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Employee announces she’s pregnant? Say ‘Congratulations!’ … and nothing more


There’s only one safe way to respond to an employee’s pregnancy announcement—and that’s a simple “Congratulations!” Anything else may spell trouble down the line, especially if the pregnant woman ends up being terminated. She’ll probably sue and try to tie any negative comments to the termination, arguing they demonstrate pregnancy bias.

Age discrimination harder to prove following 7th Circuit ruling


The 7th Circuit’s recent opinion in Martino v. MCI represents the first opportunity for that court to apply the U.S. Supreme Court’s recently clarified standard for determining liability in disparate-treatment cases brought under the ADEA. Together, the two decisions make it harder for employees to win some age discrimination lawsuits.

During RIF, make sure your rationale makes sense


Reductions in force are risky, so plan them carefully. Before you try to explain why you’re letting certain employees go, make sure your reasons make sense.

The 7 biggest triggers to age bias claims … and how to avoid them


The ADEA makes it illegal to discriminate against people age 40 and older in hiring, terminations, pay, promotions, benefits and any other terms of employment. Here are the key areas where age bias claims typically pop up:

Use formal process to promote from within


While courts seldom want to second-guess employment decisions, sometimes employers provoke that scrutiny. That can happen, for example, when companies rely on the “old boy network” to promote from within instead of using a more formal, organized process.

Don’t factor in FMLA when making RIF list


Many employers are discovering they have to cut staff to survive. It’s tempting to eliminate those positions where the least work is being done. After all, the employees doing the least work should be the least missed. But before you decide to RIF someone, remember that you cannot consider FMLA leave in the calculation.

Reorganizing? Prepare to give reason for each termination


If you have to terminate employees during a reorganization, you can expect some of them to sue you. If that happens, don’t assume the court will blithely accept a general reorg as the reason why a particular employee lost her job. Be ready with a specific explanation why you terminated each one.

Silver lining: Four in 10 say layoff was ‘blessing’


In a new SnagAJob.com survey, 39% of Americans who’ve been laid off or had a spouse laid off since December 2007 say the ax was a “blessing in disguise.”

Tough times = stressed-out staff: 10 tips to ease their pain


A brutal economy … layoffs … pay cuts. These are trying times to be a U.S. worker, and not all are handling it well. Nearly half of U.S. workers say they feel stressed out, compared with 39% in other countries, according to a Robert Half International survey. Here are 10 ways to deal with your employees’ recession-induced stress:

Rockford firm settles race bias suit for $630,000


Rockford, Ill.-based Area Erectors Inc., has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by 23 workers who alleged racial discrimination. According to the EEOC, the company laid off black workers while keeping equally qualified and tenured white workers.