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.

One of the only legally secure ways to protect your company from hostile work environment lawsuits is to provide clear steps for employees to complain. Then investigate the allegations. Make sure employees know how to raise concerns and whom to talk to.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from using an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, or sex as a basis for decisions on hiring, discharging, compensation, benefits, classification, and all other terms and conditions of employment. It also forbids retaliation against employees or applicants who lodge complaints against unlawful employer acts covered by Title VII.
If you are contemplating changing your compensation structure to reflect today’s lean job market, do so carefully—especially if you suspect you may be overpaying some employees for the work they do. The problem: Older, more experienced workers may be at the top of your pay scales.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear an important case next term on the definition of “supervisor” under Title VII harassment law. At issue: Whether the supervisor liability rule applies to employees who oversee and direct other’s daily work but have no formal authority to hire, fire, demote or promote.
Covered under Title VII, race discrimination and harassment can spark employee lawsuits when co-workers engage in joking or horseplay, when managers allow prejudice to enter their supervisory decisions, and even in the case of negative employment acts against white employees, known as reverse discrimination.

Employers can’t discriminate against someone based on her  national origin. But what about discrimination based on whether someone is in the country illegally? Is that also national-origin discrimination? The answer is a resounding “No!” according to a recent 7th Circuit Court of Appeals case.

Employees occasionally have what can be called “I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it any more” moments. They make a lot of noise and storm out the door. Maybe they toss an “I quit” over their shoulder on the way out. In such cases, it’s best to let those employees know as soon as possible that you accept the resignation.

You just terminated an employee for misconduct or poor performance. A few weeks later, you receive an EEOC complaint alleging that the employee suffered years of harassment and discrimination. If you didn’t have clear rules in place for reporting such conduct, you may be facing years of litigation.
Some jobs demand relevant, real-world work experience. If a failed applicant sues, claiming a college degree should have trumped on-the-job experience, you’ll probably win—if you can justify your experience requirements.
The jubilation was short-lived after an employer won what would have been a significant victory that might have reduced the number of cases the EEOC litigates. Alas, an appeals court quickly turned the tables.