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Productivity / Performance

‘Get real’ with job reviews; don’t fluff them up

07/08/2009

You and the supervisors at your organization have read horror stories of negative performance reviews spawning lawsuits from disgruntled employees. As a result, some supervisors may shy away from rating someone lower than his or her colleagues. That fear is one main reason too many reviews are positive even if performance is average or poor. The better thing to do is to urge your supervisors to “get real” with reviews.

Don’t rush to judge accommodation requests; ADA requires interactive give-and-take

07/08/2009

Employees who qualify as “disabled” under the ADA have the right to reasonable accommodations to allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. But choosing those accommodations requires an “interactive process” between employer and employee. Employers that rush to judgment about the alleged disability or the accommodation request will risk legal trouble.

3M wins class-action decertification—for now

07/08/2009

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has decertified a class-action lawsuit brought by 4,900 current and former Minnesota employees of 3M. The suit alleged that company policies, seemingly neutral, actually had a disparate impact on older workers.

Congratulations, you beat the EEOC! Just don’t expect to recover attorneys’ fees

07/08/2009

It’s one of the sad realities of today’s litigious world: Even when you win a lawsuit, you’re seldom able to recoup all your legal fees unless you win big. That’s true even if your opponent is the EEOC and it’s clear it didn’t have much of a case to begin with.

Be ready to intervene if supervisor who shows bias needs an attitude adjustment

07/06/2009

In a perfect world, no one would ever utter a slur or make a derogatory comment. But this isn’t a perfect world, and employees come to work with emotional and cultural baggage. It’s up HR to make sure that baggage doesn’t turn into a discrimination lawsuit. 

An easy way to head off retaliation claims: Keep past performance reviews

07/06/2009

Before you decide to throw out old evaluations and files, consider this: An employee may sue and refer back to those evaluations from memory. If she remembers nothing but positive performance reviews until a recent poor appraisal (engineered, she believes, to get her fired), you’ll need to be able to show her employment history wasn’t as rosy as she remembers.

Beware issuing completely negative performance reviews

07/06/2009

Supervisors often come down hard on underperforming employees during regular performance reviews. But sometimes, completely negative appraisals can come back to haunt you if the employee later sues. Juries are more likely to believe that you terminated the employee fairly if you include some positive feedback.

12 tips to help employees handle the stress of tough times

07/06/2009

Layoffs, pay cuts and an uncertain economy have left many organizations with fewer employees to do the work—often for the same or less money. Not all of those employees are handling it well. Here are a dozen ways you can deal with economy-induced employee stress and help your employees focus on their work:

Keep superstars on board with sabbaticals—even during tough times

07/06/2009

During a time of layoffs and budget cuts, you might not think a lot of organizations would be encouraging their employees to take lengthy sabbaticals—or that employees would feel secure enough to accept the offer. Yet six-week to six-month job pauses remain as common as ever. There are good reasons why the sabbatical is enduring even as other benefits become expendable.

Measure productivity loss when tallying up health costs

07/06/2009

Pull out your attendance records and a calculator to determine just how much productivity is suffering because of employee illness and poor health. Then find out what kinds of medical conditions are keeping employees from working at full capacity.