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Discipline / Investigations

Workplace gossip doesn’t count as protected speech

Americans can speak their minds as they wish in many places, but your workplace isn’t one of them. First Amendment free-speech rights do not extend to the private workplace. So don’t …

When can you ask employees about their prescriptions?

Issue: The Staten Island Ferry crash in October raised the issue of when you can investigate employees’ prescription use. Risk: You could spark an ADA suit by asking too many …

It’s OK to discipline employees for public displays of affection

If employees’ on-site amorous actions are making you or their co-workers uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to tell the lovebirds to withhold their romance for more private, off-premise moments. Courts will likely …

You may need to offer flex schedule as ADA accommodation

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says you must make accommodations to let disabled employees perform the essential functions of their jobs. But regular, on-time attendance is an essential job function, …

Tell Supervisors to Make FMLA a ‘Work-Free Zone’


Asking employees to perform even a minimal amount of work while they’re out on an FMLA absence could spark a lawsuit. And firing someone for refusing to pirtch in while out on leave almost surely will …

‘Self-defense’ is no excuse for ignoring anti-violence rules

Issue: Employees may try to use “self-defense” as a reason for breaking your no-fighting rule.
Risk: That would limit your ability to punish violent workers …

Play it safe: Craft policy banning supervisor/subordinate relationships

Issue: Personal relationships between employees and their bosses are ripe conditions for legal trouble.
Risk: Any form of quid pro quo (“this for that”) exchange of sexual favors for job …

Don’t ‘call out’ staff slackers in public

Reprimands and demotions are a normal part of managing people. But don’t let supervisors take it a step further by broadcasting a reprimand to those with no reason to know.

Mind your P’s and P’s: Patience and proof are best defense against lawsuits

Some managers are reluctant to discipline minority employees or others in “protected” classes. That’s not smart, and it can come back to haunt you if you don’t discipline all employees evenly. …

Prevent managers from interfering with employees’ ADA rights

You know that you can’t retaliate against employees who request accommodation under the Americans with Disabil-ities Act (ADA). But in addition to this anti-retaliation rule, the law includes a little-known “interference” …