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Discipline / Investigations

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.

Handle criminal inquiry with care, sensitivity

10/10/2011

No one likes being accused of a criminal offense if they are innocent. Be careful about making such accusations publicly—you could end up being sued for defamation or intentional infliction of emotional distress. But that doesn’t mean you can’t investigate apparently missing funds and similar, possibly criminal cases.

DOL: Company president pumped assets out of fund

10/03/2011
The Employee Benefits Secu­r­ity Administration (EBSA) is suing Keith Davis, owner of Elmhurst-based A.B.D. Tank & Pump Co., claiming he drained his employees’ retirement fund of $1.9 million.

Feds sue Northbrook union fund for improper lending

10/03/2011
The Dol has sued the United Employee Benefit Fund in Northbrook and its trustees, following an investigation by the Employee Benefits Security Admin­istration that found the defendants violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by making improper loans.

Cut retaliation liability risk by taking action on all harassment complaints

10/03/2011

All too often, sexual harassment involving just two people de­­volves into a he said/she said stand-off. But if the alleged harassment occurs at work, you must act to stop it or you’ll risk liability. Fortunately, you don’t have to be absolutely right about what happened.

What are the rules on setting a late policy?

10/03/2011
Q, We would like to institute a rule subjecting em­­ployees to discipline for clocking in late. Are we permitted to do this even though we round our employees’ time to the nearest quarter-hour?

Have a progressive discipline system? Beware giving more leeway to younger employees

10/03/2011

It might make sense to give newer employees a bit more leeway when it comes to discipline for poor job performance. After all, sometimes it takes time to learn a job well. But if the newer employees happen to be younger than another, older employee who doesn’t get the same benefit of the doubt, you may spark an age discrimination lawsuit.