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Productivity / Performance

Should we contest? Fired for poor work, former employee now wants unemployment


Q. After repeatedly warning an employee about her poor performance, we recently terminated her. At the termination meeting, she complained for the first time that she felt she’d been held to higher standards based on her gender. She has now filed for unemployment benefits. While we don’t think she’s entitled to the benefits, we wonder whether it makes sense to fight her claim. What do you think?

Don’t bend on disability accommodations if they could compromise safety


It’s usually easy to accommodate employees’ everyday health problems, and employers should always be willing to consider making minor adjustments in work conditions. But be cautious about making accommodations that could affect workplace safety. Allowing an employee to bypass safety procedures or have a co-worker help her with them is almost always a bad idea.

When can a Florida state agency terminate an employee for ‘disloyalty’?


Q. Our state agency’s board is considering terminating a legal secretary who seems to have been a supporter of one of our attorneys who was discharged for both performance problems and being disloyal to our board. We understand that, under the patronage dismissal doctrine, we can terminate employees who supported the political opponent of our agency’s elective head. Can the board likewise discharge the legal secretary for her seeming disloyalty?

With eye on economy, 8 comp & benefits changes to watch


The weak economy is forcing organizations and their employees to make some tough benefits choices. Here are eight trends to watch:

OK to deny reinstatement if returning worker can’t perform essential job functions


Employees who have been injured may try to return to positions for which they are no longer qualified because they still suffer limitations on the work they can do. Employers are free to deny reinstatement if the employees’ new limitations mean they can’t perform the essential functions of their jobs, even with accommodations.

10 steps to stress-free, lawsuit-free termination meetings


Terminations are the hardest things HR professionals and supervisors have to do—and probably the most legally dangerous. One wrong word can trigger a lawsuit. To handle terminations well, you need to keep calm and communicate your message without escalating the tension. Here’s a 10-step process.

Beware incentive plans that deduct pay from exempt employees


The FLSA sets strict rules for who can be classified as an exempt employee not entitled to overtime pay. One of those is the so-called salary-basis test. Exempt employees must be paid the same salary regardless of the quality or quantity of their work in any given pay period. In other words, employers can’t make deductions from pay for poor work.

HR interns: Where to find ’em, how to use ’em


Large organizations have long realized that HR interns contribute to the bottom line. They’re inexpensive, productive and eager to impress. Now, with budgets cut to the bone, HR departments can use all the talented, low-cost staffing they can get. That’s especially true for small and midsize HR departments. Here are the best ways to find HR interns:

So you need to trim your training budget … but where?


Training programs are among the first areas to take a hit when the economy falters. If you haven’t scaled back training expenses yet, your boss may soon ask. To examine training programs and avoid eliminating those that do work, ask the following questions:

So an employee tells you she’s seriously ill … now what?


It’s sad enough when an employee becomes seriously ill. What makes it tougher is that work doesn’t stop. Deadlines remain, customers need service and paperwork piles up. Mistakes can mean not only hurt feelings but also potential legal liability problems. Here are four ways supervisors and HR can handle such situations with tact and legal skill.