Insights and intelligence for HR Professionals



Has Political Correctness in the Workplace Gone Too Far?

Many HR managers are dealing with a backlash against political correctness in the workplace. When told that they have to be respectful of gays, Muslims, and others at work, some employees are asking about *their* rights. What can HR managers do? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD

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Gender and Bathrooms in the Workplace

You’ve no doubt heard the debates about bathrooms and who can use them, specifically laws barring transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice. In this week’s Kantola Learning Minute workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD, shares helpful tips for creating an environment where everyone is included and everyone can "go”.

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A Customer Won't Work with My Gay Employee. Is That Discrimination?

Is the customer always right? What about when the customer doesn't want to work with an employee because of that employee’s sexual orientation? Is that discrimination? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Why Can't My Employees Simply Tell Harassers to Stop?

An HR Director writes, "How can I encourage my staff to speak up and tell people when they're offended? Why do they think I'm the only one who can solve their problems?" Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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What Does it Mean When an Employer is ‘On Notice’?

Someone recently asked, "I've heard people talk about employers being 'on notice'. What exactly does that mean?" Well, in the context of discrimination and harassment cases, being on notice means that the employer should have, or in fact did, know enough facts about a problem that it should have taken immediate action to protect it's employees from unlawful behavior.

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Is it Harmless Flirting or Unwelcome Behavior?

In light of the #MeToo movement, an HR manager is wondering if what was once considered harmless flirting in her workplace is now a problem that needs to be addressed. How can she know? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Help! My Harassment Training’s Not Working

An HR director says she wrote a good harassment policy and provided training for her employees, but she's still getting complaints about bad behavior. What can she do? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Is Gender Identity a Protected Characteristic?

We've had several questions about sexual orientation discrimination and whether it is or is it not a protected characteristic. Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Sexual Harassment: Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

A viewer writes, "Why were people like Matt Lauer and others suddenly forced out of their jobs without being given a chance to defend themselves? What about 'innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt'? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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A “Poor Performer” Now Claims Harassment and Retaliation. What Should I Do?

An HR professional asks, "What do I do when an employee complains about harassment and retaliation just days after being written-up by his boss for his failure to do his job properly?" Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Getting Back to Work and Back to “Normal” After a Harassment Investigation

An HR administrator wrote to say she just completed an investigation into a harassment claim. Now she needs advice on how to get her workplace back to “normal”. What to do? Find out in this week’s Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Criminal Background Checks are Expensive. How Do I Control Costs?

A hiring manager says that running criminal background checks is expensive and asks for ideas on how to control costs. Find out what to do in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D.

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Can I Fire Him for Being Racist?

A manager asks, "Can an employee be fired for being a racist?" As with many things in the workplace, it's complicated. Learn more in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Help! I’ve Been Asked to Lead a Harassment Investigation

An HR Assistant asked, "Help! I've been asked to investigate a harassment complaint. Someone in our office recently complained about a co-worker and the company has tasked me with the investigation. Where do I start?" Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Do I Have to Keep Employees Who are Racist?

An employer says, "I've got some employees that I just know are going to show up on the news, video taped carrying signs and yelling slogans, that are going to upset some of their co-workers. What should I be prepared to do when that happens?" Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Is Blue Hair a Protected Characteristic?

An HR manager writes, "I've got a worker with blue hair. Even though it may not be a problem in Berkeley or Brooklyn she's getting some flack here. I know blue hair isn't a protected characteristic, but she's also rather heavy. What should I do?" Find out in this week's Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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When is the Right Time in the Hiring Process to Do Background Checks?

A hiring manager asked, "When is the right time in the hiring process to start spending money on background checks?" Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources®.

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How to Protect Employees from Racist and Rude Customers

An employer asks how to protect employees from racist and rude comments hurled by members of the public. While being rude isn't illegal, it does create a hostile work environment that has to be dealt with. So what can you do? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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What Do I Do if I Find Something in a Criminal Background Check?

An HR Manager asked, "If I do a criminal background check and find something, what do I do now?" While the law is pretty clear, Lester S. Rosen, founder of Employment Screening Resources®, provides a clear, rational process for assessing the risk and keep you out of trouble.

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How Can I Avoid Hiring Someone with a History of Filing Workers’ Comp Claims?

An HR Manager asks, "How can I avoid hiring someone who has a history of filing workers’ comp claims?" Doubtless, the manager learned this during the hiring process, but it doesn’t mean that she can use the information. Find out more in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources®.

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Gym Members are Hitting on My Trainers. Is that Harassment?

