in which applicants are interviewed by the team members with whom they will work.


1.An arrangement in which an employee works from home and communicates with co-workers by telephone, email, video conference, or other electronic means.

Telephone Interview

1.A job interview conducted over the phone.

Temporary Worker

1.A worker hired for a limited amount of time.


1.Incumbency in a job; in academia, an entitlement to employment that is granted to faculty members who satisfy certain criteria.

Termination for Cause

1.Termination of an employee on grounds that any reasonable person would view as justified.

Time Card

1.A card that records an employee’s work hours.

Time Clock

1.A mechanism for recording employees’ work hours, often requiring employees to “punch” in and out.

Time Rounding

1.The practice of recording employees’ starting and stopping time to the nearest time unit (e.g. the nearest 10th of an hour). Both federal and state laws establish limitations on an employer’s ability to round an employee’s hours.


1.The tracking of employees’ attendance and hours worked.

Tip Credit

1.A credit toward the minimum wage that employers may take for employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.  Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employer claiming the credit must pay least $2.13 per hour in direct wages; however, some states have different minimums for tipped employees. Employees’ tips combined with the employer’s direct wages must equal at least the minimum wage.

Tip Pooling

1.An arrangement by which tipped employees share their tips. Federal and applicable state laws govern permissible tip pooling arrangements.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

1.A law that prohibits discrimination in employment based on sex, race, color, religion, or national origin.

Top-down Program

1.Communication from management in an effort to keep employees updated on important company issues.

Total Compensation

1.A combination of all forms of compensation an employee receives, including wages, benefits, bonuses and commission.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

1.A management strategy aimed at embedding awareness of quality in all organizational processes. TQM has been widely used in manufacturing, education, government, and service industries, as well as NASA space and science programs.


1.The acquisition of knowledge, skills and abilities as a result of teaching a specific subject matter or practicing a specific activity.


1.A move of an employee from one job, unit, or location to another.

Transitional Return to Work Program

1.An interim step for workers who are recovering from illness or injury, focusing on the performance of “light” duties until they regain the ability to resume their typical job functions.

Travel Time

1.The time spent traveling for business purposes. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, time spent traveling during an employee’s normal work hours is considered compensable work time.

Trend Analysis

1.Study of a firm’s past employment needs over a period of years to predict future needs.


1.Process in which employees leave the organization and have to be replaced.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

1.A part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for the administration of immigration and naturalization functions.

Undue Hardship

1.A term which refers to unreasonable or excessive expense or inconvenience that would be necessary on the part of an employer to accommodate an employee.

Unemployment Compensation

1.Created by the Social Security Act of 1935 to protect workers who became unemployed through no fault of their own by providing partial wage replacement following a job loss.

Unfair Labor Practice

1.Actions taken by employers or unions that violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and other legislation. Such acts are investigated by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (– USERRA)

1.A law that protects the employment rights of non-full-time military servicemembers called to active duty.


1.A formal association of workers that promotes the interests of its members through collective action.

Union Authorization Card

1.Card signed by an employee to designate a union as his of her collective bargaining agent.

Union Avoidance

1.A company tactic of creating an environment in which employees don’t feel they need union representation.

Union Security Arrangements

1.Labor contract provisions designed to attract and retain dues-paying union members.

Union Steward

1.An employee elected to serve as the first-line representative of unionized workers.

Unit Labor Cost

1.Computed by dividing the average cost of workers by their average levels of output.

Unsafe Conditions

1.Work conditions that threaten employee safety and health.

Upward Appraisal

1.A performance appraisal process whereby employees evaluate their supervisors.

Utility Analysis

1.Analysis in which economic or other statistical models are built to identify the costs and benefits associated with specific HR and business-related activities.

Utilization Analysis

1.An analysis that identifies the number of protected-class members employed and the types of jobs they hold within an organization.

Utilization Review

1.An audit and review of the services and costs billed by health care providers.

Value Statement

1.A statement that defines the company’s guiding principles and what the company believes in.

Variable Pay

1.Type of compensation linked to individual, team, or organizational performance.


