• The HR Specialist - Print Newsletter
  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR Weekly

Productivity / Performance

Clarify the essential functions before rejecting accommodation bid


You can reject a disabled employee’s accommodation request (or refuse to hire a person) if the individual isn’t able to perform the "essential functions" of the job, even with an accommodation. But many ADA failure-to-accommodate lawsuits hinge on which tasks are considered essential …

It’s your duty, not just workers,’ to suggest accommodation ideas


When a disabled employee requests accommodation to help him or her perform the job’s essential functions, don’t just knock the ball back into the employee’s court by saying, "What do you want us to do?" It’s up to you to actively help look for solutions …

Get the troops on board

In a recent survey, nearly half the workers responding felt their organization had failed to provide clearly defined goals for their jobs. To help your employees get back into the game, Joanne G. Sujansky offers this advice to create a goal-oriented culture.

Inject more oversight, responsibility into flex schedules


With flexible schedules reaching near-entitlement status, some employers are pulling in the reins on this runaway perk.
A tighter and clearer flex-schedule policy can help you regain control over the benefit and increase productivity …

Better communication = better performance


A new study proves what you may intuitively know: Organizations that communicate effectively with employees outperform those that don’t …

Medication may limit employees’ FMLA reinstatement rights


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 …

Fitness-for-Duty Letters Trigger Instant Reinstatement


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 …

Make sure your physical tests gauge realistic demands of the job


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


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


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 …