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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.

Employers must respond promptly to allegations that employee misbehavior is creating a racially, sexually or otherwise hostile work environment. But what if all an employee only complains about is unspecified name calling?

If you must eliminate jobs, make sure you create a clear paper trail explaining why and how you made the decision to terminate a particular individual. That’s especially important if the employee had discrimination charges pending—or a history of filing them.
You might assume that, before suing for failure to hire, job seekers and employees going for promotions would have to actually apply for the jobs they didn’t get. Unless your company has a robust, easy-to-use posting and application process, you could be wrong.
HR can and should serve as a check on overzealous supervisors who want to mete out discipline to those they don’t like while ignoring problems with those they favor. Insist that no final termination or disciplinary actions go through without clear documentation that supervisors followed all the rules.
In a case that shows there is justice for employers, a federal court has dismissed a discrimination complaint because the employee’s attorney literally copied the allegations from another case in another state against a different employer.
Ryan’s Steakhouse in Asheville has the EEOC sizzling after one of the eatery’s managers berated and eventually fired a 79-year-old worker.

When terminating several em­­ployees at the same time, make sure you have carefully documented the reasons. That’s especially important if the employees share common protected characteristics such as age. You want to be prepared for a lawsuit if they decide the real reason they lost their jobs was their protected characteristic.

It’s impossible to know if a termination will lead a former employee to sue for discrimination. That’s why it’s crucial to enforce all your rules equitably. You don’t want an employee to be able to say that someone else broke the same rule without receiving harsh punishment.
Q. One of our employees recently violated a work rule by shouting at his supervisor. After the incident, the employee disclosed to the company for the first time that he had a mental disorder that he claims caused his conduct. Can we discipline him, or would that be disability discrimination?
The Minnesota departments of Natural Resources, Commerce and Public Safety have settled EEOC age discrimination charges that resulted from early retirement packages offered to senior state employees.