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Productivity / Performance

No evaluations? You could be called ‘Out!’

07/17/2009

The recession has put the brakes on pay raises in many workplaces. But too many employers have halted performance reviews at the same time. That’s a major mistake. Reason: Discharged employees who sue will have a much easier time getting to a jury trial if you can’t produce evaluations that back up your stated termination reasons.

Use ‘fresh-start’ policy to cut retaliation risk

07/17/2009

It often makes sense to give a fresh start to a poorly performing employee who has been complaining about discrimination. Place her in another position with a new supervisor, new co-workers and a clean disciplinary record. Then if her workplace problems persist, you can terminate her without worrying about retaliation claims.

Social media and HR: Managing the legal risks, updating your policies

07/14/2009

Whether they’re shooting off their own tweets or following others, employees using Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and personal blogs are creating liability and PR risks with their online rants, raves and company gossip. We’ve gathered the best of HR Specialist’s recent coverage of social media’s HR implications. You’ll find sound legal advice, and maybe a laugh or two.

Penalize the worst of the worst more harshly

07/13/2009

There’s good news if you use objective and measurable productivity and goal targets to determine whether employees will receive promotions and pay increases. You can distinguish between degrees of failure to meet those goals.

‘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.

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.