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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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It’s critical to base every employment-related decision on sound business reasons. It’s the only way to protect against lawsuits from employees who blame discrimination for every problem at work.
A police officer who betrays the public’s trust by committing a crime may automatically lose his job. And if he pleads guilty to a covered offense, a court has ruled, any complaint he had that the employer treated him unfairly by suspending him will be dismissed.

Many employers have handbooks that tell employees they must immediately report any alleged harassment or discrimination. But reporting requirements alone isn’t enough. Employers must police workplaces for harassing or bigoted materials, and act immediately if they find anything.

While it is illegal to discriminate against an individual based on his or her national origin, that doesn’t mean that discrimination against someone based on her immigration status is forbidden. That’s because immigration status isn’t tied to a particular national origin.
Here’s a new worry for New York HR managers: Mess up too badly and you could be held personally liable for damages under the state’s New York Human Rights Law. Something as simple as refusing to approve what turns out to have been a reasonable accommodation may leave you on the hook for thousands of dollars or more in damages.
A Boca Raton nursing facility, Menorah House, has agreed to settle a religious discrimination suit filed by two former employees after management stopped accommodating their religious needs. The two employees were Seventh-Day Adventists, who do not work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

When an employee can’t find an attorney to take up her case, she may resort to filing a lawsuit herself. Her complaint won’t be professional and may be short on logic. That doesn’t mean you should ignore it.

Employees and their lawyers can make some outrageous allegations in lawsuits. It may be part of an effort to get publicity, or maybe it just re­­flects the employee’s subjective per­­ception of what happened instead of objective reality. Either way, don’t panic. Chances are, the case will be tossed out when the judge sees there’s no substance to the allegations.

When sexually offensive signs or pictures appear in the workplace, it’s smart to remove them right away. But getting rid of tasteless material isn’t enough to stop a harassment lawsuit. This case shows that it pays to go one step further by educating employees on harassment.
While you can fire an at-will employee for any legal reason or no reason at all, your best bet is to conduct a thorough and fair investigation. It’s much easier to persuade a judge that a discrimination complaint is meritless if you can point to records showing exactly why you fired the worker.
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