Learning & Development

More Easy-to-Make, But Hard-to-Defend Supervisor HR Mistakes

In yesterday’s Advisor, we shared common mistakes supervisors make. Today, more tips and an introduction to a supervisor training system that teaches supervisors how to discipline—and do 49 other tasks.

In addition to those presented yesterday, Jonathan Segal, a partner with Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen in Philadelphia, offers two more common mistakes supervisors make, when it comes to HR actions.

Bundling Protected and Unprotected Absences

Some absences, like FMLA leave, can’t be considered when terminating for absenteeism because they are protected by law.

So, whenever an employee is to be let go for attendance problems, get a list of all absences before terminating. Then go through them one by one, and ask, is this protected? If it is arguably protected, you may not want to count it. Managers clearly can’t do this analysis on their own, Segal notes.

Yes, you do have time to train managers and supervisors with BLR’s 10-Minute HR Trainer. Try it at no cost or risk. Read more.

Using Medical Terms

Consider a long term employee who was exemplary but whose work is now slipping. Where she was once cooperative, now she can’t get along. Once communicative, now she is reticent.

Managers will say, “You look depressed. Are you?” Big error! Though the rules are complex, the employee may now be able to claim that she is “perceived as disabled,” which qualifies her for benefits and protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act. And that’s whether she is provably disabled or not.

Instead, use a catchall phrase, suggests Segal. Say to her, “Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) helps employees solve their problems. Would you be interested in contacting them?” Or better yet, remind all employees of the EAP’s services. Also consider putting EAP information on your discipline forms. 

Final Point: Dignity and Respect

Because you didn’t hire them for their HR knowledge and skills, you can’t really expect supervisors or line managers to act legally and appropriately right out of the box. It will take training in these areas.
Of course, to train them effectively, you need a program that’s easy for you to deliver and also one that requires little time out of their busy schedules. Plus, if you’re like most companies in these tight budget days, you need a program that’s reasonable in cost.

We asked our editors what they recommend for training supervisors on the HR challenges that hit their desks every day, in minimum time with maximum effect. They came back with BLR’s unique 10-Minute HR Trainer. 

As its name implies, it trains managers and supervisors in critical HR skills in as little as 10 minutes each.

10-Minute HR Trainer offers these features:

–Trains in 50 key HR topics, including manager and supervisor responsibilities, such as how to legally carry out managerial actions from hiring to termination, under all major employment laws. For a complete list of topics, click here.

–Uses the same teaching sequence master teachers use.  Every training unit includes an overview, bullet-points on key concepts, a quiz, and a handout to reinforce the learning later.


Train your line managers with BLR’s 10-Minute HR Trainer.  There won’t be time for classroom boredom. Try it free.  Read more

–Completely prewritten and self-contained. Each unit comes as a set of reproducibles. Just make copies or turn them into overheads, and you’re done. To see a sample lesson, click here.

–Updated continually. As laws change, your training needs do, too. 10-Minute HR Trainer provides new lessons and updated information every 90 days, along with a monthly Training Forum newsletter, for as long as you are in the program.

–Works fast. Each session is so focused that there’s not a second’s waste of time. Your managers are in and out almost before they can look at the clock. Yet they remember small details even months later.

Evaluate It at No Cost for 30 Days

We’ve arranged to make 10-Minute HR Trainer available to our readers for a 30-day, in-office, no-cost trial. Review it at your own pace and try some lessons with your colleagues. If it’s not for you, return it at our expense.  Click here and we’ll set things up.

Download list of training topics
Download sample lesson