Mindy Chapman, Esq., Mindy Chapman & Associates

When does insensitive teasing turn into an illegal
hostile work environment that violates Title VII of the federal Civil
Rights Act? One court said that while individual incidents may be
viewed as singular events, courts will view all incidents “as a whole”
when deciding if they add up to unlawful harassment …

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Sometimes, the simplest mistakes are the most expensive. When faced
with the decision of firing an assembly-line worker or giving her a
chair to ease her arthritis, this company took the litigious route—and
paid the price …

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If your organization leases
temporary employees from an agency, what should you do if one of them
complains she’s being harassed? Who should do the investigation—your
organization or the temp agency? A new ruling says that even though
temps aren’t your employees, you’d better take quick action to
investigate the situation and stop the conduct—and the agency should do
the same.

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Every school has a class clown. So, it seems, does every workplace.
Sometimes, those jokesters cleverly craft their double entendres so
they can be taken either way … sexual or not sexual. But a new court
ruling says enough of those coy games …

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Does your company have a written progressive disciplinary policy? Do
you and your supervisors follow it step by step–like a recipe? A new
court ruling says that if you don’t, you could whipping up a recipe for
disaster and liability under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(ADEA)

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Memories fade and employees come and go. That’s why it’s
crucial to retain certain records for future reference. Among the
records you should keep forever are past organizational charts that
show who had supervisory authority over other employees …

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Sometimes employees get frustrated. Sometimes they even act rudely.
But a new ruling highlights a legal risk you may not have thought
about: Employee’s rude treatment can quickly turn into an ADA lawsuit
if the customer is disabled. A New York court last week called the
problem a “failure to train” case

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Have you ever flat-out fired an employee for poor performance without
any warning? If employees are “at-will,” you can fire them for any
reason or no reason at all, as long as it’s not for a discriminatory or
illegal reason. Does that allow you to drop the guillotine without
guilt? As a new court ruling shows, supervisors should resist that urge
(and give the person a chance to shape up) if that employee recently
voiced a complaint about discrimination…

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You’ve
probably got an ADA policy that extends reasonable accommodations to
any disabled workers. That’s good. But are your managers following
through? If your paper policy is the only thing granting
accommodations, a court could make you pay the price … big time. As in
punitive damages…

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Basing hiring decisions on the prejudices of your customer base is a sure way to land in court. Hiring managers can’t try to push off their bias
onto a third party using excuses like “Our customers feel more
comfortable dealing with [male or younger or white] employees.” That
just won’t fly in court…

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