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If an employers handbook or personnel policies provide procedures to be followed in terms of employee discipline or termination, those procedures should be followed and applied evenly.
For instance, if an employer applies the policies discriminatorily, such as following the handbook for men but not for women, this can be used as evidence of discrimination.
It is true that sometimes facially neutral policies (policies that are applied to all employees equally and are not expressly illegal) can sometimes violate the law.
For example, a policy may prohibit promotion when an employee takes off four or more consecutive weeks during the year.
The Mavericks released a statement on Tuesday saying they take the allegations "extremely seriously." "Yesterday we notified the league office and immediately hired outside counsel to conduct a thorough and independent investigation.
The investigation will focus on the specific allegations related to this former employee, and will look more broadly at our company’s workplace practices and policies.
If an employee does not follow the internal procedures outlined by the policy they may not be able to pursue a claim in court.
These types of policies include inter-office dating policies and anti-nepotism (policies that prohibit or limit situations in which employer and employee relatives can work at the company).
Additionally, it is important to realize that an employer can generally change its handbook or personnel policy at anytime, so if your employer sends out a personnel policy update be sure to read through it to be aware of your rights.
For example your handbook might state that employees “will” rather than “may” receive a severance package- in the past this has been interpreted to create an obligation on behalf of an employer to provide a severance package for its employees.
Additionally handbooks can play an important role in wrongful termination or discrimination suits.
Mark Cuban has fired the Dallas Mavericks' head of human resources and in-house beat writer in response to a report from Sports Illustrated that details allegations of a "hostile work environment" and "real life 'Animal House.'" SI interviewed more than a dozen former and current Mavericks employees.
According to the report, those interviews painted a picture of "a corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior; alleged public fondling by the team president; outright domestic assault by a high-profile member of the staff; unsupportive or even intimidating responses from superiors who heard complaints of inappropriate behavior from their employees; even an employee who openly watched pornography at his desk.