Manager's Legal Bulletin

Problem: A difficult employee be­­comes defensive and argumentative each time you try to address his shortcomings with him. He doesn’t see a problem or a need to change, so you fire him. His perspective of the situation is much different than yours, and now he’s going around telling his former co-workers how “terrible” the company is and how unfairly he was treated. Solution?

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Q. The mother of a minor employee (age 16) has asked to attend her child’s performance evaluation meeting. Do I have to legally allow the parent to sit in on this session?

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No doubt you fuss over the content in your job ads in hopes of luring the top candidates. Although good content in a job ad is critical, technical issues are more often the culprit behind workers dropping off from applying to a job.

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A simple way for companies to give employees a morale boost: loosening their dress code for a day and allowing employees to dress up for Halloween. It doesn’t cost the company any money or time—except for the few minutes you’ll need to set a few ground rules on costumes.

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If applicants ask why they didn’t get the job, conventional wisdom says to simply state that another individual more closely met the company’s needs, period. Short, sweet, to the point, and unlikely to result in a discrimination claim. Or is it? You may want to reconsider how much feedback to provide re­­jected applicants.

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Q. An employee has a note from her doctor releasing her back to work in a week. However, the employee says she feels fine and would like to return to work sooner. Should we allow her to ignore her doctor’s note?

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Questioning the capabilities of a person in a wheelchair is almost a guaranteed lawsuit. Case in point:

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As a manager, you must consider that some individuals may have lost (or never had) a sense of humor and would not appreciate a joke made at their expense. Humor in the workplace has often resulted in decidedly not-so-funny claims of harassment and defamation …

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Q. I have received several résumés that do not include a home address. Is this a red flag?

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THE PROBLEM: Company policy clearly states that employees are mandated to work overtime during busy periods. An employee did so willingly, until she became pregnant. During the busiest period of the year, she shows up with a doctor’s note explaining that she can no longer work overtime. What would you do?

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