What do employment attorneys see as the common thread that lands well-meaning employers in court time and time again? Costly mistakes by their front-line managers.
To safeguard your firm from these five common manager blunders cited by attorneys, have HR meet with all front-line managers and supervisors and remind them to avoid:
The big 6
- Sloppy documentation. Managers’ documentation should never, ever seem subjective. It should always be written as if it could wind up in a jury’s hands.
- Inflated appraisals. Many managers avoid difficult conversations by inflating the performance ratings of employees. This can make it impossible to justify a discipline decision in court.
- Applying policies inconsistently. When managers don’t apply their policies to all employees, it leaves the company wide open to an array of discrimination suits.
Another critical mistake in this area: Not knowing certain policies even exist.
- Being unaware of the law. It’s become a troubling trend in employment law cases: Front-line managers blatantly admit to not knowing about laws like the FMLA or the ADA. Managers need to be trained on the ins and outs of these critical employment laws.
- Ignoring complaints. Granted, some employees complain incessantly. But to stay safe, each and every compliant about unfair treatment or harassment must be taken seriously and investigated.
- Blatant rudeness. Sometimes there’s a fine line between being stern and being flat-out rude. But when managers err toward the latter, it can make employees think they disapprove of a specific protected trait — such as age, race or gender — and potentially lead to a discrimination lawsuit.