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Discipline / Investigations

Your new workers’ comp investigator: Facebook


More employers are using Facebook and other social media sites to spot employees who file fraudulent workers’ comp claims. Example: An employee who was in too much pain to get out of bed posted video of himself competing in a rodeo.

Anti-bias agency learns what it’s like to be sued


The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, which investigates discrimination charges, has been sued over an allegedly negligent investigation.

Reward for doctor who blew whistle on Medicare fraud


Dr. Steven Radjenovich contacted federal officials when he believed Wheaton Community Hospital was manipulating hospital stays to overcharge the federal government. As a result, he will share in the almost $850,000 fine the hospital will pay to settle the charges.

A taste of her own medicine: Office manager to pay doc, IRS


Medical office manager Karen Schmidt of Amberley Village has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and filing a false tax return in connection with a scheme to bilk her employer, Ohio Valley Orthopedics, a Cincinnati-area medical practice.

OK to aggressively question suspected thieves—as long as your intent isn’t malicious


Some employees are light-fingered, and it isn’t always easy to catch them stealing. Loss-prevention staff often presses hard when interviewing employees they suspect are pilfering. That’s appropriate, as is reporting the case to police. As the following case shows, aggressive questioning during an initial investigation doesn’t equal malicious intent.

Disciplining safety violators: Don’t just holler


What do your supervisors do when they catch workers breaking a major safety rule? Simply yell at the worker? A new court ruling highlights the importance of enforcing safety rules with discipline and documentation.

Not sure it’s sexual harassment? Take steps to end it anyway


Not every complaint about alleged sexual harassment turns out to be true. Sometimes, the harasser may simply be a difficult personality. He or she may have it in for all co-workers, and the harassment that someone complains about may be completely unrelated to sex. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should ignore the behavior. Your best bet is to discipline the employee.

You can’t choose the day for FMLA medical treatments


Employees who suffer from chronic conditions may have to see their doctors regularly. Under the FMLA, if those employees give you 30 days’ notice, they’re allowed to pick the day for their appointment. You can’t simply argue that they don’t need to take off that particular day because there is no emergency or urgency.

Slouching doesn’t sit well with us: Can we discipline?


A reader of The HR Specialist Forum asks: “What can I do about a data entry employee who doesn’t sit upright? I don’t mean ordinary slouching; this guy practically lies down in his chair! I’ve offered him a new chair, but he says he’s fine. I’m in charge of safety and I’m trying to prevent an injury claim. Can we reprimand him?”

When discipline differs, be ready to explain why


Employees often sue for discrimination when they suffer harsher discipline than co-workers did. You can counter those bias claims by having clear records that show how you decided on the specific discipline each employee received. Explain why the punishments were different.