1.To give an immediate right of present or future ownership. An individual becomes vested in a retirement, or other type of benefit plan or program, once he or she meets the plan’s service requirement.

Vested Benefit

1.Benefit that has been accrued and is, therefore, owned by an employee; not conditional or contingent in any way.

Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS)

1.A division of the Department of Labor that provides veterans and transitioning servicemembers with the resources and services to secure employment.

Victim’s Leave

1.A leave entitlement provided by law or employer practice that gives employees time off if they, or a family member, is a victim of certain crimes.

Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA)

1.A law that requires that employers with Federal contracts or subcontracts of $25,000 or more must provide equal opportunity and affirmative action for Vietnam era veterans, special disabled veterans, and veterans who served on active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized.

Visa (Work)

1.An official document giving an individual from another country permission to work in the United States.

Vision Statement

1.A statement of what the organization wants to become.

Vocational Rehabilitation

1.Occupational training to facilitate the reassignment of a disabled worker.

Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association

1.A tax-free post-retirement medical expense account used by retirees and their eligible dependents to pay for qualified medical expenses. The plan is funded by the amount of unused sick leave an employee has at the time of retirement.

Voting Time

1.Time off to vote.  Many states laws give employees the right to take time off to vote in certain elections.


1.A document that bears witness to a payment made.


1.A form by which employers report an employee’s annual earnings and tax payments. Copies of the form are sent to employees and several federal agencies.


1.The IRS form employees use to indicate their withholding allowances for federal tax purposes.

Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

1.A division of the Department of Labor responsible for administering and enforcing wage and hour laws, such as the minimum wage, overtime, and child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Wage Assignment

1.An amount deducted from an employee’s wages per a voluntary agreement by an employee to have a portion of the employee’s wages assigned to a third party (assignee).

Wage Curve

1.The result of the plotting of points of established pay grades against wage base rates to identify the general pattern of wages and find individuals whose wages are out of line.

Wage Garnishment

1.When an employee’s earnings are required by court order to be withheld by their employer for the payment of a debt, such as child support.


1.Payment for work performed.

Wagner Act

1.This law banned certain types of unfair labor practices and provided for secret-ballot elections and majority rule for determining whether or not a firm’s employees want to unionize.

Walsh-Healey Public Contract Act

1.A law enacted in 1936 that requires minimum wage and working conditions for employees working on any government contract amounting to more than $10,000.

Weekly Pay Period

1.A pay period in which employees are paid once per week.

Weighted Application Form

1.A special type of application form where relevant applicant information is used to determine the likelihood of job success.  

Wellness Program

1.Program designed to maintain or improve employee health before problems arise..


1.A person who reports illegal or amoral conduct.

Whistleblower Protection

1.Protections for whistleblowers (i.e., those who report wrongdoing). Employers are not permitted to take adverse action against whistleblowers.

Wildcat Strike

1.An unauthorized and illegal strike that occurs during the terms of an existing contract.

Work Sample Test

1.Test that requires an applicant to perform a simulated job task.

Work Sampling

1.A selection device requiring the job applicant to perform a segment of the job.

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 (WARN)

1.A federal law requiring employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.

Worker Involvement Programs

1.Programs that aim to boost organizational effectiveness by getting employees to participate in planning, organizing and managing their jobs.

Workers’ Compensation

1.A program that provides partial wage replacement for employees injured on the job.

Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

1.Reformed U.S. job training programs, mandating the use of one-stop systems to eliminate the duplication of services. WIA is intended to improve the quality of the workforce, enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the nation and to reduce welfare dependency.


1.As defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act, a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours–seven consecutive 24-hour periods.

Wrongful Discharge

1.Occurs when an employer terminates an individual’s employment for reasons that are improper or illegal.

Yellow-dog Contract

1.An agreement whereby employees state that they are not now, nor will they be in the future, a union member. These types of contracts were outlawed with the passage of the Norris-LaGuardia Act.

Yield Ratio

1.A comparison of the number of applicants at one stage of the recruiting process to the number at the next stage.