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Productivity / Performance

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.

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.

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.

Tell well-intentioned managers: You must route all ADA accommodation requests through HR

03/26/2009

Sometimes, immediate supervisors want to be helpful when a valued employee asks for disability accommodations that seem reasonable. Instead of having HR handle the ADA process, they just make the accommodations themselves. That’s a scenario for trouble down the line.

The death of one-size-fits-all benefits: Tailor rewards to generational differences

03/26/2009

Nearly a third of HR professionals plan to alter their total rewards programs with generational preferences in mind, according to the new Top Five Total Rewards Priorities survey. That figure is likely to increase significantly in the future because the workforce is becoming more multigenerational—especially as older workers remain longer to rebuild their nest eggs.