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Employee Relations

Discipline calls for language that cites objective shortcomings, not editorial opinions

When disciplining employees, try to stick to objective facts. For example, if a worker isn’t abiding by a dress code, state what rule she is violating. Keep the editorial comments to yourself.

Prepare to justify discipline occurring after employee complains about discrimination

Simply put, a bad review all by itself isn’t usually grounds for a lawsuit in most cases. However, punishing someone with a bad review because they complained about discrimination may land you in legal trouble.

Bungled investigation may not sink defense

Sometimes, investigations don’t go as planned. An employer can have good policies and the best of intentions and still make mistakes. Fortunately, that’s not necessarily the kiss of death for a workplace investigation. Just be prepared to clearly explain what happened.

Texas Supreme Court greenlights Bev Kearney’s lawsuit

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that a long-simmering sex and racial discrimination lawsuit filed by former University of Texas women’s track and field coach Bev Kearney can proceed.

Never ignore any lawsuit

Here’s a lesson for small employers that may be tempted to ignore legal pleadings, thinking there’s no merit to a worker’s claims. Doing so likely will result in a default judgment.

It’s up to worker to ask about status of promotion

In a win for employers, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employee cannot wait years before suing about a promotion that never materialized.

Tell bosses not to gloss over performance deficiencies

Some supervisors hate including negative feedback in performance reviews of good employees. But nearly everyone has some room for improvement. It’s up to HR to insist on accurate evaluations, including negative feedback when warranted.

OK to discipline even after worker complains

Some employees may not realize it, but filing an internal discrimination or harassment complaint doesn’t create immunity to legitimate, unrelated discipline.

Discipline ASAP if boss targets older workers

It happens all too often: A bully boss yells, berates, pushes and prods older employees more than other staff members. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that resigning under such circumstances is a reasonable response and amounts to a constructive discharge.

Motivate the long-termers

When a long-term employee seems to be stuck in a rut or is simply coasting, a few moves by the employee’s manager can shake out the cobwebs and rekindle the employee’s fire. Here are five tips.