Legal Issues

Caution bosses against openly asking sensitive questions

April 7, 2009
Remind managers who feel the need to ask employees sensitive questions to do so only in a private setting. Doing otherwise could trigger a defamation lawsuit.

Make written policies come alive

April 1, 2009
Your written policies make sense to you. They seem reasonable and easy to follow. So why does your team ignore them?

Memo to managers: There’s no reason to discuss why employee was terminated

March 18, 2009
When it comes to discharging employees for alleged dishonesty, here’s some sound advice for managers and supervisors: Don’t discuss why the employee was terminated with anyone who doesn’t need to know. Keep the information private to avoid a possible defamation lawsuit.

Follow the law at work

January 1, 2009
Admit it: You view employment law as a pain in the neck. But according to attorney Christopher Vrountas, managers face many legal risks at work. Scoffing at those risks won’t make them go away; indeed, you can face liability if you’re not careful.

When religions collide, foster a spirit of tolerance

December 1, 2008
Religion rarely mixes well with work. Fortunately for managers, people with strongly held beliefs usually prefer not to argue with their colleagues about spiritual matters.

What managers need to know about the FMLA

September 2, 2008
When employees request time off because of a health condition or to care for a family member’s health problem, you need to know whether that leave could qualify under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The 1993 law allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for the […]

Remind managers: No comments on workers hiring lawyers

August 8, 2008
It’s tempting for managers to lash out at litigious employees—especially if they think the suit has no merit. Remind them to keep quiet.

Are we legally obligated to rehire a disabled ex-employee?

July 1, 2008
Q. One of our employees went on disability after a motorcycle accident. We terminated him at his request, as he wanted to cash out his 401(k). His doctor recently released him from disability, and he’s seeking re-employment for a different position. Our owner is concerned that if he doesn’t offer the ex-employee a job, we may face legal retribution. And he’s concerned that if we do bring him back, we’ll end up with a workers’ comp claim from a slip/fall injury. Do we have any obligation to rehire this employee?

Keep e-mail in house

April 1, 2008
If your employees each have their own business e-mail address, make sure they know its limits.

Navigate a legal minefield

April 1, 2008
An employee comes to you complaining of harassment, discrimination or another serious personnel problem. Your job is to investigate. Beware of these traps as you close the case.