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Discipline / Investigations

Set up systems to prevent employee sabotage


Employees often have legitimate reasons for accusing their employers of retaliation. But sometimes, employees themselves retaliate against a company, either out of malice, or to head off being fired. That’s one reason it pays to try to anticipate employee misfeasance and guard against sabotage.

Conducting workplace investigations: A step-by-step guide

Disputes between co-workers and between employees and their bosses are almost inevitable—which is why every HR professional must know how to gather the necessary facts to find out what’s going on. Take some time to think about and plan your inquiry even for simple, seemingly routine issues. If the situation is complicated or raises a red flag about possible legal claims, a well-planned investigation can be critically important.

Scam against Cisco could mean 20 years for IT manager

An IT manager at the Woodbury-based Postal Credit Union has pleaded guilty to scamming computer giant Cisco Systems out of $388,000 by swapping allegedly defective Cisco parts for good ones and then reselling the replacements on the open market.

If absenteeism not disability-related, feel free to discipline


You should hold disabled employees to the same behavioral standards as other employees, unless there is a good disability-related reason to deviate from the rules. For example, if you set strict time limits for lunches and authorized breaks, there is no reason to give disabled employees more time unless allowing more time is a legitimate reasonable accommodation.

Tollway EEO officer claims punishment after complaints

An Equal Employment Opportunity officer with the Illinois Tollway has sued the agency, claiming she was suspended in retaliation for two reports she wrote alleging contracting improprieties by its former chief procurement officer.

Steamed at Maxwell House, employee wins reinstatement


Francena Smith will return to her former job at Kraft Foods’ Maxwell House division in Jacksonville following an arbitrator’s decision. Smith filed an EEOC gender discrimination claim alleging she was disciplined more harshly than several male workers who were also involved in incidents at the plant that caused contamination of the coffee.

Document all efforts to investigate complaints

One of the best ways to show you took a harassment or discrimination complaint seriously is to come up with figures quantifying your efforts to resolve it. A critical step: logging the number of hours you spent investigating claims, along with a detailed account of all the other steps you took.

Can we talk? How to tackle tough disciplinary conversations


Managers often have to confront “challenging” employees who, while typically good at their jobs, too often display unprofessional or downright obnoxious behavior. The best way to tackle such problems is to meet with employees right when you spot the problem behavior. Here’s how to do so in a way that protects the organization from employee claims that they weren’t treated fairly.

Employee lied during internal investigation? That’s a firing offense you can act on


Employers know they must conduct prompt and thorough investigations once an employee complains about discrimination or harassment. The integrity of the investigative process depends on the honesty of all participants. You don’t have to tolerate employees who lie during an investigation, even if the lie is a minor one.

Hey, boss, you better call HR! Warn managers against trying to resolve complaints informally


Sometimes, managers and supervisors just want their employees to get along and get their work done. When they hear someone complaining about sexual or other harassment, they may be tempted to blow it off as a distraction and just ignore it or tell the co-workers involved to stop it. That’s not good enough.