No doubt you have heard many times that retaliation is anything that would dissuade a reasonable employee from complaining about something in the first place. But minor actions usually don’t add up to retaliation. Unfortunately, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over New York employers, has now muddied the retaliation waters.
Management training isn’t just for newbies and novices – managers and supervisors of all levels and all ages need actionable management practices to bring to their department, division or company. Learn how to be the best boss you can be by expanding your management skills, managing change effectively and bring strong leadership into your everyday management practices.
One important way to judge your success as a manger is by the success of your employees. An effective manager isn’t just a boss who can extract the most productivity from his people, but the one who produces great future managers. How can you be sure that under your leadership managers will blossom?
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Your organization probably has policies prohibiting sexual harassment, and you probably offer training for supervisors and employees alike on how the policy works. But that simply isn’t enough. You should have multiple ways for employees to report sexual harassment. The more ways you provide, the more likely a court will conclude that an employee who failed to report the harassment was acting unreasonably.
Most employers have severe cases of “juryphobia.” They assume that a jury will automatically side with an employee and award hundreds of thousands of dollars to right an alleged wrong. If you and your attorneys are convinced you didn’t do anything wrong, it may be best to trust a jury to hear the case and come to the same conclusion. That’s what one employer recently did.
Employees returning from military service are entitled to come back to their old jobs, and they have other limited job protections, too. But those protections don’t mean employers can never discipline or demote employees who have been serving in the armed forces. Just make sure you’re doing so for legitimate business reasons, such as documented poor performance.
Employers can’t retaliate against employees for engaging in so-called protected activities. But figuring out what is protected can be hard. Your best bet: Assume any complaint is protected.
I practice management-side employment law because I want to help businesses better manage their talent. I am not so naive to think that employers fire people only for good reasons. Companies fire employees for lots of reasons—good, indifferent and unlawful. Every lawsuit, administrative charge and internal complaint is an opportunity for a company to learn from a mistake ... It becomes an opportunity to train employers how to handle an employee-relations problem better the next time.
Employees who run out of FMLA leave and are fired under a policy requiring mandatory dismissal for excessive absences may be invited to apply for other open positions when they recover enough to work. Be careful how you handle those reapplications, especially if one of the terminated employees was off because she was pregnant and ran out of leave before being able to return.
Question: “I feel that I am being ignored because of my age. I am a young employee who recently attained a position in which I have to interact with top-level managers. When I request information from them, I find it difficult to get responses. I believe they are not taking me seriously. How should I handle this?” — Young & Frustrated
Joseph Plumeri, chairman and chief executive of insurance brokerage Willis Group Holdings, once was a command-and-control leader. “Being too exciting and too motivational is overbearing, and it turns people off,” he says. So he revamped his leadership style to focus on collaboration and debate.