Category: HR Hero Line

HR best practices, employment law tips, news and analysis, Q&As, and lessons learned from the courtroom.

What Employers Should and Shouldn’t Keep in Employees’ Personnel Files

Labor and employment law attorneys get a lot of questions from employers about personnel files. The most frequently asked question is, “What should I include, and who gets to see them?” Read on as we attempt to sort out some of those questions. HR Guide to Employment Law: A practical compliance reference manual covering 14 […]

Race Discrimination Claims Tossed Despite Offensive Conduct

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits race discrimination. But is a minority employee the victim of discrimination or retaliation if a supervisor treats all direct reports “very badly” and “like a child”? What if the supervisor also steps up documentation on the employee after she complained that the supervisor is “racist”? […]

E-mail: What to Keep, What to Toss

by Michael E. Barnsback Local, state, and federal laws, rules, and regulations impose record-retention obligations on all employers. In the employment context, you have to retain employee hiring and termination records, payroll and benefits records, wage and hour records, immigration records (Form I-9), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) records, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability […]

What Physics and History Can Teach HR about Hiring and Firing

by Boyd Byers In physics, chaos theory is the concept that systems rely on an underlying order and are sensitive to initial conditions. As a result of this sensitivity, a small error or imprecision in the initial conditions grows at an enormous rate over time. Thus, two nearly identical sets of initial conditions applied to […]

Employers Bear Brunt of Proof in USERRA Cases

The First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently developed a new two-part test for determining discrimination based on military service under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). This newly created test may prove problematic for employers. To find out why, read on. Basic Training for Supervisors: easy-to-read guides to avoid legal hazards, […]

Handling Employees Summoned for Jury Duty

John, a regular full-time employee of BigCo, received a jury summons from federal court. Upon learning he had to appear for jury duty, he called Jamie, BigCo’s human resources representative, to find out what he needed to do. Jamie told him that he needed to take personal leave for his absence. After hearing John complaining, […]

To Create a More Civil Workplace

by Mark I. Schickman Robert Sutton is a professor at the Stanford School of Engineering and the founder and codirector of Stanford’s Center for Work, Technology and Organization. He wrote a Harvard Business School article, which was then transformed into the best-selling book The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That […]

Are You Flunking Performance Evaluations 101?

As HR professionals, you might sometimes find it’s easy to take parts of your job for granted — completing I-9 forms, signing employees up for health insurance, and overseeing annual performance evaluations. Unlike routine paperwork, however, performance evaluations are an important part of effective management and can be critical in defending against employment litigation. And […]

Conducting Exit Interviews

Terminations are an inevitable part of employment, but despite their seemingly routine nature, even voluntary terminations can present a host of potential problems for employers. When handled properly, however, they can provide you with a valuable opportunity to gain insight into your organization, correct previously undetected problems, and increase your retention rate. For those reasons, […]

What To Do When the FMLA Lights Come Up

You’re sitting in your favorite HR juke joint, crying into your beer over the pain and heartache your employees have caused you this week. After a few cold ones, solving the world’s HR problems begins to look simple. Then, as you near that moment of perfect clarity, the lights come up and the bartender shouts, […]