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Every manager loves an employee who gives extra effort—the type who will come in early or stay late to finish a project. But, as this new case shows, managers should be careful about praising hourly employees for their off-the-clock efforts. Workers can use those comments in an overtime-pay lawsuit as proof that the company not only knew of the extra hours, but also condoned them.
“I’m worried the team won’t like my suggestions.” “I’m worried I didn’t give my boss enough time between flights.” “I’m worried they’ll eliminate my position.” Everybody worries sometimes, but too much worrying becomes a mental bad habit that costs time, money and personal sanity. What to do instead? Make worry WORK for you.
Nonexempt employees are entitled to be paid for all the hours they work. Before issuing a performance appraisal that hails hourly employees for coming in early and staying late, make sure they were appropriately compensated. Otherwise, your praise may come back to haunt you.
An employee’s request to take FMLA leave can be frustrating for supervisors who have to manage schedules and projects. But if bosses voice those concerns in a way that seems angry or annoyed, they may be creating the perfect storm for an FMLA interference lawsuit.
Some employers try to avoid the impression of retaliation by making sure that whoever makes disciplinary decisions doesn’t know about any discrimination complaints. That way, they can argue that if the decision-maker wasn’t privy to the complaint, he couldn’t be retaliating. It isn’t quite that simple.
Common sense says that if a manager hires someone knowing that she belongs to a protected class, the manager probably won’t turn around a few months later and fire the new employee because she belongs to that protected class. That’s why you should make it a policy that the same managers who make hiring decisions also make termination decisions.