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Productivity / Performance

The Dirty Dozen: Manager mistakes that spark lawsuits


Lawsuits by employees against their employers have grown tremendously in the past decade. Sometimes those lawsuits have merit, sometimes they don’t. Here are 12 of the biggest manager mistakes that harm an organization’s credibility in court. Use these points as a checklist to shore up your personal employment-law defense.

Results, not hours, are focus of Best Buy clock-Smashing plan


At Best Buy headquarters in Richfield, Minn., leaving work early doesn’t trigger a guilt trip for employees, as long as their work is finished. The Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) initiative makes it possible …

How to respond when employees show mental instability


A star employee tells you his new depression medicine makes it impossible for him to get to work on time. Must you alter his schedule? …

FMLA: When You Can Refuse to Reinstate a Worker


HR Law 101: The FMLA allows employers to refuse to reinstate workers returning from FMLA leave under limited circumstances. For example, if you have experienced a reduction in force due to the economy or a companywide reorganization, you may be able to eliminate a returning worker’s job …

No policy? Punish moonlighter anyway


Q. We just discovered that an employee we hired two months ago is working for another company, too. He is a salaried employee and hardly ever in the office. Is there anything we can do? Is it too late to add a no-moonlighting policy to our handbook? —K.T., California

Inheriting staff? Setting higher standards is perfectly legal


If you’re part of a new management team bent on improving overall performance, don’t let lawsuit fears keep you from imposing higher standards on inherited staff …

How to handle discipline for pregnant employees


Q. We have an employee who was on probation when she became pregnant. What can we do if she continues to have performance problems? —J.J.

Free food! Boost morale, productivity by feeding the staff


Your organization may spring for pizza when everyone works late or buy a cake for employees’ birthdays. But employer-provided food can do more than fill the bellies of hungry staff …

Setting layoff criteria? You can ignore past performance


When planning a layoff or restructuring, you can set criteria for who gets the ax by focusing on employees’ potential future contributions and ignoring their past performance …

Performance reviews: a two-way street

Performance reviews are an excel­lent time to exchange important information with employees. But to be effective, there must be a genuine exchange.