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Discipline / Investigations

Look into all bias complaints; even ‘nontargets’ can sue

Issue: Employees who are negatively affected by workplace discrimination can file lawsuits, even if they aren’t the targets.
Risk: The EEOC is encouraging such whistle-blower suits, which opens a new …

Beware growing liability risk: harassment by customers

Issue: Courts are cracking down on employers that tolerate customer harassment of foreign-born employees.
Risk: Supervisors sometimes are more lenient with harassment by customers than by employees. That’s a big …

How to deal with a disrespectful employee


Q. One of our employees constantly twists everything I say around to make the situation seem worse than it is. For example, when I put her paycheck on the counter because she was doing something, she told others that I threw it at her. She has lied about many incidents. I have spoken with her several times and indicated that her actions are unprofessional and disrespectful. This is not good for my reputation. I need a solution. —S.W., Texas

Employees can disobey bias-tainted orders

When an employee refuses to carry out an order, supervisors may automatically think such insubordination is worthy of discipline or firing. Not so fast! That initial response, punish the employee, may …

A surprise inspection can uncover discrimination before it’s too late

There may be areas of your workplace that supervisors, and maybe even HR, rarely visit, such as locker rooms, loading docks and break rooms. But don’t take a “hear no evil, …

Self-diagnosis won’t cut it; require proof of disability

Do you have an employee whose sniffles, coughing or health complaints drive co-workers crazy? Has she told you that she’s disabled and can’t help the snorting and sneezing? You don’t need …

Don’t shrug off complaints of female-on-male harassment

If a male employee complains about sexually harassing comments by a female co-worker, how would your supervisors respond?
Too often, bosses (and some HR professionals) laugh off such “reverse” harassment …

Workplace violence: Keep staff safe the legally smart way

THE LAW. Employees who commit violent acts in the workplace obviously violate state criminal laws. But the liability trail doesn’t stop there.
Employers have a legal obligation to maintain a …

Thwart FMLA abuse with periodic calls, check-ins

Issue: Many HR professionals believe they’ve unwittingly approved FMLA leave for fraudulent reasons.
Benefit: A new court ruling makes it easier for you to check up on employees on FMLA …

Mandatory EAP referral is legal


Q. In a previous issue of HR Specialist, you said that employers can’t force employees to visit a psychologist. Our Internet policy says that if we find employees accessing pornographic Web sites, they’ll receive a three-day suspension without pay and a mandatory referral to an EAP counselor. Can we require this? —A.C., Maryland