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The HR Specialist: Georgia Employment Law

A federal judge in Alabama has dismissed most of the sexual harassment and retaliation charges filed by two former employees against The Home Depot Inc. David Corbitt and Alexander Raya, both long-term employees of the Atlanta-based retailer who rose to store manager positions, alleged that regional HR Manager Leonard Cavaluzzi sexually harassed them in 2005 …

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Police say Charles Johnston went to Doctors Hospital in Columbus on March 28 armed with guns stuffed into his coat and pants pockets, looking for nurse Peter Wright …

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Do you routinely accept employees’ claims they need FMLA time off to care for an elderly parent? If so, consider a new policy. While it may be easier to approve leave than to challenge it, blanket approvals may prove costly in the long run as more and more “sandwich generation” employees find themselves having to care for both their children and their elderly parents …

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Lawsuits sometimes seem to come out of nowhere. While you can reduce your risk through prevention, you can’t eliminate it entirely. That’s why you need a backup strategy. For failure-to-promote lawsuits, that strategy should involve being ready to explain each and every promotion decision with solid business reasons …

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Are you under pressure to make your work force better reflect the racial or ethnic composition of the surrounding community? If so, be aware that manipulating hiring or promotions to achieve that goal at the expense of any particular race may mean a reverse discrimination lawsuit …

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The EEOC has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three black employees who say they were strip-searched at a Krystal restaurant in Winder after $100 disappeared from a white employee’s cash register. The lawsuit alleges a male worker was allegedly ordered to remove all his clothing in the back of the store …

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A potential merger of Delta and Northwest airlines is on hold while pilots try to work out a seniority agreement. The proposed merger is complicated by the fact that Atlanta-based Delta has a younger work force than Northwest, which is based in Eagan, Minn. …

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Forsyth County is one of the best places in the country to get ahead, according to a recent list released by Forbes.com. The business magazine web site examined U.S. Census and Labor Department statistics from 2000 forward for every county in the nation …

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OSHA has announced it will conduct combustible dust inspections at thousands of U.S. factories in the wake of an explosion at the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth that left 12 workers dead and dozens badly injured. A preliminary investigation revealed the Feb. 7 blast was caused by airborne sugar dust in a basement area …

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Employees who file or participate in an FLSA lawsuit are protected from retaliation. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider any disciplinary action and make certain that the decision is fair, consistent and based on solid business reasons …

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Nowadays, many employees who file discrimination complaints follow up later with retaliation claims. That doesn’t mean employers have no power to manage the workplace after an employee files a discrimination complaint. The key is to be levelheaded, reasonable and fair, especially at evaluation time. You aren’t required to reward discrimination complaints with inflated evaluations …

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When a supervisor says a subordinate is not performing well, make sure empirical evidence backs up that opinion. In addition, direct anyone who had to deal with the employee’s poor performance to make notes. If supervisors are called later to testify in court, notes will help them remember the details …

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Sometimes, organizations have to shake up the troops. If productivity had been below par and attitudes poor, a new boss who takes a hard line may be just what the company needs. As long as the new supervisor doesn’t single out employees who are members of a particular protected class, there’s nothing wrong with a heavy dose of “follow the rules” management …

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Organizations create rules for a reason—mainly to ensure order and fairness. So when a manager or supervisor bends the rules just for some people, he or she may be setting up the organization for a lawsuit. Essentially, the exceptions become the rule, and employees who don’t benefit may sue, alleging discrimination based on a protected characteristic …

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The U.S. Labor Department has ordered Marc Meixner of GPTA Benefits Group Inc. to restore more than $500,000 to the Georgia Plumbers Trade Association Health Plan …

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Georgia employers participating in the state’s drug-free workplace (DFW) program must be careful to strictly follow the program’s guidelines or risk incurring workers’ compensation benefit liability they never intended …

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AT&T Corp. and BellSouth Corp., based in Atlanta, have been hit with a class-action unpaid wage and overtime lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Northern District. The lawsuit seeks back wages for time worked before and after shifts and during meals and rest breaks on behalf of employees in call centers in several states …

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Archbishop Earl Paulk, longtime pastor of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill Harvester Church, in January pleaded guilty to felony perjury in a case that stems from a lawsuit by a former church employee, who alleged the minister manipulated her into an affair …

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Johnny Mathis worked for eight years in the Monroe plant of Leggett & Platt when he was terminated for excessive absences. While admitting his absences violated Leggett & Platt policy, Mathis, who is black, sued for discrimination, claiming that white female co-workers were not similarly punished …

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Firing an employee is never easy, but there’s no reason to try to justify your decision by piling on a litany of reasons to discharge a poorly performing employee. That just complicates the process. Chances are, a court won’t second-guess you if you simply stick to the strongest reason you have for the firing …

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