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Employee Relations

How to confront mistake-prone employees

It’s never easy for managers to confront an employee whose performance is slipping or who has begun making more mistakes. Here are some key rules of engagement.

When bias charges loom, documentation proves discipline was warranted

When it comes to terminating an employee for poor performance, careful documentation is essential. Make sure you can later explain exactly how you handled the employee’s performance problems.

Your own detective work can pay off in court

Employees have only a limited amount of time in which to file lawsuits. However, judges sometimes bend over backwards to give late filers a second chance. When that happens, it may be worth finding out why the delay occurred.

HR pros, bosses beware! Shoddy harassment investigation may create personal liability

If you don’t do enough to end reported harassment, you may be found liable under New York state and New York City law for aiding and abetting that harassment. In fact, it’s just as if you were the harasser yourself—you could be subject to personal liability.

Progressive discipline is great, but retain the right to fire immediately if necessary

If you have a progressive discipline system, give yourself some wiggle room. Make sure you retain the right to immediately terminate an employee when necessary.

Protected activity occurred long ago? Discipline now won’t cost a retaliation suit

If an employee complains about discrimination or takes protected leave, beware taking any action that smacks of retaliation. Otherwise, you are risking a lawsuit.

Workers’ comp pending? Discipline with care

Are you disputing an employee’s workers’ compensation claim? Be careful how you handle absences during the time the case is working its way through the system.

Not every suspension is retaliation

HR professionals sometimes warn managers that suspending an employee without pay can backfire—even if it’s for what seem like legitimate reasons. The problem is the potential for a retaliation lawsuit if the employee has previously complained about discrimination.

Document performance to beat bias claims

When a fired employee claims he was the victim of discrimination, be prepared to show that the real reason for termination was poor performance. That requires keeping detailed documentation of any work deficiencies.

Snapshot: Who is most responsible for giving workers what they need to succeed?

HR, IT and top brass all have some effect on employee success, but none matter more than immediate bosses.