HR Consulting, Investigations, and Expert Witness Services from Maureen Clark, Three Sixty HR, Inc. (formerly Clark Associates)
Maureen Clark, Three Sixty HR, Inc. (formerly Clark Associates) recently spent some time explaining to PEA members how her business has grown and changed in the last couple of years. Maureen began Clark Associates in 1985 and joined PEA in 1986. Michelle Walsh joined her in 2010. The business became an LLC in 2011 and incorporated in 2012. Maureen is currently working on obtaining her CA Private Investigator License. By becoming a private investigator, Maureen will be able to do internal investigations into HR issues.
Maureen went on to explain the three aspects of her business.
1) HR Consulting
HR consulting is what Maureen has been doing from the beginning. Topics she covers includes legal protection for discrimination, harassment, whistle blowing, retaliation, disabilities, and leave of absence. She can also advise on issues around pay and benefits (like exempt vs nonexempt), timekeeping, make-up time, overtime, meal and rest breaks, telecommuting, and independent contractors. She also advises on due process issues, like terminations. With HR consulting, Maureen’s clients are the employers. She can help them do things like write employee handbooks and disability documentation.
2) HR Investigations
HR investigations is like a subset of her larger work in HR consulting. This would include looking into complaints or suspicion of complaints. Maureen is looking into what is really involved with potential complaints since sometimes employees might have the right to complain but aren’t aware of it. Ultimately, her role is to conduct an independent investigation into whether the complaints are substantiated. In investigations, her clients and employers or employers’ legal counsel. With attorney/client privilege involved, they often need an independent investigator.
3) HR Expert Witness
Maureen had her first case as an expert witness eight or nine years ago. Maureen describes HR expert witness work as subset of her work in investigations. As an expert witness, Maureen’s clients are the legal counsel for the plaintiff or the defense. When she is doing expert witness work, Maureen is looking at what really happened to the employee, which can be difficult since the employee is often no longer there.
Summarizing her work, Maureen explained that consulting is when she helps an employer keep on the right track. Investigations happen when they are starting to go awry, and expert witness work happens when something has gone completely off the track. All the work still revolves around the same core topics. A good consulting lead for Maureen is small to mid-size employers. For internal investigations, a good lead is employers of any size, HR executives, or legal counsel (internal or external). A good lead for expert witness work is external legal counsel.
Finally, Maureen shared a link to consumer information about insurance coverage through California’s health exchange – CoveredCA. She explained that the information is very readable and encouraged PEA members to take a look at it HERE (full link: http://www.coveredca.com/news/PDFs/CC_Health_Plans_Booklet.pdf).
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