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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A Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen franchisee in Chester County faces an EEOC lawsuit for allegedly refusing to hire three applicants because of their age.
Some workers think that anytime their employer criticizes an emotional state or suggests therapy, the employer is “regarding” them as disabled. Thus, goes the argument, the employer violates the ADA when it tries to intervene.
No doubt the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have had a dramatic effect on the workplace for employees who are, or are perceived to be, Muslim or Middle Eastern. Here are some scenarios in Q&A format, compiled by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to help managers ensure that their workplaces are bias-free.
Q. One of our employees recently shouted at his supervisor, and in doing so violated a work rule. In the course of counseling and disciplining—but not discharging—this employee stated for the first time that he has a disorder which might have caused his conduct. May we still discipline this employee?
Certainly, train your managers that they cannot use common racist phrases and names. But go beyond the obvious and provide examples of other terms and behaviors that may not seem obvious. The following case provides an example.
If you find out that a supervisor may have treated a disabled worker poorly, fix the problem promptly.
Here’s a reminder that even doing the right thing can mean a lawsuit.
Some employees will never be satisfied with their employer’s solution to perceived harassment. But if you have fixed the problem, it’s perfectly fine to tell the employee he needs to move on and forget about the past.
Your supervisors probably know it’s illegal to discriminate against someone because of his or her disability. But do they also know about a less-obvious part of the ADA that makes it illegal to discriminate against employees or applications because those people have an association with someone who has a disability?
Generally, employees don’t have long to get the litigation ball rolling if they want to complain about discrimination. In most cases, they must file a complaint with the EEOC or a state agency within 300 days of an alleged discriminatory act. However, employees often have lots more leeway if they are claiming they had to work in a hostile environment characterized by repeated slurs or other harassing behavior.