Manager's Legal Bulletin

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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Question: What do you think will happen if a manager suggests that a female sub­­­­ordinate put on a bathing suit to attract new customers?

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When it comes to documenting em­­ployment actions, what you do write can be just as damning as what you don’t write. Advice: Refrain from scribbling margin notes on employment applications, résumés or tests.

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Employers continue to get marched into court for violating service members’ re-employment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemploy­­ment Rights Act. Man­­agers on the front lines should be aware of the law and these common pitfalls:

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