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Who’s your Gladys? Give employees the power to solve tough customer problems


The recession has caused the rise of a new class of “hypersensitive consumers.” Here’s how to turn those disgruntled clients into your biggest champions. Hint: Employee training plays a big role.

Justify why some got training, while others didn’t


Training opportunities at work must be available to all employees regardless of race, ethnicity, religion and so forth. That doesn’t mean, however, that everyone who wants to take a particular training course must get the opportunity. Employers can base training opportunities on the critical need for some employees to get the training.

Age discrimination alert: Beware using high training costs as excuse to deny promotion


We all know that it costs money to train employees—and that turnover after investing in advanced training is a genuine and expensive problem. That doesn’t mean employers can get away with refusing to train someone approaching retirement age. That may be seen as age discrimination.

As boomers gray, Minnesota employers could see silver lining


With so many companies focused on downsizing to contain costs in a down economy, many employers have failed to prepare for a pending change that will significantly alter workforce demographics. Beginning in 2011, the first of the baby boomers will turn 65. As the rest of the roughly 70 million baby boomers follow, we’ll see a major shift in the age of our society—and our workforces. This shift will have a significant impact on employers.

Track older workers’ training opportunities


Technology changes fast, and so do the skills employees need to succeed in their jobs. But some employees don’t feel comfortable taking the steps needed to adapt. If those employees happen to be older and you end up having to replace them, you could face an age discrimination lawsuit. You can avoid such lawsuits with a good skill-building plan …

8 lessons you can learn from the fed’s top agencies


Set aside any notions you might have that the federal bureaucracy is inherently dysfunctional. In fact, Uncle Sam’s best agencies have a thing or two to teach private-sector employers. Here are eight lessons employers can learn from the biennial agency-by-agency ranking of federal employers by the Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation.

Train supervisors to refer potential FMLA leave requests to HR


Employees who need FMLA leave don’t have to specifically say so. They just have to give enough information to let their employers know they may have a serious health condition. That’s why you need to train supervisors to let HR handle all leave requests involving health problems of any sort.

Dogged by sexual harassment suit, PetSmart settles


A manager for PetSmart’s Pottstown and Wyomissing, Pa., stores got his employer in the doghouse after he sexually harassed female employees. It seems the manager was something of a beast. When female employees complained, they got the corporate equivalent of “Sit! Stay!” PetSmart failed to address the women’s concerns.

Teach bosses right way to handle doctor notes


Some supervisors become visibly annoyed when receiving a doctor’s note that sets work restrictions on one of their employees. If the employee sees that reaction and then suffers discipline or termination soon after, watch out! He or she could link the timing of the two events as evidence of discrimination or retaliation.

Blago fallout leads to more ethics classes for state staff


Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich may be gone, but the effects of the ethics scandal that drove him from office live on. Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a package of legislation governing ethics for Illinois state employees.