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The HR Specialist

Q: You must occasionally talk tough to employees who underperform, act unruly or act in other ways that can hurt the organization. But how can you be forceful without unintentionally using insensitive speech that invites a harassment complaint or, even worse, a lawsuit? A: It’s more important than ever for you to walk that fine [...]

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Issue: Can you encourage employees to report on-the-job harassment from union organizers? Risk: Your efforts may be viewed as an illegal union-busting …

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Issue: Retention efforts often focus only on the well-paid professionals and superstars. Benefit: A few simple moves and low-cost programs can help trim turnover …

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Now would be a good time to review your organization’s hiring, firing, promotion and pay policies for any hint of gender-based differences. Reason: The big Wal-Mart sex discrimination lawsuit that hit …

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In 2004, 86 percent of employer health plans cover costs for birth-control choices, up from only 28 percent in 1993, says a new study published in the journal …

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A new National Academy of Sciences study says damp, moldy buildings can make asthma worse and cause coughing and other respiratory problems in healthy people. And mold …

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Issue: Courts are seeing a spike in discrimination claims involving people of the same race.
Risk: Some supervisors wrongly ignore same-race complaints, believing, for example, that “blacks can’t discriminate against …

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Issue: HR specialists can become emotionally hooked on solving employees’ problems. Risk: Resulting emotional overload can sap your time, your energy …

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Issue: When will a court hold you to an employment contract? Risk: Promising a former employee that you’ll fudge the truth on job references in exchange for a lawsuit waiver …

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Issue: Your intranet is packed with valuable HR information, but few employees are using it. Benefit: If employees see the intranet, not your office, as the first stop for HR …

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