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Make it one of HR’s goals: Ensure everyone gets training on harassment


Courts have long said that employers are supposed to be proactive about preventing and stopping sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers know or should know that simply having a sexual harassment policy in place isn’t enough—they have to aggressively enforce that policy. What employers may not fully realize is that no one within the organization is exempt from education, training and discipline.

Are there special requirements for training employees who do not speak English well?

Q. Our company recently hired some employees who do not speak English as their first language. What are our obligations in training these employees?

Management 101: Five legal lessons your supervisors must learn

When it comes to employment law, it’s always best for managers to learn from others’ mistakes rather than their own. Share these recent court cases—and the lessons learned—with your organization’s supervisors:

OSHA: Employers must provide safety training in ‘language and vocabulary’ that worker understands

Many government safety regulations require employers to give employees safety or health training. In May, OSHA issued an enforcement memo to its inspectors, directing them to verify that employers are giving such training, “using both a language and a vocabulary that the employee can understand.”

Make sure everyone in same job has shot at training

Here’s an easy way to prevent a discrimination claim: Offer everyone holding the same position the same opportunity for training. Otherwise, supervisors may play favorites, and that can end in litigation if the better-trained employees end up getting the promotions.

Failing to investigate nebulous charges isn’t a federal case–and it’s not retaliation


Employees who complain about alleged discrimination are protected from retaliation for doing so. In order for the employee to win a lawsuit, the retaliatory act must be adverse—that is, it must be an act that affects the employee in more than an inconsequential way. In a recent case, an employee claimed that by merely ignoring her complaint, her employer was retaliating. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals nixed that idea.

Unexpected bias worry: denial of training


Remind bosses that everyone who is qualified for training should have access to development opportunities, and that hand-selecting subordinates to attend training can be discrimination. Note: Be sure they understand that older employees are also entitled to training—even if it seems reasonable that they may quit or retire soon.

Back-to-basics manager: Good for the bottom line


If you want your organization’s employees to work more productively, pay more attention to them. During the economic crisis of 2009, the most effective business strategy turned out to be increased supervision and management of employees. Research by RainmakerThinking shows that organizations that combined three effective strategies during the recession had better financial results than others:

Checklist: 15 questions to ask employees in their first 60 days

How’s that new hire fitting in? To find out, have managers meet with their new employees within the first 60 days. The goal: Discover what new hires like and dislike about the job and environment, see if the job meets their expectations and nip potential problems in the bud. These 15 questions can steer the conversation.

Offer training to those who aren’t promoted

Your best employees are probably eager for promotions. But when only one slot is open, promotions often leave several well-qualified candidates disappointed. To keep disappointment from leading to lawsuits, consider offering career coaching for those employees who didn’t make the cut.