The McKenzie Mailer
Volume 3, Number 11
November 19, 2003
“The Supervisor’s Guide to
Sea Turtle Inn in Atlantic Beach
8:30 to 1:30
$100.00 per person.
Contact John Gray firstname.lastname@example.org
SingleSource Services Corporation
McKenzie & Company
Your Solution to Employee Issues
Bob McKenzie, President
(904) 273-8637 – Office
(904) 655-2120 – Cell
Knowledge is the Key to Avoiding Employee Issues
A couple of weeks ago a male employee of the Marion County, Florida Sheriff’s office was held personally liable for the acts of sexual harassment and gender discrimination committed against a female co-worker. The woman received $5,000 from her co-worker and $150,000 from the Sheriff’s department. The $5,000 settlement pales in comparison to the $450,000 judgment against each of two supervisors in an Illinois hospital who were found to be in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act. The total award in this case was $11.3 million.
Although the reason for the supervisor’s negligence in the above cases is not known, it is a good bet that they just did not know what their responsibilities were. The employment situation is getting more and more complicated every day. In 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that the employer is always liable for harassment committed by a supervisor. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act both have provisions that allow for personal liability of supervisors who violate the law. Not knowing what your duties and responsibilities are not a defense.
Other problems that lead to employee issues are the “It won’t happen here” syndrome; overworked managers and supervisors; handling situations with an “ignore it and it will go away” way of thinking or retaliating against a person who makes a complaint.
Discrimination cases filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rose by 5% to 84,442 complaints in the 2002 calendar year. With approximately 250 workdays a year, this equates to nearly 338 complaints of discrimination or harassment filed in the United States every day. Wage and hour litigation is also on the rise. In 2001, for the first time ever, class action lawsuits involving violations of the wage and hour laws exceeded class action suits involving discrimination. Since the advent of computers, the line between exempt and non-exempt positions is getting fuzzier all the time. A proposal to change the antiquated law has been introduced to federal lawmakers, but the proposal is having problems getting past the House and the Senate.
Training is the key. To avoid costly and time consuming administrative actions through outside agencies such as the EEOC or worse yet, a lawsuit, supervisors and managers must know the rules. They must keep open communication with employees and the person responsible for keeping attendance, personnel and payroll records.
The world is changing all the time and often faster than we can keep up. Take the time to get the information you need to protect you and your company from costly and time wasting employee issues.