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Employee Relations

Raise Doesn’t Prove Employee Was Succeeding

10/01/2001

Q. About three months ago, we gave a marginal employee who is pregnant a pay raise in hopes that it would improve her job performance by boosting her morale. Unfortunately, her performance has gone from bad to worse. If we fire her for poor performance, can she successfully argue that the recent raise indicates that she was performing well and that our reason for terminating her was discriminatory? —H.K., Illinois

You Can Restrict Use of Personal Days

10/01/2001

Q. If a company provides both personal and vacation days for its employees and does not define what a personal day is, can that be used for anything outside of vacation time? —E.H., Utah

Don’t let blabbing employees hide their identity on the Internet

09/01/2001
Imagine that an employee posts confidential information about your company on an Internet message board. What do you do? One company sued the message-board site to learn the identity of the …

Investigate complaints, pronto

09/01/2001
The male workers at an Azteca restaurant constantly mocked Antonio Sanchez for his effeminate ways. They swore at him and referred to the waiter as “she” and “her.” Sanchez finally …

Get Certification Before Granting FMLA Leave

09/01/2001

Q. An employee told her supervisor that she needed surgery. We approved time off under the FMLA with the understanding that she would provide certification after the leave began. We later discovered that this “necessary” procedure was liposuction. Can we revoke approval of medical leave under FMLA and convert sick hours used to vacation hours instead? Can we fire her based on inappropriate use of the FMLA? —T.S., Florida

Simple hearsay about harassment doesn’t create hostile environment

08/01/2001
When Diane Leibovitz heard that two employees of the New York City Transit Authority had been harassed, she claimed that made her a victim of a hostile environment and filed …

Don’t ignore minority-on-minority harassment

08/01/2001
Steven Bell worked at a state prison with a co-worker who often hurled racial epithets at him, calling him “cracker” and “white boy.” Bell is Filipino and his harasser is …

Partial-week suspensions can strip workers’ exempt status

08/01/2001
Los Angeles and its Department of Water and Power occasionally suspended salaried employees without pay, and now it may have to pony up overtime for groups of employees. The …

Privacy Laws Protect Most Phone Conversations

08/01/2001

Q. I’m considering instituting a policy at my company that would permit me to record my employees’ phone conversations. Can I record employee phone calls without their consent? —P.C., Michigan

Don’t drag feet on accommodation; delay can equal discrimination

07/01/2001
Part of Rose Selenke’s job as a radiology technician involved developing mammography films. She suffered from sinus problems and frequently complained about fumes in the darkroom. The first time her …