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Cast your vote in the Final Four of HR Headaches!

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in Employment Background Check,Employment Law,Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Hiring,HR Management,Management Training

If you’re like 99.9% of the people who wagered on the NCAA basketball tournament this year, your bracket was busted long before eventual champions the University of Connecticut were paired up with underdog Butler University. But you still have a chance to win in the “Final Four Biggest Workplace Headaches for 2011” tournament.

It’s the brainchild of our friends at the law firm of Fisher & Phillips, which back in March posted a full bracket of workplace woes from which HR folk could choose their four most vexing problems. The initial 64 picks ran the gamut from powerhouse (a visit from OSHA) to schoolyard pick-up (horseplay in the office).

HR pros submitted their picks, judges tallied the votes and now it's down to the final four. Which of the following do you rate as the biggest workplace headache? Click here to cast your vote.

A. Supervisors forgetting to document warnings

This perennial favorite—a #4 seed—barely edged out sixth-seeded "Whiners." But bosses so frequently fail to let HR know about discipline that its appearance in the Final Four was almost preordained.

Training, training, training beats this problem. Make sure managers know that without good documentation, your organization stands little chance of winning if an employee sues.

B. Employees on intermittent FMLA leave

No surprise here: Intermittent leave has been creating HR headaches since the FMLA became law. It's a record-keeping nightmare. Employees routinely try to game the system to give themselves a free time out.

The key to managing intermittent leave starts with obtaining medical certification explaining the employee's need for leave. Handle that initial step properly, and you have a decent chance of outlasting even the most dogged leave abuser.

C. Hostile work environment allegations

This superpower strikes fear in the hearts of every opponent. One of the reasons it's so tough to beat: HR often doesn't have a clear idea what's going on in the cubicle farms or on the shop floor. Harassment problems can simmer for months, only to boil over—with the first and only notice coming in the form of an employee's lawsuit.

The best defense is proactive prevention. Make sure employees and bosses understand your zero-tolerance policy against harassment of any kind. And if you learn of a harassment problem, step in immediately to end it. It's crucial to be able to prove to a court that you did everything possible to put a stop to harassment.

D. Employee theft

No one saw this finalist sneaking in! It's an insidious problem that's—again—better prevented than solved.

Start by hiring trustworthy employees. Criminal background checks and drug tests can help weed out bad actors. Then ensure everyone knows that you have strong internal controls to detect theft, and an ironclad policy that calls for firing and pressing charges against thieves.

Don't limit your loss-prevention strategy to merchandise and office supplies. Prevent computer-assisted crime (watch out for embezzlement) by asserting your right to monitor employees' use of electronic resources, e-mail and the Internet.

So which of these gives you the biggest headache? Click here to cast your vote.

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