The HR Specialist

It’s understandable that managers and supervisors might get angry if an employee filed unfair labor practice charges against them. But how they respond may mean the difference between a reasonable resolution of the underlying complaint and additional charges—for retaliation and intimidation …

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Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the threshold for retaliation is much lower than for discrimination itself, employees who have filed discrimination complaints are finding that by charging retaliation, they get a second chance to drag their employers into court. That’s why it is absolutely crucial for HR to train supervisors and managers on retaliation …

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It’s easy to feel paralyzed when it’s time to choose an employee to promote. You need to pick the best candidate for the promotion, but you also don’t want to risk a discrimination lawsuit. The truth is, if your choice is reasonable, a court probably won’t second-guess it …

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Even if an employer has a good history of avoiding age discrimination in hiring, it can be sued for age discrimination if a reduction in force disproportionately affects older workers. Generally good hiring practices don’t prove that no discrimination occurred when drawing up the RIF list …

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State and federal laws protect employees who file discrimination complaints from retaliation for making those complaints. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure you carefully document any disciplinary moves that occur after an employee has complained of discrimination …

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Coca-Cola fired Dudley Thompson, who is black and from Jamaica, for not following company protocol when he went on vacation to the island—he failed to put his vacation request in writing and arrange for shift coverage …

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Employers that provide laptops to employees and that suspect an employee might be aiding a competitor can inspect the company-owned laptop without violating the employee’s right to privacy. Employers should, however, exercise discretion while searching the computer …

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It’s legitimate to discipline or fire employees who behave badly. But employers that mandate suspension or termination for rule violations must apply the policy to everyone who violates the same rule. Then they should follow up with a prompt and thorough investigation into exactly what happened …

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If, like some companies, you have a policy forbidding dating or relationships between supervisors and hourly employees, make sure you enforce the rule consistently …

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For better or worse, intermittent FMLA leave sometimes has the effect of turning a full-time job into a de facto part-time one. That means an employee taking intermittent leave probably won’t get everything done. it’s up to the employer to figure out how to fill the gap …

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