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.

When courts find that an employee has been discriminated against, they often order the employer to end the practice or policy that was the basis for the lawsuit. But when the employee voluntarily quits before the case is over, that remedy isn’t available.
Handle serial complainers as you do one-time complainers. Investigate the claims, fixing legitimate gripes and rejecting all the rest. If the chronic complainer sues, chances are the court will realize that you’ve been dealing with someone who is habitually crabby.
Criminal defendants are entitled to a public defender, but that’s not true for employees trying to sue for discrimination. Courts won’t often pay for legal assistance if the employee can do the work herself.
When an employer doesn’t have a set policy on whether an employee can change his mind about retiring, refusing to rescind a retirement request isn’t enough to support a discrimination or retaliation lawsuit.
Under the ADA, employees who claim to be disabled must show that their condition substantially im­­­pairs a major life function. Min­ne­sota has its own version of the law. It requires that employees show their condition materially impairs a major life function. That’s a lower standard, but still a tough one for employees to prove.
Courts don’t want to second-guess every employment decision. They leave it up to employers to determine, for example, whether one rule violation is more serious than another. As the following case shows, employers are free to terminate employees who won’t listen.
Employers that compile promotion lists based on test results should tell employees that the lists will be updated periodically.
If your sexual harassment policy is comprehensive, any complaint may trigger an investigation that uncovers many violations—perhaps even by the complaining employee. When that happens, the best policy is to let the investigation take its course and document everything. Then discipline everyone who violated the policy.
A Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee will pay $277,000 to resolve sexual harassment complaints from a group of women who worked at a store in Raleigh.

Tempted to ask applicants about their past medical history, disabilities or other private information related to potential disabilities? Don’t do so before you make a job offer.