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Employee Relations

Reject accommodation requests that harm business relationships

Elizabeth Anderson, an office worker for a shipping firm, regularly ended her conversations and written communications with customers with the words, “Have a blessed day.” After her employer got a …

Study: Race colors perceptions of workplace discrimination

A new national survey of 1,000 workers portrays sharply different views of how minorities are treated at work, and should serve as a wake-up call to employers. One key …

Enforcing Sales Quotas


Q. As a large retail business, we employ several “demo staffers” who present products to shoppers in the hope they’ll buy them. Recently, given economic pressures, we’ve had to put increasing pressure on our demo staff to increase sales up to 200 percent. If a demo staffer doesn’t meet the new goal, can we terminate her? Do these workers have legal recourse should they be fired? —T.P., California

States up the ante in harassment liability

Two pivotal Supreme Court decisions in 1998 gave employers a powerful new weapon to defend themselves when sued because of harassment by a supervisor. But recent rulings in a handful of …

Employees must ‘fess up about their need for leave

Linda Collins’ attendance record at work was spotty at best. Her employer warned her more than a dozen times, including four formal warnings. But when she again called in sick two …

Commuting perks: New rules make them more attractive

Although 86 percent of American workers feel that commuter assistance benefits, such as discount transit passes, ride-sharing boards or parking benefits, are beneficial, only 17 percent have access to such perks, …

Educate employees on new benefit-law changes

Few workers seem aware that last year’s new tax law lets them save more in their 401(k) plans this year, perhaps because most companies haven’t told them. Only 30 percent …

Don’t Withhold Pay as Punishment


Q. When an employee fails to clock in or out properly, our payroll department withholds that day’s pay until the next pay period as a form of employee discipline. My understanding is that an employer can’t hold back portions of pay as punishment. Am I right? —J.A., Georgia

Consistency: Your key defense

Three employees at a Minnesota prison complained when told they had to sit through a mandatory training session on gays and lesbians in the workplace. The warden tried to ease their …

Don’t bury your rights in fine print

When a Dunkin’ Donuts customer stormed away after an exchange with sales clerk Richard Ferguson, a supervisor followed and talked with him out of Ferguson’s earshot. A few days later, Ferguson …