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Productivity / Performance

Fitness-for-Duty Letters Trigger Instant Reinstatement

03/01/2006

Must you allow an employee to return after FMLA leave if you don’t think she’s physically ready? She could injure herself if she returns. But if you block her return, you could face a failure-to-reinstate FMLA lawsuit. Begin the return-to-work process earlier to see if she still has the ability to perform the job’s essential functions …

Medication may limit employees’ FMLA reinstatement rights

03/01/2006

What happens if an employee tries to return to work after FMLA leave but isn’t quite recovered? In that case, you can turn the employee away if he or she can’t perform the job’s essential functions. That scenario often plays out when the returning employee’s job involves operating machinery or driving and the person must take medication …

The 3-Step Method for Giving Clear Instructions

02/01/2006

You may think you’re giving clear instructions, but you lost her back at Step 14a. People want to know three things: 1. What am I supposed to do? 2. By when? 3. In what order? …

Make sure your physical tests gauge realistic demands of the job

02/01/2006

Any tests you use to screen applicants should relate to the job, and you must be prepared to prove that they do. If you can’t and a protected group of workers (e.g., women, minorities) tend to score poorly, you’re just asking for a lawsuit …

You can remove injured worker for safety reasons

02/01/2006

Q. An employee told us he has a bad hernia. He wants to wait a couple months to have the operation, since it requires six weeks’ recovery. He does some lifting in his job. Yesterday, he had to go home early because he was in pain. Now that we are aware of his condition, what’s our liability? And what should we do? —D.C., New Jersey

Revise your overly complex employee review methods

02/01/2006

If your evaluation procedures are too complicated, employees may question whether they’re being treated fairly. Mild suspicions can quickly grow into expensive discrimination lawsuits, as a new court ruling shows …

Same job titles don’t demand the same pay

01/01/2006

While the Equal Pay Act prohibits wage discrimination against women, make sure you and your supervisors realize that it doesn’t require every employee in the same position to earn the same salary. If you can point to factors other than gender (seniority, education, experience, skills, etc.), you can set radically different salaries for employees who hold the exact same job …

Avoid Impromptu Job Reviews; It’ll Look Like a ‘Paper’ Job

01/01/2006

Warn your supervisors that if they quickly schedule negative employee reviews—particularly after an employee files a complaint—they could appear to be papering the employee’s file in advance of a retaliatory firing, which won’t look good in court …

Avoid Phrases That Can Sabotage Job-Review Meetings

01/01/2006
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Involve all relevant managers in employee reviews

10/01/2005

Q. We have an employee who works for two different departments, under two different supervisors. Which supervisor should conduct the review, the one with the most seniority? —D.F., Illinois