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Q. An employee took time off to be with her husband who had a heart attack. We only have 30 employees. Management was very upset and wouldn’t let her take any paid time off and wouldn’t guarantee her position. She had accumulated several weeks of sick and vacation time. Can the company keep her from taking paid time off to care for her husband?

It’s not always easy to accommodate disabled employees. You want to follow the law, but you also want to make sure that the employee isn’t a danger to herself or others if she has a serious condition like epilepsy. But it is possible to handle these tricky situations right—as the employer did in this case.

It’s not enough to have a sexual harassment policy. You had better be prepared to enforce it—no matter who is doing the harassing. In the following case, family ties cost a bundle for an employer that turned a blind eye to harassment.
Here’s a problem that may never have occurred to management when it decided to use arbitration as an alternative to costly court litigation: Arbitration agreements are contracts, and not all employees can enter into binding contracts—minors, for example.

Judges see a lot. It’s usually pretty easy for them to figure out when an employer is trying to use “the lousy economy” as a pretext to discriminate against an employee. But judges are also good at recognizing when discrimination hasn’t been a factor in an employment decision.

When you have to fire a protected-class employee for sexual harassment, there’s always the fear that he will turn around and sue for discrimination. But remember: Credibility plays a part in deciding what happened in cases of alleged harassment. If a respected and trusted employee made the harassment accusation, the fired worker will have a hard time winning a lawsuit.

It’s a legitimate workplace fear: Someone with emotional or mental problems will act out against co-workers. Sometimes, the consequences are deadly. Most of the time, threats of violence are just words. But words are enough to justify firing an employee who expresses intent to do harm, because of the fear that it instills in others.

Here’s a bit of good news for HR professionals who worry that they aren’t conducting perfect investigations. Courts just want to see employers act reasonably. That doesn’t mean investigations must prove employee misconduct beyond a reasonable doubt.
A Wilmington company that operates several Subway restaurants will pay two former employees $55,000 to settle sexual harassment complaints against an assistant store manager. The EEOC sued SKMATCH Inc. in federal court after attempting to resolve the dispute without going to court.
Some employees believe that if their supervisor tolerates misconduct, those further up the workplace hierarchy can’t do anything about it. That’s not true.