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The HR Specialist: North Carolina Employment Law

Here’s something to keep in mind when you find yourself having to terminate an employee who may later sue for race or other discrimination. Past positive evaluations and promotions can be used as solid evidence you didn’t discriminate against the employee.

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Ronald Hewitt, former Brunswick County sheriff, has been sentenced to 16 months in prison, ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and attend mandatory substance-abuse counseling after pleading guilty to obstructing justice in a case that was a hit parade of workplace impropriety.

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Do you sometimes worry that every decision you make about an employee’s rule-breaking must be absolutely fair and that there is only black and white, but no gray? If so, rethink that idea.

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One piece of reassuring economic news for North Carolina state workers: The pension kitty is fully funded and continues to outperform other government pension funds, despite a bleak economic year.

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The Fayetteville Public School District is investigating a teacher at Mary McArthur Elementary School who told a student “your daddy could stay in the military for another hundred years” if John McCain were elected president.

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The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has sent to arbitration a case against Blackwater Worldwide brought by the family members of four guards who were killed in Iraq.

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Employers that take OSHA and state agency safety violations seriously probably won’t face additional legal troubles outside the workers’ compensation system if an employee is later hurt or killed. Ignore those reports, and employees can sue for unlimited damages …

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If the EEOC decides not to pursue an employee’s discrimination case itself, it will issue a “Right to sue” letter. Employees then have up to 90 days to file a federal lawsuit. But before you dance a little jig on the 90th day, consider this …

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One of the best ways to win lawsuits at the earliest stages is to have ready a treasure trove of documents showing your decision about an employee was fair, impartial and reasonable. For example, for employees with absenteeism problems, document every absence.

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An executive body should administer the health insurance plan that covers some 650,000 North Carolina teachers and state employees, not the legislative committee that currently oversees it, says an audit report released by State Auditor Leslie Merritt.

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