Manager's Legal Bulletin

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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PROBLEM: You give a series of sterling evaluations to one of your employees and she suddenly asks, “If I’m so good, why is it that I’m never considered for promotion around here?” How should you respond?

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Sooner or later, a manager must be the bearer of bad news. If it’s a termination or disciplinary notice, employees may react with anger. To help keep an irate employee under control, you must keep yourself under control. Here are six tips:

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Q. A worker in my department is in his 70s and starting to slow down. The job he performs is very physical and I’m afraid he’s going to get hurt. I’d like to get rid of him before he hurts himself or someone else. What should I do?

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The entitlement mentality comes in all colors of the rainbow, from employees complaining if they have to work late, demanding perks, wanting to be consulted before any workplace change is made, and thinking they can do no wrong. Tips on how to burst employees’ “me me me” bubbles:

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