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Discrimination and Harassment

Discrimination and harassment claims often increase in a down economy. Learn the proper techniques for conducing proper workplace harassment investigations, providing sexual harassment training, and more to reduce claims of employment discrimination and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.

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In 2007, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs selected Frito-Lay for an audit by issuing a scheduling letter. Two years later, the agency re­­quested hiring data for January 2008 to October 2009 claiming it had found a “statistically significant” difference in its hiring rate for women at its Dallas facility. Frito-Lay refused, claiming the scheduling letter did not authorize the new data’s release.

Minnesota workers injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits and can’t be punished for asking for or receiving those benefits. Remind supervisors and ­managers that it’s their job to manage the work­­force despite injuries and that threatening or actually punishing workers who apply for benefits is illegal.

The current workforce consists of four generations with unique strengths, values, expectations and, perhaps, limitations. Used poorly, generation-specific employment practices could create legal liabilities.

Employers with locations in multiple states that find themselves responding to an EEOC discrimination complaint sometimes fear the agency won’t limit its investigation to a single complaint or two. Instead, they worry the commission might conduct a wide-ranging investigation and sue over so-called “pattern-and-practices” discrimination, alleging companywide bias.

USERRA makes it illegal to discriminate against those who serve. Counting the time off required for reserve personnel to train violates USERRA. Make sure you don’t count it.
A federal judge has dismissed race discrimination charges against the New York Post newspaper. While the judge agreed that two black reporters who sued experienced “a raucous work environment” in which bosses “yelled and cursed at reporters,” they were treated no differently than co-workers who aren’t black.
When you evaluate whether a former employee may sue you successfully over her discharge, consider this: If you replaced her with someone belonging to the same protected class, she’ll have a hard time winning a lawsuit that claims you were biased against her class.
Even a single incident of overt sexual harassment can become the basis for a sex discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit. Warn all supervisors and managers: Keep your hands off your subordinates—and your lips, too!
Want to avoid unnecessary lawsuits over whether an applicant is qualified for a job opening or promotion opportunity? Then make sure your job announcement includes specific information about minimum requirements so that those don’t become the basis for a lawsuit.
In a sign that some judges are losing patience with the way the EEOC handles employment discrimination lawsuits, a federal court has ordered sanctions against the commission.
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