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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Employers must reasonably accommodate employees’ religious beliefs unless doing so would cause undue hardship. Some employers take this to mean they get to decide what constitutes a genuine religious belief—and nix requests for time off for religious observances that don’t fit their defi­nition. That’s legal blasphemy!

Rudeness is likely to sneak into the workplace no matter how many civility rules you post. Unless the behavior is clearly abusive or obviously offensive to a protected class, don’t lose too much sleep over a potential lawsuit.

On Oct. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review all seven same-sex marriage cases pending before it. The Court’s refusal to hear the appeals meant that the lower court decisions striking down same-sex marriage bans in Indiana,  Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin took effect right away. The immediate effects are twofold.

Before disciplining an employee who says she did what she did because her supervisor told her it was OK, make sure others following the same informal rule were treated the same. If you fire or demote one, you must fire or demote the other.
Some litigants don’t want to listen to their attorneys when it comes to case management. That can make it difficult to settle a case or even cooperate with the other side. And things can get worse if the employee fires counsel and wants the equivalent of a do-over. Fortunately, most judges won’t let that happen.
Texas public employees are protected from retaliation for reporting wrongdoing to an appropriate law enforcement agency. But except in very rare cases, it’s not enough to file an internal complaint that someone within the employee’s agency is breaking the law.
Upscale retailer Barneys New York has agreed to pay $525,000 in fines to settle a lawsuit alleging it began profiling black and Hispanic customers after experiencing a spike in shoplifting and credit card fraud at its flagship store in Manhattan.
Few people like working in a place where supervisors and co-workers make smart comments, raise their voices or engage in other anti-social (and unpleasant) behavior. But that doesn’t mean that sensitive employees can sue their employers anytime their feelings are bruised.
A former employee has tried to advance a new legal theory by suing over alleged workplace bullying. His efforts failed and employers won’t have to worry about another new lawsuit flood.
Remind bosses: Be careful how you approach discussing potential retirement plans. Asking too often or in a way that’s not business-related may precipitate an age discrimination lawsuit if the employee loses her job or is demoted after such conversations.
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