The HR Specialist: Georgia Employment Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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The HR Specialist: Georgia Employment Law

Employees who claim they have been discriminated against typically have to show that their employers singled them out for poor treatment because of a protected characteristic. It’s easy for employers to counter that if they can show they always act in good faith. The best way to do that is to apply the rules equally to every employee.

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Video surveillance can help catch employees who are abusing the system. For example, video of an employee cleaning the gutters while on FMLA leave may show he’s not sick. But before you conduct your own surveillance or hire someone to do so, here’s a simple tip …

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If some of your employees perform similar jobs under different pay structures, make sure you can justify the differences with good, solid reasons that will stand up to a side-by-side comparison. Otherwise, one of your lower-paid workers may sue you for discrimination.

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Georgia ended its fiscal year with a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, money it will have to squeeze out of its spending in the coming fiscal year. As a result, state workers in numerous departments and agencies are facing layoffs, pay freezes and reduced hours.

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Far too often, careless employers lose lawsuits they should have won, especially when it comes to terminations. Here’s why: Some fired employees will sue for discrimination, and they have to show that you treated them differently because of some protected characteristic such as race, gender or age …

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No matter how hard you work to make sure your workplace is a model of fairness and civility, you can’t rule out the possibility that an employee will come to HR with a claim that she’s being forced to work in a racially or sexually hostile environment. How you handle that complaint may make the difference between nipping an ugly problem in the bud and paying a huge jury award.

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When a masked man pulled a gun on employees as they opened an Aaron Rents store in Atlanta and demanded cash, the workers complied, handing over roughly $5,000. But when the robber, Shawn Henderson, asked for more, the employees decided to fight back …

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When you conduct an internal investigation, other employees involved in the investigation are going to figure out what the allegations are. But you don’t have to worry about a defamation lawsuit following the investigation if you strive to keep the matter confidential …

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Cynthia Morrison, who had worked for 17 years as an emergency room registrar, sued for age discrimination and retaliation. A lower court dismissed her discrimination claim, but sent the retaliation claim to the jury, which awarded Morrison $115,000. But the hospital appealed and won …

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When employer labor budgets are stretched thin and raises are tough to come by, employees begin to see promotions as the only way to get a significant pay raise. It should come as no surprise then if litigation over missed opportunities and pay raises increases. Here’s what you can do to protect your organization from failure-to-promote lawsuits …

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In response to an order from Gov. Sonny Perdue to trim their budgets by 6%, state agencies have cut services, restricted travel expenses, implemented hiring freezes, put off purchases and introduced mandatory unpaid furloughs. But the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council voted in August to reject the governor’s order out of hand …

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Georgia employers that skip obtaining or maintaining workers’ compensation coverage, beware: Employees who get hurt on the job can still collect benefits—for years. They just won’t be getting the payments from your insurance carrier. Instead, they will collect them directly from your company …

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The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in Athens has granted preliminary class certification to a group of quail processors at Quail International in Greensboro who claim the company forces processors to work off the clock and through breaks in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act …

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Donna Gamble, of Marietta, whose purchase card abuses cost the Georgia Institute of Technology more than $300,000, has been sentenced to two years and eight months in federal prison and ordered to pay full restitution to the university …

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Officer Matt Whitton of the Clayton County Police Department lost more than his credibility when his amazing “Bigfoot” discovery turned out to be a soggy polyester ape costume. The moment the news reached Police Chief Jeffery Turner, he fired Whitton …

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Gov. Sonny Perdue issued an executive order to remove four members of the Clayton County School Board and to confirm the removal of two others after the school system’s accreditation was revoked on Aug. 28 …

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Here’s another thing to worry about when an employee testifies on behalf of someone suing the company: Retaliating against that employee by punishing him with additional or new work requirements or a poor evaluation may lead to federal criminal conspiracy charges …

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Many employees seem to believe that they can get job protection and immunity from reasonable discipline just by complaining to management about alleged harassment. But employees who make pests of themselves by reporting every comment they overhear or interaction they see aren’t automatically protected from retaliation …

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Sometimes, it seems as if everyone belongs to some protected class, or a combination of classes. Since any disparate treatment for the same rule violation may trigger a discrimination lawsuit, HR should be prepared to show that no employee in any particular classification is singled out for more severe punishment. Given the number of possible combinations, that’s a difficult task …

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Sometimes employers must require their employees to work overtime to meet production goals. That can be a problem if one of the workers has a disability that prevents him from working more than 40 hours per week. It’s perfectly legal to require that the employee use accumulated sick time and FMLA leave to avoid those overtime hours …

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