Discipline

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    Have you ever dealt with that one employee who seems to exist for the sole purpose of giving HR and management one big headache? These are problem employees and they are everywhere. No organization is exempt from their disruptive behavior or their negative effect on the morale of the remainder of the workforce. At best, they may simply be time...

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    There is no federal law that obligates employers to adopt or follow any specific disciplinary process. In the vast majority of states, the default rule is that employment is at will, which means that the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason (or no reason) unless a law or agreement...

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    Q If an employee is on some kind of medicine for his back and we notice he has mood swings and can be hostile toward his manager, what rights do we have as the employer? May we require him to bring in a doctor's note? This could be a long-term issue with him. A Obviously, hostility toward a manager is a disciplinary issue, so begin there. From...
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    In a 3-2 decision, the Alaska Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the high level of deference it gives to arbitration decisions. The court upheld an arbitrator's decision to reinstate an Alaska state trooper who was fired after he had sex with a domestic violence victim one day after arresting her husband. Facts and proceedings In April 2009,...
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    After a civil rights claim is filed with a municipal human rights commission in Iowa, an administrative law judge (ALJ) may conduct a hearing to determine whether the employer acted lawfully. The ALJ's decision is then subject to review by the local human rights commission and the state courts. Read on to learn what the Iowa Court of Appeals...
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    Progressive discipline is an essential tool for management, particularly when it's combined with good documentation and communication practices. Progressive discipline systems are designed to help employers apply fair, consistent disciplinary decisions. Proper documentation and communication strengthen the legal defensibility of those decisions...
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    The 6th Circuit recently upheld the dismissal of a sex discrimination case against an employer that suspended an employee, and later reassigned her, based on its honest belief that both actions were warranted by her misconduct. Facts Nanoka Carroll worked for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (ODAS). As part of her duties, she...
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    Q We would like to establish a policy that provides paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for corporate employees and nonpaid FMLA leave for all field employees. Is this legal? I’m concerned about a disparate impact. A Paying employees who are on FMLA leave is voluntary. Therefore, nothing in the FMLA requires you to pay field...
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    A decision from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa shows that compliance practices are important, even in the prosecutor's office. The court allowed an assistant U.S. attorney's claim to proceed because she had 13 years on the job and showed a temporal relationship between a memo she wrote complaining about discrimination...
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    As the nation's largest private employer, Wal-Mart continues to make headlines with its employment practices. This time, the news has reached a national level. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued a consolidated complaint against Wal-Mart alleging the company violated employees' rights after they participated in protected...
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