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Managing Employees Without Fear

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Managing Employees Without Fear

How to Follow the Law, Build a Positive Work Culture, and Avoid Getting Sued


15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Managers can learn to trust their decisions and embrace best practices.

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  • Applicable
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  • Concrete Examples


American companies can avoid employment-related lawsuits. Adam Rosenthal – a partner specializing in labor and employment law at the firm Sheppard Mullin – tells managers how to stop living in fear of mistakes by adopting best practices and strategies to protect themselves. Explaining how to navigate sensitive workplace conversations and overcome implicit bias, Rosenthal offers practical tips to help leaders and HR make employees feel safe while holding teams to high performance standards.


Reflect on which of these five manager types you most resemble.

Each year, US companies contend with employment-related legal action costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Companies face employment disputes for myriad reasons: communication breakdowns; inadequate leadership training; failures to involve HR; and a lack of compliance with the law and/or company policy. Factors contributing to employment-related disputes include the decline, over the past half-century, in union membership, the COVID-19 pandemic and polarizing societal debates and divides.

When you manage employees without fear, you can navigate difficult situations, secure that your decisions are lawful and appropriate.

To be a fearless manager, consider which of the following five categories of manager – archetypes of American high school students – you most resemble:

  • Student council president – You’re an effective, hardworking leader whom employees and superiors appreciate. You read employee handbooks, make the right choices, accurately assess others and have confident judgement.
  • <...

About the Author

Adam Rosenthal is a labor and employment partner at the law firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

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