2 employees, 1 offense? Discipline equally

When two employees are involved in the same misconduct, be sure to discipline both, otherwise you could have yourself a discrimination case.

Conduct careful investigation after public employees' leak of damaging information

Public employers have a special Constitutional responsibility that private-sector employers don’t have.

Beware boss backlash after complaint--you're probably looking at retaliation


It usually happens like this: An employee comes to HR complaining that her boss said something inappropriate—maybe it was a sexually explicit joke, racial slur or offensive comment about someone’s religion. Then the supervisor gets angry at the employee for complaining and retaliates.

Unequal discipline for same offense? Be prepared to explain exactly why

When more than one employee is implicated in a rule violation, make sure all employees are disciplined equally. That’s especially true if they have the same supervisors and similar disciplinary histories.

Are we allowed to discipline an employee for spouting off about political topics?

Q.  With the upcoming presidential elections, political conversation among employees has become more frequent and intense. One employee in particular, whose political views are the opposite of most of the others in the office, has taken to vehemently promoting his favored candidate and that candidate’s views. Several employees have complained that this has made them uncomfortable. Can we take disciplinary action against the employee for promoting his political views? We are a private employer.

10 steps: Conducting an internal investigation

Follow these procedures when conducting internal investigations of alleged employee misconduct.

Supervisors' guide to progressive discipline

No state or federal law requires you to establish a progressive discipline policy. If your organization has one, however, make sure all your supervisors understand and follow it.

What to ask before punishing insubordination

An employee who doesn’t do what is asked of him or her is not necessarily insubordinate. Before disciplining for insubordination, delve a little deeper into the employee’s resistance.

Counter years of good reviews by documenting legit reasons for discipline

Generally, if an employer gives an employee consistently good reviews, courts will view that as evidence that the employer was satisfied with the worker’s job performance. An employee who alleges discrimination or retaliation can then use those good reviews to show that something else must have been the reason for a sudden discharge.

Mental health concerns? Focus on behavior

Worried an employee may have an undisclosed mental disability that is causing problems at work? Don’t treat him with kid gloves or suggest he seek mental health care.

Sensitive job, angry worker? OK to discipline

Some workers think that anytime their employer criticizes an emotional state or suggests therapy, the employer is “regarding” them as disabled. Thus, goes the argument, the employer violates the ADA when it tries to intervene.

Remind managers: It's essential to document every disciplinary decision and punishment

You never know which fired employee will sue. That’s why it’s important to make sure every disciplinary decision is based on solid business reasons. You may even want to create an internal disciplinary checklist to ensure managers and supervisors know how to document discipline.

Skipping disciplinary meeting is insubordination

An employee who refuses to attend a disciplinary meeting and is terminated as a result probably isn’t eligible for unemployment benefits. It amounts to insubordination and willful misconduct.

Document carefully when disciplining for injury

Sometimes, employees who carelessly injure themselves deserve discipline. That’s fine, as long as you carefully document the carelessness.

Suit: State didn't accommodate disability--alcoholism

A former Assistant Director of the State Lottery has filed suit against the Minnesota State Lottery, the Department of Management and Budget and her former boss, Ed Van Petten. She was fired after being charged with drunken driving in 2012 after injuring an elderly man in a traffic accident. She is yet to stand trial on those charges.
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