The HR Specialist

Q. My work hours fluctuate a lot depending upon the flow of work. To help manage its cash flow, my employer asked me to sign an agreement where I would receive a set salary each workweek regardless of the number of hours I work. In weeks where I work more than 40 hours, I am paid half-time for overtime hours, instead of time and a half. Can my employer do this? My position is nonexempt …

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Just about everyone with an ounce of ambition wants to be promoted. But in most organizations, there’s only so much room for managers and supervisors. Still, failure to win a promotion is one of the most frequent triggers for discrimination lawsuits. That’s why HR should carefully track every employee’s performance and progress …

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Have you tiptoed around an employee’s poor behavior because he belongs to a protected class? You don’t have to tolerate rudeness, threats or other disruptive acts. Just make sure you have clear rules in place and enforce them equally against everyone who breaks them. And remember: You have an obligation to provide a workplace free of violence …

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Q. Recently, money from my office’s petty cash lockbox came up missing. As a part of our investigation, can we require employees to take a lie detector test? …

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Q. Our company is considering providing anti-harassment training to all employees. Some executives are concerned that the training might actually stir up lawsuits. Do you recommend such training? …

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Q. My company recently terminated an employee. The employee claims that she is entitled to a letter outlining the reasons for her discharge. Is she correct? If so, how much information must we provide the discharged employee? …

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Here’s a trap you should be aware of: An applicant who sues when he isn’t hired often keeps on applying—and then turns around and claims that you “blacklisted” him in retaliation for the lawsuit. Here’s how you should respond …

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Q. When making demotion decisions—especially those involving employees in protected classes—what factors should an employer take into consideration to avoid legal backlash? …

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Q. What areas should we cover in our electronic communications policy? …

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Q. I recently read an article about employees who were attacked at work by other employees who never should have been hired in the first place. How can an employer reduce its risk of liability for negligent hiring? …

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