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The HR Specialist: North Carolina Employment Law

It’s easy to understand why supervisors and managers get upset when one of their subordinates files an EEOC complaint. After all, how can you not take it personally if someone says you discriminated based on race or sex or for some other illegal reason? But the worst thing those managers and supervisors can do is punish the subordinate.

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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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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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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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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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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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You may not realize it, but your organization may be contributing to identity theft by failing to safeguard personal information such as employees’ names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers. Any one of those breaches could violate the North Carolina Identity Theft Protection Act.

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Two dozen civil rights groups signed a letter calling for the resignation of Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell, following an article in the Raleigh News & Observer in which Bizzell lamented the influx of “drunk Mexicans” who “rape, rob and murder” American citizens and are “breeding like rabbits” in his county.

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Companies that self-administer their ERISA benefits plans, take note: Because your benefits decisions carry an implied conflict of interest (since rejecting a request for benefits such as retirement or payment of a medical bill means spending fewer company assets), courts expect your decisions to be transparent and based on good documentation.

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