Learning & Development

4 More Sins Your Supervisors and Managers Are Guilty of

In yesterday’s Advisor, we featured the first six sins of supervisors. Today, sins 7 through 10, plus an introduction to the all-things-HR-in-one website, HR.BLR.com®.


[Go here for sins 1 through 6.]

Sin #7. Not Knowing and Not Enforcing Policies

We’re busy now. Talk to me about that harassment business next week.

If you think the work’s not safe, you’re free to quit any time.

Nobody in this department can talk about salaries or benefits with other employees or outsiders, especially online.

Supervisors and managers are the front line for interpreting and enforcing the company’s policies. But if they don’t know the policies and their associated responsibilities, even with the best of intentions, they’ll be setting you up for a lawsuit.

Sin #8. Making Wage\Hour Blunders

We’re out of overtime. Can you clock out and then set up for tomorrow?

You new recruits will be working alongside our regular employees, but you will all be independent contractors.

Tracy, make sure you stay close to the phone during lunch.

Sandy, keep your phone near you evenings for calls from the West Coast.

Wage and hour should be simple but it just isn’t. The most common problems are:

  • Overtime. You have to track it, pay it, and include bonuses in the “regular rate” for overtime calculations.
  • Off the clock. You have to pay for all hours worked, even if the employee volunteers and even if you’ve forbidden the employee to do work.
  • Misclassification. Many “independent contractors” are actually employees who need to be paid overtime. And many “exempt” employees have duties that do not meet the criteria for exemption.

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Sin #9. Letting Problems Fester

Teresa’s crossing the line with her behavior, but she surely knows it—she’ll figure it out.

Oh, that’s just Jimmie. He means no harm—he’s just “old school.”

With bad behavior, it’s always tempting to ignore it in hopes that the behavior will improve on its own. But you know that’s not going to happen. Unfortunately, as time goes by, you appear to be condoning the behavior.

Sin #10. Making “Side Agreements”

Stay after you clock out for the next 2 weeks until we get this job out the door, and I’ll make it up to you by writing in extra overtime next month when the budget switches over.

Take this transfer, and I’ll guarantee you a promotion at the end of the year.

I can’t pay you for this extra work, but you and your spouse can go out for a nice dinner on the company account.

Managers under stress may be tempted to make “side agreements” that either go against policy or consist of promises that likely won’t be kept.

Three problems arise with side agreements:

  1. They are illegal and there will eventually be lawsuits.
  2. Employees will be left feeling that agreements haven’t been honored.
  3. Others who didn’t get the special treatment or privilege may sue.

OK, that’s our top 10 sins of supervisors and managers. Avoid them, and stay hassle—and lawsuit—free.

Know Any Supervisory Sinners?

And how about your supervisory sinners? Any sins we’ve missed or expensive blunders you’ve encountered? Please share them with the share button or write directly to sbruce@BLR.com.

Teaching supervisors to avoid lawsuits—just one of the many challenges all HR pros face. In HR, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Like FMLA intermittent leave, overtime hassles, ADA accommodation, and then on top of that, whatever the agencies and courts throw in your way.

You need a go-to resource, and our editors recommend the “everything-HR-in-one website,” HR.BLR.com®. As an example of what you will find, here are some policy recommendations concerning e-mail, excerpted from a sample policy on the website:

Privacy. The director of information services can override any individual password and thus has access to all e-mail messages in order to ensure compliance with company policy. This means that employees do not have an expectation of privacy in their company e-mail or any other information stored or accessed on company computers.

Find out what the buzz is all about. Take a no-cost look at HR.BLR.com, solve your top problem, and get a complimentary gift.

E-mail review. All e-mail is subject to review by management. Your use of the e-mail system grants consent to the review of any of the messages to or from you in the system in printed form or in any other medium.

Solicitation. In line with our general policy, e-mail must not be used to solicit for outside business ventures, personal parties, social meetings, charities, membership in any organization, political causes, religious causes, or other matters not connected to the company’s business.

We should point out that this is just one of hundreds of sample policies on the site. (You’ll also find analyses of laws and issues, job descriptions, and complete training materials for hundreds of HR topics.)

You can examine the entire HR.BLR.com® program free of any cost or commitment. It’s quite remarkable—30 years of accumulated HR knowledge, tools, and skills gathered in one place and accessible at the click of a mouse.

What’s more, we’ll supply a free downloadable copy of our special report, Critical HR Recordkeeping—From Hiring to Termination, just for looking at HR.BLR.com. If you’d like to try it at absolutely no cost or obligation to continue (and get the special report, no matter what you decide), go here.