Employers are often too eager to settle cases just to get out from under the possibility of a runaway jury. But caving in like that can make you a more tempting target for other employees. 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.
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Virtually every federal employment law has an anti-retaliation provision—they would be toothless tigers without them. Employees who can’t prove outright discrimination often try the retaliation route. The EEOC handled a record-high 33,613 retaliation complaints in 2009. As a result, employers must tread carefully when dealing with an employee who has exercised his or her rights under any federal law.
After two years of painful payroll reductions, there’s enough light at the end of the recessionary tunnel for some employers to begin considering pay raises. But in a volatile economy, implementing performance incentives and bonus plans is easier said than done. Experts say two tactics can help HR pros create variable pay plans that strike a balance between risk, reward and fiscal stability.
Q. Do we have to conduct regular performance appraisals and give annual increases? We told a new hire that we would, but now don’t have time or money to do so.
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.
Are you planning a reduction in force due to the poor economy? If so, double-check who is going to lose their jobs, paying particular attention to whether the burden falls predominantly on workers over age 40. If that is the case, make absolutely certain you have legitimate business reasons to back up your decision to fire them.
Don’t, under any circumstances, use co-worker resentment over disability accommodations as a reason to transfer or terminate the disabled employee. If you’re intent on getting rid of a disabled employee, you’d better have a better reason than that.
Not every complaint about alleged sexual harassment turns out to be true. Sometimes, the harasser may simply be a difficult personality. He or she may have it in for all co-workers, and the harassment that someone complains about may be completely unrelated to sex. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should ignore the behavior. Your best bet is to discipline the employee.
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.