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Discipline / Investigations

Follow up on complaints to ensure mistreatment stops along with harassment


California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act protects employees from sexual harassment by co-workers. But what happens if management stops the harassment but the co-workers find other ways to make life miserable for their victims? It’s HR’s responsibility to make sure a victim of sexual harassment isn’t targeted for other mistreatment …

Track whom you discipline to avoid litigation


Employees who are fired after breaking work rules often allege that they were targeted because of some protected characteristic like gender, age, race or ethnicity. The best way to counter such claims is to know beforehand whether your organization is being tougher on some employees who belong to a protected class while letting others slide.

Professor accused of swiping entire program


New England College has filed suit against poetry professor Anne Marie Macari, alleging she stole its innovative master’s degree program in poetry and set up shop at Drew University in Madison.

Trenton power broker convicted of bribery and pension fraud


Former state Sen. Wayne Bryant, once one of New Jersey’s most powerful politicians, was convicted of bribery and pension fraud for taking state jobs for which he did no work and steering state business to cronies in return.

Can employees plead the Fifth Amendment during an investigative interview?


Q. Our company recently discovered some theft in our operation. We called an employee in for an investigative interview. He claimed to have consulted with an attorney and refused to answer our questions on the grounds that he could not be forced to incriminate himself under the Fifth Amendment. What are our choices?

No charges, but woman loses 2 jobs after bridge collapse


Ramsey County prosecutors declined to file felony theft charges against Sonia Pitt, former director of homeland security and emergency management at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, finding her conduct in the wake of the deadly I-35W bridge collapse objectionable, but not criminal.

Reiterate your drug policies in wake of Prop 1 passage


How Michigan’s new Medical Marijuana Act will affect employers has been hotly debated. Proposal 1, approved by voters in the November 2008 election, removed state-level penalties for registered patients who use or possess marijuana.

Ferret out bias: Ask supervisor whether he’s reported all similar incidents


You probably rely on your supervisors and managers to give you all the relevant information before you make a disciplinary decision. But what if they don’t? If you don’t ask the right questions, you may inadvertently approve what ends up being a discriminatory action.

Cut your risk! Have HR make firing decisions


Here’s another good reason to insist that HR handle all terminations: It’s much harder for employees to sue the company for its supervisors’ alleged harassment or discrimination if the HR office has primary responsibility for discharge decisions. Here’s why …

Don’t consider FMLA absences when firing


Employers can’t punish or otherwise hold it against employees for taking FMLA leave—that’s interfering with FMLA rights, and it’s illegal. That’s why it’s important to exclude FMLA leave when making any disciplinary decisions based on employee absences.