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July 2017 Archives

How do I handle employee conflicts in my business?

As a Pennsylvania employer, planning for what could happen in the future is always a good idea to protect your business. One such plan you need is how to handle employment disputes. Situations can vary, so your approach should be based on the situation at hand. For example, fi the conflict is between two employees, it should be handled differently than conflict between you and an employee. In addition, harassment or discrimination issues should be handled differently than other employment disputes.

In most conflicts, according to the balance, you should approach employee conflict in a neutral way. You do not want to come across as favoring one person over another. Never meet with each person involved separately. Make it clear you are not going to allow yelling or fighting during the medication process. You should encourage both people to explain their side of the issue. Encourage them to calmly discuss what happened and what they would like done to resolve it.

It might be a good idea to have someone from human resources sit in on the meeting. That person would best understand the policies and other regulations that may come into play and be able to provide valuable input.

You should never avoid or ignore a conflict in your workplace. It is disruptive to everyone. Even if only two people are actively involved in the situation, it will still rub off on others and could affect productivity in the whole company. Always address the situation as soon as you become aware of it. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

EEOC sues Time Warner, Charter for firing disabled worker

On July 6, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that they would be suing Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications. The two cable companies, which recently merged under the brand Spectrum, are being sued for firing a disabled employee.

The employee alleges that her disability was not accommodated and that she was fired after the company learned about her condition.

This case serves as a reminder that no matter how big or small your business may be, there’s always the risk of a discrimination lawsuit. These charges may emerge from the EEOC (15 or more employees) or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (4-14 employees).

How to protect your business from charges of disability discrimination

Facing discrimination charges from either the EEOC or the PHRC can be intimidating for any business. There are things you can do to better protect yourself and your business from a discrimination lawsuit.

  • Rethink your interview questions: Employers can’t ask employees about their medical history or disabilities before making an offer. Rather than asking about someone’s physical limitations, reframe questions to ask about an applicant’s abilities to perform the essential functions of the role they’re interviewing for.
  • Provide reasonable accommodations: Employers need to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee with a disability. The exception to this rule if it would impose a significant difficulty or expense on the employer. Flexible working hours or making the workplace more accessible for wheelchairs are common accommodations you may need to make.
  • Document everything: If an employee is simply not performing the essential functions of the task, then you may ultimately find it necessary to terminate employment. Documenting an employee’s poor performance strengthens your credibility that the employee was fired due to performance, not because of a disability.

Just because your business was charged by the EEOC doesn’t automatically mean you’ll face disciplinary consequences. Taking these charges seriously and proactively dealing with them will help your business overcome these disputes.

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