Employers and ADA:

Hiring Off Welfare

Ferreting out Fraud

Earth Day for Shiseido

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Newspaper on April 21, 1999. All rights reserved.

When To Hire Help; How To Interview

By carefully delegating your responsibilities you do

not compromise on your work, you only enhance it, says Marcia Guberman,

president of Business Builders, a management consulting company, and

Maid Daily Services/M.D.S. Cleaning, a full service residential and

commercial janitorial company.

Named "Business Woman of the Year" by the Mercer County Chapter

of New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners (NJAWBO), Guberman

will conduct the workshop, "When to Expand Your Staff and How

to Do It" at the NJAWBO State Convention on Thursday, April 29,

at Trump Plaza, Atlantic City. The conference continues to May 1 and

focuses on "A New Attitude for the New Millennium." Package

registration for the whole conference is $475. Registration for April

29 only is $200. Call 732-560-9607.

Guberman will help employers, especially small business owners, determine

the job description needed, the type of employee to add, and how to

go about finding that person and interviewing.

"Entrepreneurs are very possessive and have a hard time delegating

responsibilities," says Guberman. "If your company is growing

you can no longer do everything that you did last year. If you are,

the quality of your work and services will suffer. When you’re not

providing the services you were hired to provide, when you’re not

meeting your deadlines, when you’re working so hard that you’re no

longer having a life, it’s time to hire more people," says Guberman.

A small business owner for over a decade, Guberman bought her janitorial

company in 1986 and grew it over 300 percent. She has 28 employees

and knows how difficult and important it is to have the right people

work for you. "I do business counseling, and often times people

need to add staff and don’t know when they need to do it," says

Guberman. An adjunct business counselor for the Mercer County Community

College’s Small Business Center, Guberman is also the vice chair-person

of the Trenton Business Assistance Corporation (TBAC), a micro lending

agency that helps start-ups and small businesses.

Small business owners do not often make an accurate job description

that answers the needs of their businesses, says Guberman. When your

accountant is over burdened, for instance, you might make the mistake

of hiring another accountant, when what you really need could be support

staff. The accountant who is hired usually ends up leaving because

the job is not what he thought he was hired to do.

"Small business owners often do not know how to conduct an interview,"

says Guberman. The very human propensity to overlook the faults of

a person you like could be a disadvantage during the hiring process.

Guberman offers some tips for employers to follow while interviewing

prospective employees.

Keep the job description in front of you and stick to

it. It is easy to fall in love with a candidate’s personality. But

you have to stay focused on the job description and the candidate’s

qualifications. Often employers hire people they were impressed with

at the interview and realize they are not suited for the job.

Do a lot of listening. Candidates are usually nervous

at interviews and talk a lot. By just chatting with them you can glean

a lot about their work ethics, whether they are similar to yours,

if this job is going to be a significant part of their life or just

a 9 to 5 job they could not care less about.

Ask the same questions to every candidate. Otherwise you

are not comparing apples to apples and you do not get a true reading

of every candidate.

Find out about their last job. Ask them what they liked

and disliked about it. If they did not get along with their boss in

their last job, chances are they will not get along with you.

Go over some of the laws about hiring. That will give

you an understanding of what you can and cannot ask at an interview.

The person you hire should not just fit the job description

but should also fit into the workplace, says Guberman. "If you

have a philosophy in your workplace that everybody does everything

that is necessary to get the job done and you hire someone who is

not a team player, it will create tension and ill-will among your

other employees and that can cause a lot of harm."

It is very difficult to find good employees, and employers should

know the right sources to approach, says Guberman. "For my janitorial

business, I go to outreach programs. They have lists of people. WorkFirst

New Jersey is a good source for employees." You have to be aware

of newspapers and who they serve. You also have to be creative about

the advertising dollars you spend. "In the long run a display

advertisement could work out to be more profitable than a classified

advertisement," says Guberman. "You should also network and

let others know that you are looking for a specific kind of employee."

Employment agencies can be invaluable resources. Small businesses

do not have the time to interview 20 to 30 people, says Guberman.

Employment agencies do the pre-screening, and if you are not happy

with the employee they will replace them. They also provide temps

you can test out before you hire them. The down-side of employment

agencies, says Guberman, is that they can be expensive.

"Being a small business owner can be a very isolating experience,"

says Guberman. The strongest support for a small business owner comes

from other small business owners. "They are not proprietary and

are willing to share their knowledge with one another." Organizations

like the NJAWBO help small business owners in that regard, says Guberman.

"It is very important for them to align themselves with other

business owners and learn from them."

