Most employers have strict rules against working overtime without authorization. They use time clocks or other tracking systems to keep accurate records. But what if supervisors tell employees to work before they clock in or after they clock out?
Here’s an important reminder that employees don’t have to be black to complain about racial harassment in the workplace and win a large jury award.
As a general rule, you should only discuss a worker’s termination with those who really need to know about it. That’s especially true in sensitive cases involving alleged fraud, theft or falsifications. You don’t want to lose a defamation case because a manager decided to make an example of a fired employee.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar that, to win a retaliation lawsuit, an employee must show the employer’s intent to retaliate against the employee for exercising Title VII anti-discrimination rights was the “but for” cause of the challenged action, not just a motivating factor. As important a victory as the Nassar ruling was for employers, it’s important to recognize that the retaliation war is ongoing.
Good news for bosses who get nervous when required to give poor performance evaluations: A negative performance review alone isn’t grounds for a lawsuit. It’s only if the review becomes the basis for discharge, demotion or a denied promotion that employees can take the matter to court.
Don’t try to “create” artificial overtime for a disabled employee so she’ll be forced to use up her FMLA entitlement. That’s especially true if no one else is required to actually work overtime. Such a tactic will backfire.
Here’s some good news for employers that promote an employee into a supervisory position not knowing she may have made racist comments in the past. As long as the new supervisor follows company disciplinary rules and HR carefully documents any performance and disciplinary problems, chances are the old comments won’t sink the employer’s defense of a discrimination claim.
Employers don’t have to be absolutely right before disciplining an employee. They merely have to investigate first.
Lure, a “gentlemen’s club” in Minneapolis, has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit with its exotic dancers, who claimed they were employees, not independent contractors as Lure had contended.
To achieve compliance and prevent successful discrimination claims (which could involve class-action exposure), employers must be attuned to workplace issues around national origin, religion and race. For most employers, this means training management and HR personnel to carefully consider their policy-making and daily decisions that can affect such issues.