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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR LAW Weekly
  • The HR Weekly


No unemployment for those fired for late time sheets

Make it clear that it’s essential to complete time sheets on time. Dis­cipline those who don’t follow the rules. If you have to fire time sheet ­slackers, rest assured they won’t be eligible to collect unemployment benefits on your account.

Employee complains and then quits? Investigate anyway, to prove what happened

When you get a discrimination or harassment complaint, it’s essential to launch an immediate investigation. If the employee quits, continue the investigation. That way, in case of a lawsuit, you can show the court you took the complaint seriously.

Name-calling may be just the tip of the iceberg

If you are receiving reports that a manager or supervisor is engaging in name-calling, look beyond the obvious problem. It just may be that discrimination is a pervasive problem. It’s your job to bring it to light before it’s too late.

Ensure FMLA status won’t affect firing decision

Here’s a tip that can prevent a needless lawsuit over FMLA retaliation. When a supervisor recommends firing an employee, make sure the final decision-maker doesn’t know about any recent or current FMLA leave usage.

RIF looming? Base layoffs on logical criteria


When business is down and you need to make cost-saving cuts, it can be tempting to use that as an excuse to shed a “troublemaking” employee. Don’t do it.

Title VII doesn’t cover sexual orientation

While several ballot initiatives nationwide show there has been a change in how the general public perceives same-sex relationships, sexual orientation is still not a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Protect against bias allegations: Involve hiring manager in any termination decision

It’s a good standard policy: The person (or persons) who made the hiring decision should also take part in any firing decision. That way, the employee can’t argue that discrimination based on an obvious protected characteristic like race, sex or handicap must have been at work.

Employee won’t stop working off the clock? Don’t dock his pay; fire for misconduct

Make sure managers know they can’t turn a blind eye to unpaid work by hourly employees. What can employers do? Don’t dock their pay. Instead, warn them—and then discipline them.

Remind bosses: Steer clear of comments about employees’ use of FMLA leave


Some supervisors just can’t seem to resist offering “helpful” career advice to subordinates. But remarks concerning absences that are covered by the FMLA could be viewed as interference with a protected right, not good career advice. And that could spur a needless lawsuit if the employee is terminated.

Worried about firing the only minority employee?


If your workplace isn’t exactly the picture of diversity, the need to fire your only minority employee may worry you. Isn’t that just courting a lawsuit? Maybe—but that’s no reason to retain a poor performer.