— Teena Chandy

Top Of Page
Employers and ADA:

Still on a Learning Curve

Why does the typical employer still hesitate to hire

people with disabilities? Scott Elliott thinks he knows the

reason and has the solution.

Elliott is the executive director of the Progressive Center for Independent

Living, a Ewing-based non-profit specializing in assistance to individuals

with disabilities who live in Mercer or Hunterdon counties. Having

lived with a crippling form of muscular dystrophy, Elliott has an

intimate knowledge of the experience of those with disabilities, from

his own personal life as well as professionally.

The biggest obstacle to hiring people with disabilities, Scott believes,

is employers’ uncertainty as to what the ADA requirements are, and

how the needs of people with various types of disabilities can be

accommodated. For this reason, his organization is co-sponsoring a

series of workshops on the ADA requirements for businesses and local

governments. The workshops, partially funded by the government, are

co-sponsored by the Northeast Disabilities Business and Technical

Assistance Center (800-949-4232 or http://www.disabilityact.com).

The first workshop — "The Americans with Disabilities Act

Employment Update: Highlights from the Equal Employment Opportunity

Commission Guidances" — will be Friday, April 23, from 8:30

a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the offices of Stark & Stark, 993 Lenox Drive,

Building 2. Presentations will be made by experts from Cornell University

and the Northeast Disabilities Business and Technical Assistance Center.

The second workshop, on Friday, June 4, will address the ADA laws

as they affect state and local governments. The third, on Friday,

September 24, will focus on requirements for access to businesses

by people with disabilities, including discussion of tax credits available

for making access-related improvements. To register call PCIL at 609-530-0006

or write to 831 Parkway Avenue, B-2, Ewing 08618. Cost: $20 registration

including lunch and materials.

Diagnosed at the age of eight with spinal muscular atrophy, a type

of muscular dystrophy which becomes more debilitating with age, Elliott

himself never experienced discrimination: "I was lucky — I

was employed at companies owned by good people who appreciated my

skills and commitment."

His employers were supportive as the disease progressed. A few years

back, his employer offered to purchase a scooter for him when he began

to have difficulty moving around — Elliott decided by then he

was making enough money to buy it himself.

But others with disabilities are not always so lucky. The Progressive

Center for Independent Living is doing what it can to improve the

employment prospects of its clients. Elliott is eager to raise awareness

in the business community of the benefits of hiring individuals with

disabilities.

The workshop is designed to provide human resource managers, supervisors,

small business owners, and union leaders with an in-depth understanding

of the Americans with Disabilities Act as it applies to employment.

The workshop will cover in detail guidances developed by the Equal

Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the last four years, and

examine case studies that provide a practical understanding of how

the ADA is applied. It will focus on the newly released EEOC guidance

relating to "reasonable accommodation."

Examples of reasonable accommodation include modifying existing facilities,

modifying work schedules, and providing specialized equipment. However,

employers are not required to make accommodations that would pose

a undue hardship. A guidance document on reasonable accommodation

was posted last month at http://www.www.eeoc.gov.

The Department of Justice ADA website at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/ada.html

offers these guidelines:

Does my business have to comply with the ADA? Yes, if

you have 15 or more employees.

What is the definition of `disability’, and who is protected

under the ADA? "A physical or mental impairment that substantially

limits one or more major life activities, such as seeing, hearing,

walking, learning, performing manual tasks. The ADA also protects

from discrimination those who have a record of such impairments, are

regarded as having such an impairment, or who have a known association

with a person who has such impairments."

Must I give preference in hiring to individuals with disabilities?

No. An employer is free to select the most qualified individual without

regard to disability. However, if an individual with a disability

can perform the essential functions of the job with "reasonable

accommodation," that person must be considered a valid candidate

for the job.

What do I need to know about interviewing a job applicant

with disabilities? "You cannot ask about the disability itself.

You can, however, ask about their ability to perform specific job

functions."

Can I require a medical examination or questionnaire of

an applicant with disabilities? "You can require this after a

conditional job offer has been made. However, the examination or questionnaire

must be required of all entering employees in the same job category,

not just those who have disabilities. Also, if a disability is found

in the examination, the job offer can only be withdrawn for reasons

relating to performance of the specific job, and if no reasonable

accommodation could be made to the disability."

At least partly because he has worked as a manager for most

of his 25 years in the quality assurance field, Elliott is keenly

aware of the special contributions people with disabilities bring

to the workplace, from a manager’s perspective. "They bring in

a high level of dedication and motivation that is often an inspiration

to other employees. It helps create a stronger, more positive corporate

culture," he says.

