Feel free to let the punishment fit the ‘crime’ when disciplining for off-duty conduct

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

Many employers have rules that prohibit off-duty conduct that may reflect negatively on the company. But even with such policies, it’s tricky to discipline employees for the things they do on their own time away from the workplace.

In fact, you’re free to use discretion in deciding whether an employee should be warned, suspended or terminated (unless you have a strict no-tolerance rule). The key is to make sure you can explain why you treated one employee differently than another.

Here’s how to do so: Get the specifics down in your records so you can later explain your reasoning. You’ll find it seldom turns out that two employees did exactly the same thing, or that they held the same job.

And those differences will make a difference later if one of the employees sues, alleging disparate treatment. With good records, you’ll be able to show that the people your litigious employee is comparing herself with aren’t simi...(register to read more)

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