10

November, 2014

LIFE’S LESSONS* Summer 2014, Real Issues…Reconstituted Facts

WHEN IS ASKING SOMEONE OUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT?

A single request for a date does not amount to sexual harassment, or does it? That all depends on whether there is a back story. Let’s consider what can unfold….
Jerry, age 27, was recently hired as an associate at Acme. Jerry does not have any direct reports, but he has been assigned as a summer intern mentor. Jerry was invited to Acme’s summer welcome event, at which he met Paula, an intern in the department, who is entering her senior year at college.

Jerry was struck by Paula’s easy laugh, and the following day he initiated a conversation with her over Acme’s instant messaging system. Over the next several weeks, Jerry regularly IM’d Paula, asking about her hobbies and interests, and sharing information about himself. Paula never initiated the exchanges, but she would reply. Once, Jerry invited Paula and her mentor to join him and his intern mentee for lunch. Paula declined due to a conflicting meeting with her supervisor.
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10

November, 2014

LIFE’S LESSONS* Spring 2014, Real Issues…Reconstituted Facts

STRUCTURING AN UNPAID INTERNSHIP

The hiring season is commencing for college and high school students, who are eager to build their resumes with practical work experience. But must students be paid for these work experiences, and at what rate? Does it matter if their school provides them with academic credit? Let’s consider Midsize Company, where three managers wish to retain students as summer interns.

Harold wants to offer five summer internships, with a stipend of $1000 each. The interns would help alleviate the department’s data entry backlog, under the guidance of the full-time staff. They would attend guest lectures from employees in other departments and would have a one-day shadowing opportunity with a member of Harold’s management team.

Bari wants to offer one student from her alma mater an unpaid summer internship. This intern would shadow Bari and members of her team on a rotational basis. Bari has also scheduled her peers in other functions to speak with the intern about their respective roles. The student would receive college credit, provided he/she completes a research project, and Bari has written a hypothetical fact pattern that she will have the student independently research over the course of the summer.
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10

November, 2014

LIFE’S LESSONS* Winter 2013, Real Issues…Reconstituted Facts


PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK – WHY BOTHER?

As year-end nears, many businesses are engaged in employee performance review processes. The approach differs – some conduct formal reviews tied to job descriptions and/or defined performance objectives; some solicit 360 feedback from peers, clients and direct reports; and some provide informal feedback reflecting on employees’ progress in their roles, accomplishments, or areas for improvement. Some businesses do not engage in any such process. Why are annual reviews a recommended HR best practice? And what pitfalls should you consider when providing performance feedback?
Let’s consider Joe, age 49, who works for Small Enterprise. Small Enterprise began with five employees in 2008, but business picked up substantially 2 years ago. Presently, Small Enterprise has 50 employees and is poised for significant expansion in the coming year, particularly in Production. Joe heads the Production Team and has been with Small Enterprise since shortly after it was founded. While Joe is pleasant and knows the mechanics of the function, senior management does not believe he has the drive and determination to oversee Production in its further expansion. They have identified a talented manager from outside, 13 years’ junior to Joe, with whom they would like to replace him.
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10

November, 2014

LIFE’S LESSONS* Fall 2013, Real Issues…Reconstituted Facts

SELECTING AMONG EMPLOYEES IN A RIF/DOWNSIZING

Let’s consider the subject of “graceful exits”, and how “graceful” is all in the eyes of the beholder.

Keith is a senior manager, who was recently advised that he needs to reduce his staff by three full-time employees before year end. Keith has selected the two lowest performers on his team (a man and a woman), as well as Alix. While Alix was rated a year-on-year average performer, Keith says there are some issues with her performance that have not been documented. Keith comments that Alix seems unhappy and does not get along well with her colleagues. Last month Alix had complained to HR about one of her coworkers. Keith views the severance package as a “graceful exit” for Alix.
Should Keith move forward with these terminations?
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