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Productivity / Performance

Preparing for possible litigation

04/20/2009

Q. We recently had to discharge an employee for poor work performance. We are a relatively small company (70 employees) and don’t often fire people. Because of special circumstances that forced us to terminate the employee rather than try corrective action, we think it is very possible there will be some kind of litigation. Do you have any recommendations for what we should do or think about now, even before any lawsuit has been filed?

Discovered performance problems while worker was on FMLA leave? You can fire him

04/14/2009

What if you discover during an employee’s FMLA leave that the employee wasn’t as stellar as you always believed? What if you couldn’t have known that until you hired a temporary replacement. Must you bring the employee back? No, according to a recent 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision.

Go ahead and detail performance problems—criticism isn’t an adverse employment action

04/14/2009

Employees can sue for discrimination only if they can show they suffered an “adverse employment action.” In other words, they have to show that their employers somehow did something that affected their jobs—such as a demotion, discharge or pay cut. Merely criticizing an employee’s performance isn’t enough if it isn’t accompanied by something more substantial.

Lost in translation: Remind foreign managers about U.S. age discrimination laws

04/09/2009

Discrimination at work is perfectly legal in some countries, and foreign-born managers and executives who work for U.S. employers may sometimes say things that show ignorance of U.S. laws. Those words can come back to haunt an employer that is sued for age discrimination.

Unequal performance standards shout—not whisper—disability discrimination

04/09/2009

Treating disabled employees differently than others raises all kinds of red flags that disability discrimination may be afoot. For example, setting higher standards for disabled employees than you do for others is a surefire way to end up in front of a jury, as the following case shows.

In wake of AIG debacle, 10 steps toward better bonuses

04/07/2009

Bonuses have gotten a bad name lately. But the howls of outrage that followed news of AIG execs’ huge retention bonuses shouldn’t sound the death knell of pay for performance. Here are 10 tips for making your bonus system work in today’s economy.

Beware last-ditch efforts to claim FMLA leave

04/07/2009

Sometimes, an employee whose job is in jeopardy will try to protect it by initiating a lawsuit intended to intimidate her employer. She may call in sick instead of showing up for a termination meeting, hoping to create an FMLA retaliation or interference claim. Here’s how to handle such tactics.

After AIG debacle, it’s time to review your bonus plan

04/07/2009

Bonuses have gotten a bad name lately. But the howls of outrage that followed news of AIG execs’ huge retention bonuses shouldn’t be the death knell of pay for performance. Here are 10 tips for making your bonus system work in today’s economy.

Caution bosses against openly asking sensitive questions

04/07/2009
Remind managers who feel the need to ask employees sensitive questions to do so only in a private setting. Doing otherwise could trigger a defamation lawsuit.

Six steps for managing ‘difficult’ employees

04/07/2009
Major problems can erupt when supervisors have to manage people they just don’t get along with. Smart managers defuse that tension by focusing on tasks, projects and results—not personalities.