DISCIPLINE / INVESTIGATIONS

Prepare to defend against every lawsuit, even the ones that are obviously weak

08/09/2017
Defending against lame lawsuits is just a cost of doing business. Sometimes, you have to spend the time and money even when it’s clear you haven’t done anything wrong.

What to do if you suspect workplace thievery

07/27/2017
Fraud prevention experts believe in the 10-10-80 rule: 10% of employees never steal, 10% do, the rest will go either way depending on the circumstances.

Details matter when documenting discipline

07/19/2017
Smart employers make sure they document—in advance—the underlying reasons for any disciplinary actions. When preparing documentation, be sure to provide all the details, especially if two employees committed arguably similar offenses but were punished differently.

Discipline calls for language that cites objective shortcomings, not editorial opinions

07/13/2017
When disciplining employees, try to stick to objective facts. For example, if a worker isn’t abiding by a dress code, state what rule she is violating. Keep the editorial comments to yourself.

Prepare to justify discipline occurring after employee complains about discrimination

07/13/2017
Simply put, a bad review all by itself isn’t usually grounds for a lawsuit in most cases. However, punishing someone with a bad review because they complained about discrimination may land you in legal trouble.

Bungled investigation may not sink defense

07/13/2017
Sometimes, investigations don’t go as planned. An employer can have good policies and the best of intentions and still make mistakes. Fortunately, that’s not necessarily the kiss of death for a workplace investigation. Just be prepared to clearly explain what happened.

Texas Supreme Court greenlights Bev Kearney's lawsuit

07/13/2017
The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that a long-simmering sex and racial discrimination lawsuit filed by former University of Texas women’s track and field coach Bev Kearney can proceed.

Never ignore any lawsuit

07/13/2017
Here’s a lesson for small employers that may be tempted to ignore legal pleadings, thinking there’s no merit to a worker’s claims. Doing so likely will result in a default judgment.

OK to discipline even after worker complains

07/12/2017
Some employees may not realize it, but filing an internal discrimination or harassment complaint doesn’t create immunity to legitimate, unrelated discipline.

Discipline ASAP if boss targets older workers

07/12/2017
It happens all too often: A bully boss yells, berates, pushes and prods older employees more than other staff members. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that resigning under such circumstances is a reasonable response and amounts to a constructive discharge.

When bias charges loom, documentation proves discipline was warranted

06/28/2017
When it comes to terminating an employee for poor performance, careful documentation is essential. Make sure you can later explain exactly how you handled the employee’s performance problems.

Your own detective work can pay off in court

06/28/2017
Employees have only a limited amount of time in which to file lawsuits. However, judges sometimes bend over backwards to give late filers a second chance. When that happens, it may be worth finding out why the delay occurred.

HR pros, bosses beware! Shoddy harassment investigation may create personal liability

06/28/2017
If you don’t do enough to end reported harassment, you may be found liable under New York state and New York City law for aiding and abetting that harassment. In fact, it’s just as if you were the harasser yourself—you could be subject to personal liability.

Progressive discipline is great, but retain the right to fire immediately if necessary

06/26/2017
If you have a progressive discipline system, give yourself some wiggle room. Make sure you retain the right to immediately terminate an employee when necessary.

Protected activity occurred long ago? Discipline now won't cost a retaliation suit

06/26/2017
If an employee complains about discrimination or takes protected leave, beware taking any action that smacks of retaliation. Otherwise, you are risking a lawsuit.
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