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Discipline / Investigations

‘Keep it confidential’ may let employers off liability hook

09/01/2007

You have a robust sexual harassment  policy, and everyone from the lowest level employee to the company president knows how it works. But what happens if an employee tells a supervisor about possible harassment and then asks him or her not to take it up with HR? …

Good news: Discussion of discipline that doesn’t name names is not defamation

09/01/2007

Supervisors can discuss discipline with co-workers if the situation warrants and not fear a defamation lawsuit. As long as the discussion is necessary for a legitimate business reason, such as preventing workplace violence or squelching rampant and erroneous rumors, the employer won’t be liable. Otherwise, mum’s the word …

Porn at work: Don’t get into debate over what is ‘Too much’

09/01/2007

When an employee says no to the sexual images posted in co-workers’ workstations and to their sexually laced comments, your company had better listen … and act. It shouldn’t debate over “how much” porn is acceptable. As a recent lawsuit shows, even if an employee initially tolerates a sexually charged workplace, she can drop the lawsuit hammer at any time …

How to deal with unauthorized overtime

09/01/2007

Q. We have a “no overtime without approval” policy. If employees put down overtime on their time sheets, do we have to pay it if the extra time isn’t approved? —A.W., Oregon …

Don’t Ignore—or Make Light of—Harassment Complaints

09/01/2007

Remind supervisors, managers and HR staff: Don’t brush off or make light of sexual harassment complaints. Doing so can just add more fuel to the fire. When employees are ignored, they may begin to see every slight that comes their way—getting the cold shoulder at meetings or missing out on promotions—as retaliation for voicing their concerns about sexually hostile behavior. And that can make them much more likely to file lawsuits against your company …

HR investigations must go beyond supervisor suggestions

09/01/2007

When it comes to determining employee wrongdoing and setting punishment, it’s essential to use a  complete and independent investigative process. Otherwise, the company can wind up being responsible if it turns out that a supervisor who was “out to get” an employee—perhaps in retaliation for filing a discrimination claim— trumped up performance problems or other employee deficiencies …

Violence puts Six Flags on the defensive over youth hiring

09/01/2007

Six Flags says it probably will reevaluate its employee screening process in the wake of an attack on a teenager on park property this past summer. Three seasonal employees have been arrested for participating in the beating of a 19-year-old Marietta man just outside the park.

Can you prove that you posted FMLA notice ‘Conspicuously’?

09/01/2007

Employers must post a copy of the approved federal FMLA poster “conspicuously” in the workplace. Neglecting to do so opens the door for lawsuits if you discipline employees for absences that would have been covered by FMLA. Those employees may claim they didn’t ask for FMLA leave because they weren’t familiar with the law …

Cleveland Clinic hit with sex assault whistle-Blower suit

09/01/2007

Scott Graham, a surgical assistant in the heart unit of the renowned Cleveland Clinic, filed suit against the clinic—plus affiliated Lakewood and Fairview hospitals—for retaliating against him after he reported alleged sexual assaults by head surgeon Dr. Baldev Sekhon …

Customer complaint can be basis for discipline

09/01/2007

Employers can’t cater to every customer’s whim, but they can respond to complaints about employee behavior without worrying that a judge will second-guess their decision …