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Productivity / Performance

Top 5 e-mail mistakes and how to avoid them


E-mail is a great business tool, but sometimes it makes one yearn for the bad old days of neatly typed (and proofread) memos in interoffice envelopes. Here are five tips to share with employees to keep e-mailing safe and productive, rather than embarrassing and destructive.

Labor Dept. draws battle lines in the great FMLA fight


Chances are your employees are happier with the 14-year-old FMLA than you are.  A new U.S. Labor Department report says employees would like to expand the law to create longer leaves and paid leaves. But employers argue that the law’s vague wording (and employees’ ability to play games with FMLA) create legal and productivity nightmares. Here are the main problems employers have with the FMLA, according to Labor’s report …

Nondisabled workers earn ADA protection, too


Q. I know the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives disabled employees special rights. But I read that the law also extends to employees who aren’t disabled. How is that so? —N.L. …

Can you consider FMLA leave in employee’s review?


Q. We have an employee who takes a lot of intermittent FMLA leave for medical reasons. We are writing her performance appraisal and need to address topics such as dependability, reliability, etc. Her FMLA leaves are affecting these issues. Does the law regulate whether we can lower her performance review or merit increases based on her FMLA leave? —G.L., Massachusetts …

HR investigations must go beyond supervisor suggestions


When it comes to determining employee wrongdoing and setting punishment, it’s essential to use a  complete and independent investigative process. Otherwise, the company can wind up being responsible if it turns out that a supervisor who was “out to get” an employee—perhaps in retaliation for filing a discrimination claim— trumped up performance problems or other employee deficiencies …

Discrimination, harassment, retaliation cost LAFD $6.2 million


A California Superior Court jury recently awarded a city firefighter $6.2 million in a lawsuit claiming race discrimination, sex discrimination, harassment and retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act …

Document discharge reasons before taking action


Faced with a performance problem, too many employers seize on the first reason to discharge an employee instead of thoroughly reviewing the person’s work and documenting any problems in his or her file. That’s fine, if the firing rationale stands up to scrutiny and the employee doesn’t sue. But if the employee claims some form of discrimination, you want the reason you chose to be rock-solid …

Turning managers into leaders: 5 questions to ask


We look in mirrors every day. They give us a reflection of ourselves. But what about our inner selves—our attitudes and thoughts? How often do we look there? True leaders look inward every day and take stock of themselves. As simple as it sounds, it’s the step most overlooked by managers in their journey to becoming leaders …

5 simple ways to salvage a ‘below-standard’ employee

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Pay raises near 3.8% in ’08; more firms use bonuses


A trio of new salary surveys from top consulting firms—Mercer, Hewitt and WorldatWork—predict that U.S. employers will dole out annual pay raises of about 3.8% in 2008, about the same level as this year …