The HR Specialist: Georgia Employment Law

Employees who claim they have been discriminated against typically have to show that their employers singled them out for poor treatment because of a protected characteristic. It’s easy for employers to counter that if they can show they always act in good faith. The best way to do that is to apply the rules equally to every employee.

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Video surveillance can help catch employees who are abusing the system. For example, video of an employee cleaning the gutters while on FMLA leave may show he’s not sick. But before you conduct your own surveillance or hire someone to do so, here’s a simple tip …

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If some of your employees perform similar jobs under different pay structures, make sure you can justify the differences with good, solid reasons that will stand up to a side-by-side comparison. Otherwise, one of your lower-paid workers may sue you for discrimination.

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Georgia ended its fiscal year with a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, money it will have to squeeze out of its spending in the coming fiscal year. As a result, state workers in numerous departments and agencies are facing layoffs, pay freezes and reduced hours.

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No matter how hard you work to make sure your workplace is a model of fairness and civility, you can’t rule out the possibility that an employee will come to HR with a claim that she’s being forced to work in a racially or sexually hostile environment. How you handle that complaint may make the difference between nipping an ugly problem in the bud and paying a huge jury award.

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Far too often, careless employers lose lawsuits they should have won, especially when it comes to terminations. Here’s why: Some fired employees will sue for discrimination, and they have to show that you treated them differently because of some protected characteristic such as race, gender or age …

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When you conduct an internal investigation, other employees involved in the investigation are going to figure out what the allegations are. But you don’t have to worry about a defamation lawsuit following the investigation if you strive to keep the matter confidential …

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When a masked man pulled a gun on employees as they opened an Aaron Rents store in Atlanta and demanded cash, the workers complied, handing over roughly $5,000. But when the robber, Shawn Henderson, asked for more, the employees decided to fight back …

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Cynthia Morrison, who had worked for 17 years as an emergency room registrar, sued for age discrimination and retaliation. A lower court dismissed her discrimination claim, but sent the retaliation claim to the jury, which awarded Morrison $115,000. But the hospital appealed and won …

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In response to an order from Gov. Sonny Perdue to trim their budgets by 6%, state agencies have cut services, restricted travel expenses, implemented hiring freezes, put off purchases and introduced mandatory unpaid furloughs. But the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council voted in August to reject the governor’s order out of hand …

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