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Discipline / Investigations

Good records: Your defense against retaliation suits

02/04/2020
Thoroughly document workplace misdeeds. For example, investigate and act on charges of deceit. Records showing you did everything by the book can defeat a retaliation lawsuit.

Track when you first considered discipline

02/04/2020
Employees who suspect they are facing a disciplinary action such as termination may think complaining about discrimination or taking protected leave will insulate them from negative consequences. But smart employers start documenting poor performance early on, as well as their preliminary decisions to consider discipline.

Retain all documentation related to discipline

01/28/2020
Require supervisors and managers to preserve all evidence involving recommended discipline. That includes things like video recordings.

Document poor performance as it happens

01/14/2020
It’s essential for supervisors to document poor performance at the time it happens. Don’t wait until you’re ready to terminate a worker to start building a paper trail. You won’t get away with it in court.

Prevent bias lawsuits: Never simply rubber-stamp boss’s discipline recommendation

12/26/2019
Before approving a supervisor’s recommended disciplinary action, HR should conduct an independent investigation. It needn’t be extensive, but it’s essential to document that you checked into the facts of the case.

Review disciplinary records to uncover hidden supervisory discrimination

12/18/2019
Before discharging an employee for violating a rule, make sure that he or she really did commit an infraction. Be particularly alert for the possibility that a supervisor might have tried to manipulate the rules to get an employee to break one.

Mere threat of discipline is no reason to quit

11/30/2019
Employees who quit can still sue their employers just as if they had been fired for an unlawful reason—under very limited circumstances.

Ensure disciplinary documents contain enough detail to justify harsh punishment

11/30/2019
Details are especially important when different employees break similar rules and you punish some more harshly than others. You need to be able to show why you fired one employee while another whose misconduct was identical was allowed to keep his job.

Internal harassment complaints: Avoid these 5 mistakes

11/19/2019
Receiving an internal harassment complaint is a critical moment for an employer. How you handle the complaint can affect workplace morale, the likelihood of a lawsuit or an administrative charge and the defenses available to you as an employer, among other things.

Internal complaints not protected as ‘free speech’

11/18/2019
The Texas Constitution gives Texas public employees the right to free speech. Thus, a public employee who speaks out in public about a matter of public importance cannot be punished for doing so. However, that’s not true if the speech occurs at work.