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.
Sometimes, it pays to be patient. That’s often true when deciding who to terminate when several people are allegedly involved in rule breaking. Conduct an independent investigation, talk to all the individuals involved and come to conclusions based on what the employees said. That way, there’s a good chance a court won’t second-guess your final decision.
Some accommodations requests aren’t directly related to the disabled employee’s job functions. Take, for example, simple accommodations like changing arrival and departure times so a disabled employee can take a specific bus or providing a reserved parking spot next to the entrance. Those accommodations fall within the scope of the ADA.
Employees sue over the most trivial workplace incidents. Fortunately, courts have more important things to do than soothe hurt feelings. Busy judges are quickly dismissing cases that are based on nothing more than a few petty incidents.
A recent case has tested the complex, unwritten rules surrounding the use of the N-word in the workplace—in this case, the successful STRIVE East Harlem temporary agency, which has been profiled on “60 Minutes.”
Don’t ignore applicants who have filed prior EEOC complaints against your organization. Give them a fair opportunity to compete for jobs.
A veteran nurse in a Tampa Bay-area hospital had been using a walking cane without incident for about two years when the hospital decided that she could no longer use it because, it said, the cane was unsafe and could be used as a weapon. The EEOC is suing the hospital on the woman’s behalf.
Do some of your supervisors gripe about having to follow anti-discrimination laws? Rein them in. Otherwise, you’ll wind up in court if a job candidate gets rejected for obviously illegal reasons.
Employees sometimes believe they can stop a pending termination merely by filing an EEOC complaint. The implied threat: That they’ll sue for retaliation if they do, in fact, get fired. That won’t work if the employer can show it would have fired the employee anyway.
Watch out if a supervisor suddenly gives a poor performance review to a previously good employee who has recently complained about discrimination. Unless you can clearly show that the employee’s performance was deteriorating, you might be setting yourself up for an otherwise avoidable retaliation lawsuit.
Some employees are completely unable to get along with others. Sometimes, psychological problems may be at the heart of the trouble and the employee may claim she has a disability that must be reasonably accommodated. Employers don’t have to create jobs as an accommodation, making the only possible option termination.