Q. We conduct yearly performance evaluations, during which we review whether employees have met expectations. If an employee fails to meet those expectations, can we legally decrease the employee's salary?
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It may not be particularly comfortable for government employees to bring alleged wrongdoing to their supervisor’s attention, but whistle-blowers have to muster the courage to do just that. The Texas Whistleblower Act says so.
Sometimes, you have to trust that your lawyer and the courts will do the right thing and toss out a clearly frivolous case. As long as you are sure that you have solid reasons for firing an employee who wasn’t doing her job—and that you didn’t treat her any differently than any other employee with the same track record—fire her.
Settling with an employee who has filed a discrimination lawsuit? If the EEOC gets involved, it can continue the case on its own—and may be able to get a court to order you to take corrective measures that go far beyond your settlement terms. That’s one good reason to conduct your own thorough investigation before you settle with the employee.
Q. How long do I have to keep employees’ personnel files after their terminations?
The HR office is often the first stop an employee makes before filing a lawsuit alleging supervisor harassment. How you handle the initial complaint can mean the difference between stopping a problem before it gets out of hand and losing a lawsuit.
When people lose their jobs, they often look for some reason other than their own poor performance. And since they are off work, they have lots of time to think about the past, including real or imagined slights they endured at the hands of co-workers and supervisors.
If your organization is like most, you’ve probably at least considered responding to the financial and credit crisis by cutting jobs. But that may be the wrong thing to do because just one lawsuit can wipe out any potential savings from job cutting. Alternatives to layoffs may be just as effective—and won’t trigger lawsuits.
Every year, you probably receive (or help write) your performance evaluation. But have you evaluated your job lately? Workplace coach Joan Lloyd suggests asking yourself these questions annually:
If you are a supervisor working for an Illinois state agency, there’s a bit of good news on the lawsuit front. You can’t be personally sued by an employee for exercising your supervisory functions, even if she claims your supervision amounted to intentional infliction of emotional distress.