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The HR Specialist: North Carolina Employment Law

In a sign that some judges are losing patience with the way the EEOC handles employment discrimination lawsuits, a federal court has ordered sanctions against the commission.

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What should you do if you discover that a rogue supervisor is treating an employee poorly because of his race or other protected characteristic? Fix the problem fast. You don’t have to worry that the super­visor’s action will set up other lawsuits by co-workers who observed the behavior.

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Quite often, employees’ attorneys make sure supervisors are separately charged and individually liable. Cite this trend during training to instill in your managers and supervisors that they need to follow the professional advice HR provides—or else face the consequences.

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The owners of the Britthaven of Hen­­der­­son nursing facility has agreed to pay a former cook $50,000 to settle charges it refused to accommodate her disability.

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The owners of several Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises in North Carolina have agreed to settle a religious discrimination charge leveled by a former employee who claimed that wearing pants violated her Pentecostal beliefs.

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Sometimes, it’s clear from the moment that you decide to terminate an em­­ployee that she will sue. If that’s the case, a small severance payment may prevent litigation. But if you offer to settle, make sure you follow through promptly.

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You don’t have to take an em­­ployee’s word for his need for FMLA leave. In fact, it’s a good practice to always require a certification. Just make sure you understand the rules.

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When an employee tells a supervisor that she’s being sexually harassed, that’s a signal that action is required. Her complaint should immediately set into motion an in­­ves­­ti­­ga­­tion. Make sure your supervisors have strict instructions to contact HR right away.

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Warn supervisors to watch what they say. Making a statement that suggests the employee’s gender was in any way connected with workplace discipline is asking for a lawsuit.

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Are you considering adding an arbitration agreement to your terms and conditions of employment? If you do, make sure the contract includes a retroactive clause that makes arbitration the remedy for past complaints, too.

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