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Productivity / Performance

Extra work, harsh treatment may not be reverse discrimination

Resentment may run high if employees feel like they’re picking up the slack for other employees they perceive as doing less than required—especially if they believe management isn’t making others pull their fair share because of race or nationality or some other protected classification. But that doesn’t necessarily amount to reverse discrimination …

Prepare thorough record if ‘Star’ employee begins to fall

Nothing looks worse to a jury than an employer who fires an employee for poor performance after the employee receives stellar performance reviews. That’s why you must make sure supervisors and managers prepare honest evaluations, avoid gushing assessments and stick to objective measures …

Before assuming you must accommodate under ADA, evaluate disability and ability

The ADA requires employers to reasonably accommodate disabled applicants and employees within a tight set of parameters. But an employer only has to offer reasonable accommodations that allow a disabled employee to perform the essential functions of a job. Employers don’t have to create new jobs or restructure jobs to such an extent that essential functions are dropped …

May we terminate a disabled employee who can’t perform an essential function?

Q. One of our employees was hired to a position that requires her to drive to customers’ offices. When we hired her, she reviewed and signed a job description that included a statement “that transportation was an essential function of her job.” Public transportation is not a realistic option. She recently received test results suggesting she might be suffering from multiple sclerosis. She provided a return-to-work slip indicating she would be able to return to work on a part-time basis but would not be able to drive or do heavy lifting. We told her we cannot accommodate her restrictions, but we provided a four-month leave of absence. Assuming she will not be able to drive when she returns, are we within our rights to discharge her? Are we going to violate her rights under the ADA or Michigan disability laws? …

6 ways to help employees do their best each day

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Are you a micromanager? Control the process, not the people

As a manager, you must remain involved in your employees’ activities. But where does involvement stop and micromanaging begin? Sticking your nose too deeply into an employee’s work process can be counterproductive. Let’s say you overheard an employee refer to you as a micromanager. To find out if it’s true, answer the following questions using […]

What is the ‘Lifetime value’ of your employees?

Businesses have always understood the value of cultivating lifelong relationships with customers eager to patronize them again and again as their lifestyles change and they need new products or services. Nurturing those same kinds of relationships with employees has just as much value …

Shorts Circuit: Firm Orders Employees to Take Off Pants

Employees of Richter7, a Salt Lake City-based advertising and public relations agency, received an unusual directive from top management earlier this summer: No long pants allowed! Shorts, skirts, skorts and capris were in fashion for four weeks as part of a companywide push to beat the heat. Richter7’s owners even bought each employee a new pair of shorts.

No workers’ comp just because your job drives you crazy

Any job can be stressful, but some employees claim their jobs literally are making them crazy. But does that mean that employees whose jobs drive them nuts have an occupational disease? If so, are they entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they cannot work anymore? Those are some of questions the North Carolina Supreme Court considered in a recent landmark decision …

Employees’ temporary disabilities don’t trigger ADA protections

Sometimes injured employees need more time off than the 12 weeks allowed under the FMLA. In such cases, they often ask their employers to allow them to return to their jobs with reasonable accommodations under the ADA. That may be true if their conditions are permanent, but not if their conditions are merely temporary. Employers can deny requests without violating the ADA …