Documentation

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    Good documentation is important for many reasons. One of the most important is that when supervisors and managers generate even as much as handwritten notes, they're creating potential litigation exhibits that could have significant consequences down the road. Frankly, good documentation can mean the difference between winning and losing an...

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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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    There is an ongoing debate about whether employment decisions should be based on objective or subjective factors. Some advocate for the exclusive consideration of objective criteria. These decisions are based on verifiable information or empirical data. Comparisons are made by reviewing mathematically quantifiable information. The consideration of...
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    Q We want to terminate an employee for performance issues. However, once he realized he was in trouble performance-wise, he began complaining internally about state contract violations. We recently had a site visit investigation from the state, and we suspect the employee anonymously complained. Can we still terminate his employment, or will he...
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    Q If an employee is on some kind of medicine for his back and we notice it causes mood swings and hostility 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 the employee. A You do have rights, but be careful. While it may seem at first blush that...
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    As we noted in last month's newsletter, 2014 continues to be an active year for employment legislation in the Delaware General Assembly. (See "Dealing with Dover" on pg. 1.) The General Assembly has proposed a spate of new laws. Some of the bills would be beneficial to employers, while others would be problematic. Here are some emerging issues for...
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    Employers would like to think that the at-will-employment doctrine and your freedom to exercise business judgment provide insulation from discriminatory discharge lawsuits. The reality, however, is that discriminatory discharge suits — even ones in which the discharge was for cause — can survive a request for dismissal and head to trial...
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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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    What do forgetfulness, menstrual cramps, and social awkwardness have in common? They're all symptoms of new mental health disorders recognized in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The DSM-5 is widely used by healthcare...
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    After extending a conditional offer of employment, many employers require prospective employees to undergo medical examinations to assess their "fitness for duty." Problems may arise, however, when an employer decides to rescind a job offer based on information obtained during the medical examination. A Florida employer recently learned that...
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