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Featured White Paper:
HR’s Guide to Workers’ Comp

Workers' comp has been a workplace staple for a long time, but it can confound even the most seasoned employers and HR professionals.

Download this FREE White Paper to learn workers' comp basics, including a lexicon of helpful terms, a workers' comp checklist to help you manage the process, and information about your employees' role in workplace safety.

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Problem Employees Additional
Additional HR Resources

Workplace Investigation Help for HR.
How to intake, process, resolve and report employee claims without creating more problems.

Basic Training for Supervisors
How supervisors can reduce legal risks at the time of an employee’s termination

Discipline and Documentation
Correctly document performance problems and issue effective discipline

How to Fire Employees
Specific steps to minimize legal risks when terminating an employee

How Supervisors Fire
The legal dangers of firing an employee and 11 other legal landmines

Swine Flu and Illnesses
Whether it's the H1N1 virus or the common cold, when one employee comes to work sick, everyone at your organization is at risk for infection.

Pandemics and H1N1
Learn how to prepare your organization for a flu outbreak with the FREE HR Hero Sample Policy

Mastering Workplace Violence
Gain a more in-depth understanding of the potential risks and how to reduce these risks with the new in-depth report

Employment Law Manual
All-new 2012 Edition is fully up-to-date with the latest revisions to FMLA and COBRA and other laws!

50 Laws in 50 States
Compare side by side and see
exactly what employers need to do

Problem Employees

Problem employees seem to exist for the sole purpose of giving HR and management a headache. They are problem employees and they are everywhere. No organization is immune to them. At best, they are little more than time eaters who keep you from being as productive as you’d like. At worst, they can be a threat to the stability of your work environment.

HRHero White Paper: Combating Workplace Violence

Identify the problem
Problem employees comprise a very small portion of the workforce yet manage to consume a disproportionate amount of HR and management’s time and attention. Very few employees set out to be a problem for their employers and those that do usually reveal themselves quickly. They tend to be disgruntled, suspicious, and apathetic employees and, generally, they have chronic attendance issues, performance issues, and disciplinary issues. And, thanks to the proliferation of employment and labor law information available via the Internet, they know just enough to effectively work the system to their advantage — particularly when it comes to state or federally mandated benefits such as workers’ compensation and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Mastering HR: Discipline and Documentation and Firing

Manage the risk
Employee lawsuits have reached an all-time high and are still rising. Managing problem employees in the face of our increasingly litigious society is one of human resources’ most serious challenges. Avoiding litigation is a powerful motivator but retaining an underperformer for fear of litigation isn’t the answer. More often than not, your best bet is to tackle the problem of problem employees, head on. The following four steps will help you face the challenge.

  1. Establish a strong attendance policy with levels of disciplinary measures that address increasing absenteeism and tardiness appropriately.
  2. Implement a performance management and review system that rewards excellence and uses strategies to improve employee performance.
  3. Set up a three-step disciplinary process that includes formal notices such as: verbal warning, first report in writing, and second/final report in writing.
  4. Train your supervisors to deal effectively with problems that do arise and not wait until it gets out of hand.

Additionally, effective hiring and interviewing techniques and valid job descriptions provide the foundation for preventing problem employees from infecting your workplace. They help the management team know what to look for in new employees and provide applicants, as well as current employees, with information regarding the requirements of the position.

Basic Training for Supervisors - easy-to-read guides to avoid legal hazards, covering more than 17 areas of supervisor training

Be proactive
One of the best ways to neutralize problem employees is to take an objective look at your employee handbook, policies, and practices. Amend any policies that are outdated, unfair, or open the door to litigation. While you’re at it, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do we comply with all legally mandated employee benefits and requirements?
  • Do we clearly communicate expectations for employee behavior and job performance?
  • Do we provide a safe and secure work environment?
  • Are we respectful and considerate of our employees?
  • Do we listen to our employees’ concerns and address them in a responsible and effective manner?
  • Do we have a formal complaint process?
  • Do we conduct thorough investigations into issues as they arise?
  • Are our pay practices for each position in line with the position, the community, and our industry?
  • Do we reward excellence?

Document, document, document
When these strategies fail and firing is the only option, the accuracy of your documentation can mean the difference between time in the courtroom and a good, clean break from a poor employee. Especially important are your performance evaluations and any disciplinary memos. If you’re in doubt about your documentation, conduct an audit of your personnel files to make sure only appropriate information is included.

HR Guide to Employment Law: A practical compliance reference manual covering 14 topics, including discipline and termination