"In addition," says Elliott, "especially in this time

of low unemployment, the disabled are a huge pool of skilled, knowledgeable

people eager to work and contribute. There’s every reason for employers

to seek them out."

— Judith Morgan

Top Of Page
Hiring Off Welfare

Everybody’s hiring," says Betsy Shimberg,

the policy analyst at Mercer Street Friends. "Drive up Route 1

and you can see the jobs are there. But can someone just off welfare

keep that job, and can they advance at it?"

Her organization and several dozen others have been chosen to be one

of five groups statewide to do a welfare-to-work demonstration project

that could help both employers and the prospective employees. The

collaborating agencies (the Trenton 21st Century Cities Community

Partnership Demonstration Collaborative) will try to help 300 individuals

get a job, keep it, and advance in the job.

"We are going to be working like a revved up hands-on employment

agency, and as partners we will be working together as a team,"

says Shimberg, a 1990 graduate of Wellesley who came to the Trenton-based

agency last year.

If, as an employer, you have had difficulty retaining WorkFirst New

Jersey employees, monies from this grant would be available to provide

your new hire with more intensive services. The services could range

from better assessment (to fit the right person to the right job)

to job coaching (to communicate to the new hire exactly what he or

she needs to do) to "barrier resolution." Barrier resolution

is the bureaucratic way of referring to transportation problems, day

care difficulties, substance or alcohol abuse, homelessness, or domestic

violence.

Cooperation among three dozen agencies is not easy, and it was hashed

out last year as part of a $30,000 planning grant. Anticipating potential

turf wars (those who do social service work can be as competitive

as those who make widgets), the planners decided to make the funding

process as open as possible. "They had to show in the planning

grant that these agencies would not be into turf wars."

The result: Any agency that wants to provide any service must submit

a bid, a request for proposal or RFP, and the RFP decisions will be

made by an executive director (yet to be named) plus some agency partners

who did not bid on that RFP. This process increases the paperwork

but decreases unproductive rivalry.

Current collaborating members range from private firms such as Caliper,

to social service agencies such as HomeFront and the YWCA of Trenton,

to government agencies, such as the Mercer and Princeton chambers.

Opportunity: Even if your for-profit or non-profit human resources

organization did not participate in the planning for this effort,

you will still be able to bid on contracts for support services.

Are you a counselor? Bid on the job coaching opportunity. "Many

of these people need constant feedback, and the employer can’t do

it. Intensive case management is necessary," says Shimberg.

Do you work for an employment agency? You could bid on assessment.

"We have worked very hard to get people involved with employment

services into the collaboration. People will be performing services

based on the RFP process which is as open as we can possibly make

it," she says.

A director for the two-year project has not been appointed. For information

call Reginald Dickerson, chair of the demonstration project,

at 609-989-1925.

Top Of Page
Ferreting out Fraud

Embezzlers are at work. Employees are diverting and

stealing assets from their employers. Occupational fraud and abuse

in the United States amounts to $500 billion, says Robert J. DiPasquale

of Gikow Bierman and Talesnick in Roseland. "Employers must take

an active role in instituting good business ethics and good compliance

programs for their employees," he says. "The business, culture,

and ethical climate starts at the top."

DiPasquale, a former chairman of the national and state associations

of Certified Fraud Examiners, works in the area of occupational fraud

and fraud detection, deterrence, and business disputes. He will moderate

a New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education seminar on "Locating

Hidden Assets" on Saturday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

at the New Jersey Law Center on Ryders Lane off Route 1. The session

repeats on Saturday, May 22, at the Cherry Hill Holiday Inn. Cost:

$119. For information call 732-214-8500. Also on the panel are Frederick

W. Alworth of Gibbons Del Deo; Anthony R. Calscibetta CPA

of Kahn Consulting; and John E. Finnerty of Finnerty & LaRocca.

The first step in any investigation is to be able to recognize whether

or not assets have been stolen, hidden, or diverted. Then you need

to know:

How to find assets when someone is attempting to hide

them. Some techniques: using public records, obtaining frequent flyer

miles from airlines to track where people have traveled, and tracing

techniques to help family lawyers reveal hidden assets.

How people conceal assets accumulated over a lifetime.

How to prove the net worth of an individual if there are

no records. Private investigators Richard Childs and Kitty

Hailey will go online at the workshop to show what records can

be achieved from various databases.

How people form companies that go undetected.

DiPasquale tells of a client who could not determine why business

profits were so low and believed his partner was stealing: "I

did various inquiries and investigative techniques that led me to

question an insurance expense. I asked to look at all of the insurance

bills that were paid, and when I spread them on the table, I noticed

that one invoice was not folded. It was strange that it had not been

put in the mail, so I made an inquiry with the insurance company to

determine if the invoice came from them — and found it was a bogus

invoice."

