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Discipline / Investigations

Discrimination probe stirs more complaints about Michigan DNR


Six months after a state investigation revealed an “oppressive culture” of intolerance and bullying toward women and blacks in the Law Enforcement Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the agency is still reviewing the report, and other employees have stepped forward to reinforce its findings …

OK to apply different discipline standards to new employees


If you classify employees as either permanent or probationary, you can apply different disciplinary standards to the different classifications. That’s true even if the employees perform the same job and violate the same rules …

Track all disciplinary actions to head off disparate-Treatment claims


When employees sue under the employment discrimination laws of Ohio, they often allege disparate treatment and try to show their employer treated members of their protected class (e.g., age, race, sex) more severely than other employees. The key to a good defense lies in tracking each and every disciplinary action when it occurs

Prompt action by management is key to winning hostile-Environment lawsuits


The Ohio Fair Employment Practices Act makes it illegal to subject employees to a racially hostile work environment. But not every hostile act does a lawsuit make. Much depends on management’s response to such hostility …

Suspect employees of theft? Questions are OK, but detaining risks ‘False imprisonment’ claim


A high percentage of workplace theft is the work of insiders. That’s one reason you may want to question employees when money or goods disappear. But don’t act like the police …

Echoes of Virginia Tech: ‘Copycat comments’ lead to firings around U.S.


“If I get one more write-up, if you think they had a problem in Virginia, it’ll be worse here.” That comment by  a Suffolk County (NY) Community College employee led to his arrest. At SeaWorld in Florida, a “joke” about the Virginia Tech shootings earned an employee the same fate. Here’s how to handle such comments in your organization. Plus, learn the 8 warning signs of violent worker behavior. 

‘How may I insult you?’ Rude salespeople ignite bias suits


You’d think the sight of customers paying retail prices with real green money would be a sight for a salesperson’s sore eyes. That apparently wasn’t the case at a Dillard’s department store in Kansas City, which is now facing a messy lawsuit after a saleswoman shunned a customer

‘Secret’ consensual love affair with supervisor doesn’t mean automatic employer liability


While it’s never a good idea for someone with supervisory authority to engage in a sexual relationship with a subordinate, such an affair doesn’t always trigger employer liability …

Michigan supervisors can be personally liable for discrimination


Can a supervisor be sued personally for alleged acts of discrimination in Michigan? Based on a January decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals, the answer is yes …

Docking pay isn’t legal; rounding time normally is


Q. Is it permissible to dock pay for someone who clocks in late? We pay the employee for actual hours worked to the nearest quarter hour, but we also dock tardy employees an additional quarter hour.—P.P.