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Special from the Advanced Employment Issues Symposium in Las Vegas Subject: Practical Tools for Supervisory Training

Training
by Stephen Bruce, PhD, PHR

training improves employee morale and productivity AND lessens the likelihood or severity (cost) of lawsuits, says attorney Franck Wobst. That’s a good return on investment.

Wobst, who is a partner with Porter Wright in Columbus, Ohio, made his suggestions at the Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, held recently in Las Vegas.

New supervisors and managers need to know that they are in a new role with new, big responsibilities, says Wobst, who offers several key roles of the supervisor:

  • Help: Help staff members perform their jobs in a safe and effective way.
  • Encourage: Encourage staff members to grow and develop skills through training and coaching.
  • Know: Know company policy (or know who to ask when you don’t know).
  • Enforce: Consistently enforce company policy and rules.
  • Notify: Immediately notify line management and HR of any issues regarding suspected violations of policy or law, including discrimination or harassment.
  • Create: Create a positive work atmosphere that boosts productivity.

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In addition, make sure new supervisors know:

  • This is a new job, quite different from the old one.
  • As a supervisor, you are an agent of the company, and that means two important things:
    • You may be held personally liable under certain federal and state laws for your actions if you interfere with employee rights.
    • If you know something, the company knows it, so it’s important not to sit on information that the company should be taking action on.
  • They need to be careful what they say on social media.
  • They can tell subordinates, “I don’t know the answer (but I will get it).”

Retaliation

One often-overlooked supervisor training topic is retaliation says Wobst. It’s the hidden danger. Thirty-eight percent of charges filed with the EEOC last year were (or included) retaliation claims.

Wobst concluded with a quote from one plaintiff’s lawyer:

“It’s been my experience that it’s often easier to convince a jury of a retaliation claim than a discrimination claim. My totally unscientific theory is that people understand the impulse to retaliate—if someone does something that makes you angry, you hold it against them—and they can understand that employers and their managers may do that, too.”

Training your supervisors—always a challenge. And it’s especially tricky when you do business in more than one state.

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Imagine the time and frustration you’ll save with this authoritative, instant-information reference. In just seconds, you’ll zero in on the precise information you need whenever you must:

  • Create a new policy;
  • Verify the compliance of an existing policy;
  • Expand your operations;
  • Audit your procedures;
  • Support recommendations to senior management;
  • Advise colleagues at field offices, branches, and stores; or
  • Stay comfortably up to date with increasingly complicated state employment laws.

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Off-duty conduct
Tobacco use on the job
Weapons
Personnel files
Whistleblowing
Plant closings
Meal and rest breaks
Health insurance continuation
References
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New hire reporting
Affirmative action
Background checks
Credit reports
Arrests and convictions
Pregnancy leave
Small necessities leave
Voting leave
Jury duty leave
Military leave
Employee privacy
Social security numbers
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Employment at will
Child labor
Labor organizations
Organizing by public employees
Noncompete agreements
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Payment of commissions
Garnishment
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