Questions Who is allowed to see an employee's personnel file? Do I need an employee handbook? How do I avoid legal problems when giving employee evaluations? What is progressive discipline? How can we discipline employees effectively? Can our company be sued if an employee harms a customer or other third
In the worst-case scenario, a personnel file may turn into evidence in a lawsuit brought by a disgruntled former employee. In order to keep the information you need at your fingertips -- and keep your personnel files from becoming fodder for a lawsuit -- take the time to properly create and maintain your personnel files. In addition, learn what should and shouldn't be in a personnel file and then be vigilant about what goes in and what stays out.
Many states have laws giving current and former employees access to their own personnel files. The extent of access provided varies from state to state. In order to avoid lawsuits and problems, be sure you know the law in your state. And even if your state doesn't require employee access to files, you might want to establish a company policy that allows some access.
Employers who routinely review employee performance and conduct regular employee evaluations reap tremendous benefits. The evaluation process nips a lot of employment problems in the bud. You can recognize and reward good employees and coach workers who are having trouble.
Progressive discipline is an employee disciplinary system that provides a graduated range of responses to employee performance or conduct problems. Disciplinary measures range from mild to severe, depending on the nature and frequency of the problem. For example, an informal coaching session might be appropriate for an employee who is tardy, while a more serious intervention might be called for if an employee doesn't improve a performance problem after receiving several opportunities to do so.
Many companies either have a progressive discipline policy in place or follow one in practice. Used properly, progressive discipline gives managers the tools they need to make fair, consistent, effective, and legally defensible disciplinary decisions. But how do you use progressive discipline to get results? How do you decide what type of discipline is appropriate in a particular situation? And how do you deliver that disciplinary message in a way that produces actual improvement? By following the seven steps below:
In some circumstances, your company might be legally responsible for harm caused by its employees. Courts have held employers liable for injuries their employees inflicted on coworkers, customers, or total strangers. Employers are generally liable for employee accidents or misconduct that happen within the course and scope of employment. However, if you aren't careful in checking employees' backgrounds when you hire them, your company can also be held liable for employee actions that occur outside the scope of employment.
The benefits of having an employee handbook are many: Every employee receives the same information about the rules of the workplace; your employees will know what you expect from them (and what they can expect from you); and you'll buy yourself valuable legal protection if an employee later challenges you in court.
Cell phones are so common these days that it's hard to remember a time -- not much more than a decade ago -- when most of us used a phone that was tethered to a wall with a cord. The ability to have a conversation from almost anywhere with almost anyone makes the cell phone a necessity for modern business. But this extraordinary convenience brings with it safety concerns that employers must address through written policies.
In most investigations, interviews are the main tool investigators use to find out what happened. More often than not, investigators have to rely almost entirely on statements from the main players and witnesses, who may contradict each other. If the main participants flatly deny each other’s claims,
Our company has an employee handbook that includes a progressive discipline policy -- a verbal warning for first offenses, then a written warning, then suspension or termination if the misconduct continues. Last week, we learned that our bookkeeper has been stealing from us for months -- and we caught him red-handed. Do we have to give him two more chances or can we just fire him?
I'm a relatively new manager, and it's time for me to conduct my second -- ever! -- round of annual performance evaluations. I try to use praise and positive feedback to motivate the employees who report to me. But now that I'm looking over the performance of my team during the past year, I'm noticing that certain problems have persisted. Should I call these out in performance evaluations or should I continue to accentuate the positive?
I run a small company. We recently hired our twentieth employee, which made me think it might be time for an employee handbook. I've been doing some research online, and I keep seeing that employers have to have policies prohibiting harassment. I understand that harassment is bad. But why is having a policy about it so important? Is a policy really going to prevent anyone from acting like a jackass? I've always thought it's more important to lead by example and immediately put a stop to any inappropriate comments or behavior. So do I really need a harassment policy?