HR Management & Compliance

Key Exceptions to the Rule of Consistency in HR

Yesterday, we discussed the role of consistency in fighting off discrimination lawsuits. Today, when you might want to appear inconsistent – and an introduction to a key recordkeeping resource that will help you put some of your most important legal obligations on autopilot.

In some situations, you’re not going to want to be consistent. You are going to want to make an exception. For example, your policies probably state that certain offenses — stealing or fighting — may result in termination. But let’s say you have a long-time employee who committed a relatively minor infraction of one of these rules.

You might want to make an exception in that case. When you realize that the action you are about to take is not consistent with your rules or past actions, prepare detailed documentation explaining your rationale. Otherwise, you open yourself to lawsuits (see yesterday’s CED for more on this). For example, your documentation might state:

You have committed an offense that normally would result in your termination.

However, because of your [long record of service to the company] and your [exemplary work history] we can allow you to stay on.

Had any of these factors not been present, we would not have been able to maintain your employment.

If you then go on to terminate a 3-month employee for the same offense, he or she won’t be able to establish much of a claim of inconsistent treatment.

Don’t let poor administrative housekeeping be your downfall. Check out our California Required Notices Package, and rest assured that your postings are correct and up-to-date.

How to Ensure Consistency

How can you be sure that your treatment of employees is consistent? There are three keys:

1. Clear policies. Help out everyone involved by insuring that clear policies and guidelines cover important behavioral, discipline, and termination issues.

2. Central Oversight. Make sure that there is some sort of clearinghouse, probably HR, to make a review before significant discipline or termination is imposed. Individual managers aren’t in a position to know how other managers’ employees have been treated. HR is. In addition, someone in HR should review all terminations to check not only consistency, but appropriateness of the punishment, documentation, planning, exit interviews,

3. Training. Make sure your managers and supervisors understand the importance of consistent treatment of employees. Train them to come to you when significant discipline issues arise. Better yet, mandate that they visit HR before terminating any employee for any reason.

Sometimes It’s Best To Outsource Consistency

As you’re undoubtedly aware, you’re required to post a wide assortment of state and federal notices at your workplace. And if you fail to do it — even if you have the best of intentions — you open yourself up to a wide aray of costly fines and penalties.

Sometimes the best thing you can do to ensure consistency in your recordkeeping duties is to turn a portion of them over to someone else. And that’s where we come in.

We’ve done all the running around for you and gathered together in one place:

  • Your required state postings
  • Your required federal postings
  • Your required Wage Order poster
  • 20 copies each of four mandatory pamphlets

Best of all, you only need to think about it once: At the start of every year, we’ll send you a brand-new, fully updated package, so that you can be sure you’ve got the most updated information available. You’ll get:

1. California Employee Notice Poster. Includes the following notices:

  • Whistleblower protection
  • Notice to Employees: Unemployment Insurance Benefits
  • Access to Medical and Exposure Records
  • Time Off to Vote
  • Payday Notice
  • Safety and Health Protection on the Job
  • “Notice A”—Pregnancy Disability Leave
  • “Notice B”—Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave) and Pregnancy Disability Leave
  • Notice to Employees—Injuries Caused By Work (in both English and Spanish)
  • Discrimination and Harassment in Employment are Prohibited by Law
  • Notice to Employees: Reporting Wage Credits for UI, DI, and PFL
  • California Minimum Wage

2. Federal Employee Notice Poster. Includes the following notices:

  • Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Your Rights Under USERRA
  • Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act/Federal Minimum Wage
  • Equal Employment Opportunity is The Law
  • Notice: Employee Polygraph Protection Act
  • Job Safety and Health: It’s the law!

3. Wage Order poster. Your choice of:

  • Manufacturing Industry
  • Personal Services Industry
  • Professional, Technical, Clerical, Mechanical & similar occupations (offices only)
  • Restaurant, Public Housekeeping
  • Mercantile Industry, Retail Outlets
  • Transportation
  • Amusement and Recreation
  • Certain Occupations in Construction, Drilling, Logging and Mining

4. Twenty (20) copies each of four mandatory pamphlets:

  • The Facts About Sexual Harassment: Must be distributed to all new hires (we recommend distributing a new copy along with any sexual harassment training you perform as well).
  • Paid Family Leave: Must be distributed to new hires and employees taking paid family leave.
  • Disability Insurance Provisions: Must be distributed to new hires and employees taking covered leave.
  • For Your Benefit: California’s Programs for the Unemployed: Must be distributed to any employee who is terminated or laid off, or who goes on a leave of absence.

All for just $99. It’s a deal you can’t beat — order today, risk free.

Need just the posters, or just the pamphlets? We can do that, too.

Download your free copy of How To Survive an Employee Lawsuit: 10 Tips for Success today!

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