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Discipline / Investigations

Failure to investigate lands HR in trouble

Employers must investigate every harassment claim. That’s true even when the alleged harasser is an owner or executive.

Documenting discipline: Your step-by-step guide

Your best defense against a lawsuit claiming you wrongly fired a poor worker is solid documentation of deficient performance. Courts are less likely to believe discrimination or retaliation was the reason you fired someone if you can show you gave him or her a real chance to live up to workplace expectations.

Follow these 4 rules to make progressive discipline hold up in court

Having a rigorous system of progressive discipline is the best way to prove in court that an employee fired for inferior performance was treated fairly and in accordance with your company’s policies. Base progressive discipline on these four rules.

The vital importance of diligent documentation

One critical area that HR professionals must always remind managers about is the importance of diligently documenting employee performance issues. Taking the time and care to document thoroughly can save you and your company major headaches later.

Discipline consistently, equitably to avoid discrimination liability

Every employee who breaks the same rule should receive the same level of discipline. Absent some solid, fact-based reason, treating some employees more leniently than others is practically begging to be sued for discrimination. That’s especially true if a manager treats members of a particular protected class more harshly or more favorably than employees who belong to different protected classes.

How to save millions even if you lose in court: Good-faith investigation can prevent huge punitive damages

Always investigate every HR complaint, even if you think it’s frivolous. Doing so can help you dodge a huge punitive awards verdict if a jury sides with a fired worker. What matters most is that the investigation is done in good faith.

Lessen liability by quickly addressing sexual harassment

Just having a policy that prohibits sexual harassment can prevent harassment from occurring. Most employers also make it easy for employees to report harassment they experience or witness.

How to Wipe Out Fraud and Abuse Under FMLA

The medical certification process is your most potent weapon for combating potential FMLA fraud. But obtaining a certification is only the first fraud-stopping step. Here are 10 more things you can do to keep employees from gaming the FMLA system.

A fair investigation is all that’s required

It’s important to thoroughly and fairly investigate whenever an employee is accused of wrongdoing. Employers have lots of leeway to investigate as they see fit, as long as they can demonstrate their investigation was conducted in good faith.

Get written acknowledgment for every missed shift

Employers that have clear rules and apply them fairly seldom lose termination lawsuits—if they can prove their employees understood the rules. One of the best ways to demonstrate that is by consistently having workers acknowledge that they broke a rule. Do this at the time you discipline the worker, pointing out what rule they broke. A brief written disciplinary notice with a space for the employee’s signature should to the trick.