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Discipline / Investigations

Keep good disciplinary records, win lawsuits


You know how important it is to consistently apply disciplinary rules and ensure no form of bias creeps into the disciplinary process. That’s one reason it’s crucial for HR to keep disciplinary records on file. If employees allege that you disciplined them in a discriminatory way, you’ll be able to show no one was treated more favorably than anyone else.

What is legal discipline for unauthorized overtime?

Q. I know I can’t refuse to pay an hourly employee who works overtime even though I never authorized it. What I don’t understand is what kind of discipline should I implement? Can I, for example, deny a cost-of-living increase?

Absent-minded employees: The 4 key steps to get absenteeism under control … legally

The costs of employee absenteeism—reflected in lost production, overtime and temporary replacements for the absent worker—can add up quickly. What’s the best way to combat the problem? With a clear policy, careful documentation, consistent application of the policy and progressive discipline.

OK to punish employees for disruptive acts–even if done in the context of protesting bias

Employees are protected from retaliation for opposing discriminatory employer practices. But that doesn’t mean they can voice that opposition in a disruptive or discourteous way.

How should we react to an employee’s ‘kill the boss’ Facebook rant?


Q. Our HR department got an anonymous call telling us that one of our employees posted comments on her Facebook page saying, “Some days I could kill my boss.” Can we demand that the employee let us see her page and fire her if she made a threat?

Good-faith investigation of harassment cuts your liability risk — even if you were wrong


Employers sometimes try to avoid taking sides when they learn of possible sexual harassment out of fear that one of the employees involved will sue. Then the situation escalates, and they end up in court anyway. The only realistic employer response: Be prepared to make tough decisions. Investigate the claim.

Is your employee discipline fair? A 5-question self-test


Whether it’s deserved or not, the perception that management is “against” employees, once earned, is difficult to shake. That’s why it’s so important for supervisors and HR to treat all employees fairly and consistently at all times, especially when it comes to discipline. These five questions can help managers gauge whether their discipline is fair. BONUS: 7 tips for documenting your disciplinary process.

How to handle a lying employee


Q. We have an employee who tells his boss he has finished projects when he really hasn’t. Frankly, half the time we don’t believe him when he says something. What can we do?

Misconduct inquiries: What workers ask & how to answer


To conduct misconduct interviews that don’t provide legal ammunition to the employee, come prepared with answers to tough-but-valid questions that employees may ask during the investigation. Here are some of the most difficult questions along with responses that can protect you legally.

Must employers use progressive discipline?


Q. Under our progressive discipline policy, employees receive an oral warning, a written warning, suspension and finally termination. If an employee’s conduct is severe enough to warrant termination upon the first offense, can we fire the employee right away, or must we follow this progressive discipline policy?