The manager of a gym says that male members are hitting on her attractive and fit female trainers. She's worried about a sexual harassment lawsuit. Should she be worried? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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What Can I Say When Asked for References on a Violent Ex-Employee?

An employer asks what she can say if someone calls to check a reference on an ex-employee who displayed a violent nature. What's the company's liability? What can and can't she say? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources.

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Should I look for Misdemeanors and Felonies in Background Checks?

A hiring manager says she knows that looking for misdemeanors in background checks is just as important as looking for felonies, but wonders why. Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources®.

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Medical Marijuana in the Workplace. Do You Have a Policy?

The use of medical marijuana is growing, and it’s only a matter of time before it enters your workplace. What guidelines and policies should you apply to keep everyone safe? Workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD, explains in this Kantola Learning Minute.

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Can I Use Credit Reports to See if Job Applicants are Responsible?

An HR director says she wants to hire only the most responsible employees and asks if it's okay to use credit reports to verify an applicant's qualifications. Is it a good idea, and what do you need to know before you proceed? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources®.

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The Headscarf and the Beanie. Are Both a Religious Right?

If one employee wears a headscarf as a religious right, can another wear a beanie, claiming religious expression? Find out in this week’s Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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It Was an Innocent Mistake. Is it Also a HIPAA Breach?

A hospital HR department asks about sanctions or disciplinary procedures when there's been a breach of patient privacy. How about when it was an unintentional breach? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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A Top Job Candidate Self-Reported an Offense but Understated the Severity

An HR manager says an applicant self-reported an offense on a job application but understated its severity. Our application states these are grounds for terminating the process, but he's the best applicant. What can we do? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources.

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One of Our Officers Lied on His Application. Should We Fire Him?

An HR manager says that one of the company's officers was outed by a blogger for lying on his application. He's great at his job but policy clearly states that lying on the application -- which is what he did -- is grounds for termination. What should the company do, and what does it mean for other employees if they do nothing? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources.

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When Checking References, How Can I Get People to Talk?

An HR Manager says that it's getting harder and harder to learn anything when checking references on job applicants, especially from large companies. Why, and what can they do? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources.

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HIPAA -- We're a Healthcare Facility. Do I Have to Train Everyone?

A hospital employee asks how many of their employees need to be trained about their HIPAA policies and procedures. Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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HIPPA -- Am I a Business Associate?

An accounting firm has been asked to sign a Business Associate Agreement from a hospital that they're doing business with. They ask why they have to sign if they're not covered by HIPAA. What should they do? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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HIPAA -- Does a Note From a Doctor Create a Training Requirement?

An HR Director asks if getting doctor's notes from employees who are returning to work means that her business is now a covered entity that has to follow HIPAA laws? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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When Screening Applicants, Can I Ask for Access to Their Facebook Accounts?

A hiring manager wonders if he can ask to be given access to a job applicant's Facebook page. After all, he might find a treasure trove of valuable information about the applicant. Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources.

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An Employee Got a DUI. Can I Fire Him?

An employer noticed that one of his employees was in the local news because of a DUI and doesn't want the reputation of his business to be hurt as a result. Can he fire the employee? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources.

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It Was After-Hours. Was it After Work?

Is an employer responsible for bad behavior that occurred when her employees were out drinking after working a trade show? Find out in this week's Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Recreational Marijuana in the Workplace. Do You Have a Policy?

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in one form or another, and many employers are wondering how to react. Can employees bring brownies to work? Can they smoke it during lunch? Find out in this week's Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Is LGBTQ Training Necessary in My Workplace?

An HR Manager asks if LGBTQ training is necessary since they're a small company in a small town in a conservative state. Why bother? Find out in this week’s Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Should an Overweight Employee Get Reasonable Accommodation?

An HR manager has an overweight employee who is asking for reasonable accommodation. Does the employee need a doctor's note? Find out in this week's Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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Is Preferential Treatment Discrimination?

An HR Director writes about an employee who is using flirtatious behavior to get on the good side of a boss. It's working, and her coworkers are complaining about preferential treatment. Is this discrimination? Find out in this week's Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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She Says She Can't Lift. Can We Terminate?

How far does a reasonable accommodation need to go before you can justify a termination? An employer asks about an employee who was hired for a job that included lifting but has a doctor's note saying she can no longer perform that function as needed. What's a reasonable accommodation in this case, and what are grounds for termination? Workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD, explains in this Kantola Learning Minute.

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"No Smelly Food in the Microwave." Is That Discrimination?

Complaints about smelly foods in the workplace can quickly escalate to involve national origin and discrimination. What guidelines and policies can you provide your workplace to avoid these? Find out in this Kantola Learning Minute with workplace trainer Linda Garrett, JD.

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