• The HR Specialist - Print Newsletter
  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR LAW Weekly
  • The HR Weekly

Discipline / Investigations

Boss recommends firing? Check for bias

02/27/2012
Before disciplining or discharging an employee based on a supervisor’s recommendation, make sure you independently investigate the reason. That’s the only surefire way to avoid “rubber-stamping” a biased supervisor’s hidden agenda.

OSHA’s Whistle-Blower Program

02/18/2012

HR Law 101:  OSHA’s special whistle-blower program is designed to protect workers who report employer wrongdoing or dangerous conditions. Under the program, employers may not retaliate or discriminate against workers who file complaints with OSHA …

Tell bosses: Follow 3 cardinal rules to document discipline

02/02/2012

To be successful, employee feedback should be routine, not a once-a-year event. In the same way, managers should make documentation of employee performance, behavior and discipline a regular habit. But how managers document their observations can mean the difference between winning and losing, should an employee ever decide to take you to court.

Is there a way to ensure sensitive investigation records remain confidential?

02/02/2012
Q. One of our employees has just filed an internal complaint claiming that she has been sexually harassed. We are concerned that if we discipline the alleged harasser based on our findings and note this incident in his personnel file, he may demand to inspect our investigation records. May we avoid this by maintaining a separate investigation file?

Beware defamation claims based on discipline write-ups

02/02/2012

Remind supervisors and managers to stick with verifiable and documented facts when writing up an employee for poor performance, a mistake or other disciplinary matter. That’s because a false write-up could be grounds for a later defamation lawsuit.

Carefully review sudden claims of disability during discipline

02/02/2012

Some employees, forced to confront poor work habits, workplace mistakes or other disciplinary problems, decide to tell their employers that they have a disability. Don’t take the bait.

Be sure to document the effective date of all new disciplinary policies

02/02/2012
When you change a disciplinary policy, make sure you document exactly when the change went into effect. That way, an employee who is punished more severely can’t point to the earlier disciplinary actions as evidence he was unfairly singled out.

How to make ‘one rule’ discipline work

02/01/2012
If you want to streamline your employee manual and disciplinary process, you may be tempted to create one general misconduct rule. It might state, for example, “Violating company policies can result in discipline, up to and including termination.” But before you adopt such a rule, make sure HR is ready to administer it.

He said, she said: What if they both did? Trust investigation to reveal harassment truth

02/01/2012
If your sexual harassment policy is comprehensive, any complaint may trigger an investigation that uncovers many violations—perhaps even by the complaining employee. When that happens, the best policy is to let the investigation take its course and document everything. Then discipline everyone who violated the policy.

Employee refuses to follow instructions? Courts won’t second-guess disciplinary decisions

02/01/2012
Courts don’t want to second-guess every employment decision. They leave it up to employers to determine, for example, whether one rule violation is more serious than another. As the following case shows, employers are free to terminate employees who won’t listen.