"The partner was forging invoices and paying an insurance broker,

who in turn invested in annuities for him."

Another of DiPasquale’s clients was a woman whose husband, a successful

doctor, claimed he made only $200,000 a year. "The accountant

for the doctor kept on telling how cheap his client was, how he didn’t

like paying his accounting bill, and that the doctor did his own accounting

and was really cheap," says the fraud examiner.

"I went through records and wondered why the accountant kept on

saying his client is cheap — but at the same time, why did he

pay the accountant the amount of $200,000 over three years if he is

so cheap?"

"When I interviewed the accountant alone, he told me that the

doctor was writing checks to him. He deposited those checks to a bank

account and used a lot of that money to buy other businesses that

the doctor was investing in. We then analyzed the books and records

and found that the income level of the doctor was $400,000. My client

was very happy — and she got a lot of money."

— Ernie Johnston

Top Of Page
Earth Day for Shiseido

As a small, overpopulated island, Japan needs to take

extra care to preserve its environment for generations to come. Even

more than in American companies, Japanese firms have an intense concern

for keeping their country’s air pure and its water pristine. Japan

has, therefore, taken the lead in upgrading the international certification

process, known as ISO 9000, to add the environmental component. ISO

14000 is the environmental management system and ISO 14001 gives actual

specifications on how to comply.

Japan leads the world with 1,392 companies certified for ISO 14001,

and Britain is second with 950 companies. The United States ranks

ninth. Just 275 companies in the United States have attained ISO 14001,

and only a dozen companies in New Jersey, ranging from electronics

to pharmaceutical to cosmetics firms, are so certified.

"By becoming certified for ISO 14001 you are validating your environmental

management system," says Dan Franzen, facilities manager

of the new Shiseido America cosmetics manufacturing plant on Princeton-Hightstown

Road. "It is an international recognition that you have done everything

you can to manage yourself in the most environmentally friendly fashion.

We know of no other company registered for this certification in Mercer

County."

Shiseido highlights its certification efforts as part of an Earth

Day celebration, and it encourages other corporations to upgrade their

environmental standards. On Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, it will

stage contests designed to raise employee awareness and give rewards

for environmental suggestions. John Mulligan, representing Clifton

Zozzaro (one of Shiseido’s recycling contractors, along with BFI)

will speak to the workers. Call Franzen at 609-371-3048 for information.

Last April Shiseido opened its new cosmetics filling and packaging

facility in East Windsor; the manufacturing is done in Shiseido’s

other facility in Oakland (in Bergen County) and at Davlyn Industries,

Shiseido’s affiliate based at 7 Fitzgerald Avenue in Cranbury. At

10 filling lines, the raw product (creams, lotions, emulsions, fragrances,

and free samples) is bottled, capped, tested, and packaged before

being shipped. At this facility there is also an analytical lab, a

skin care lab, a makeup lab, a microbiology lab with seven incubators,

and a room where product stability is tested.

On its 86 acre-site Shiseido has upgraded the former 162,000-foot

Carter Wallace plant and has 75 full-time employees and from 50 to

100 temporary line assemblers. From 2000 to 2005 there may be some

new construction — up to 800,000 square feet is allowed.

Founded as a western style pharmacy in 1872, Shiseido has a name that

means "praise the virtues of the earth, which nurtures new life

and brings forth new values." It issued its global "eco-policy"

in 1992. "It embodies our desire as a corporation to participate

in the protection of the global environment," says Franzen, who

majored in business management at Thiel College in Pennsylvania, Class

of 1983. As a recreational scuba diver has seen the extent of pollution

in the Atlantic.

"The ISO 14001 certification enables you to demonstrate that you

have done an environmental management system," says Franzen. "It

encourages you to conserve and monitor your usage of natural resources."

Franzen notes that in East Windsor "60 percent of what you throw

away must be recycled." He points out that in his office, one

trash can is blue, for office paper, and the other is grey, for garbage.

"We would like to see the blue can grow bigger and the grey grow

smaller."

Shiseido uses an innovative process for it 175,000 square-foot plant

in Kakegawa, Japan. It turns its sludge into solid fertilizer and

liquid effluent. Then the effluent is cleaned and sent back into the

factory’s pipes to be used in the sanitary system (separate from the

potable water).

"The ISO 14001 certification is not an end in itself. Once a company

receives certification, the system must be maintained and improved

where possible," says Franzen. "Many companies already have

environmental standards, but the certification is a measure —

an objective validation — of your performance."


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