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Discipline / Investigations

Court: Retirement isn’t constructive discharge

12/01/2011
Do you worry that encouraging someone to retire when he’s facing disciplinary action could backfire? Relax. In most circumstances, a voluntary retirement that isn’t pressured or forced because of a threat of imminent discharge isn’t considered a constructive discharge.

Documentation is key to winning bias lawsuits–along with clear policies, thorough investigations

12/01/2011

When terminating several em­­ployees at the same time, make sure you have carefully documented the reasons. That’s especially important if the employees share common protected characteristics such as age. You want to be prepared for a lawsuit if they decide the real reason they lost their jobs was their protected characteristic.

Discipline OK for stonewalling investigation

12/01/2011

Sexual harassment allegations often come down to he said/she said arguments. Without hearing from both sides, there’s no way to figure out what happened. If one of the people involved in the allegations won’t talk, you can discipline him for refusing to co­­operate.

Worried about ADA: Can we discipline for misbehavior caused by medical condition?

11/07/2011
Q. One of our employees recently violated a work rule by shouting at his supervisor. After the incident, the employee disclosed to the company for the first time that he had a mental disorder that he claims caused his conduct. Can we discipline him, or would that be disability discrimination?

Sudden discipline after exemplary record? Don’t rule out supervisor prejudice

11/07/2011

Employees with excellent performance records often head straight to HR the first time they face disciplinary action. And you’re right to worry enough to take a careful look at whether the proposed discipline is warranted. It’s possible that a boss’s prejudice may have motivated the discipline.

Don’t let bias complaint stop legit discipline

11/07/2011
Here’s an important reminder for HR professionals handling em­­ployee discipline: If the disciplinary process is well under way—and you believe that the proposed discipline is fair, reasonable and based on facts—there’s no need to stop the process just because the employee files an internal discrimination complaint.

Punish employees who ‘occupy’ in their spare time?

11/01/2011
Q. What recourse do employers have against employees involved in ‘Occupy [Wherever]’ protests during off-time?

Don’t let bias complaint stop legit discipline

11/01/2011
Here’s an important reminder for HR professionals handling em­­ployee discipline: If the disciplinary process is well under way—and you believe that the proposed discipline is fair, reasonable and based on facts—there’s no need to stop the process just because the employee files an internal discrimination complaint.

Aggressive defense makes short work of litigation

10/31/2011
Never ignore an employee lawsuit, even if you think it is frivolous. In­­stead, prepare to defend yourself as soon as possible. That way, you can push for a quick dismissal if it’s clear the employee has no case.

HR detective: How to solve the classic ‘he said/she said’ mystery

10/11/2011
It’s a mistake that’s all too common: An employer investigating harassment claims or other workplace infraction fails to act when the inquiry bumps up against a “he said/she said” wall. There are four factors critical to assessing witness credibility: demeanor, consistency, chronology, and past history and motivations.