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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Houston employers have a new local anti-discrimination ordinance to comply with. In addition to the classes protected by federal and state law, Houston now protects employees from discrimination based on familial status, marital status, gender identity and sexual orientation.
A black man who runs two Tiffany & Co. stores in Texas is suing the luxury retailer in New York, alleging that the company engages in “systemic, nationwide pattern and practice of racial discrimination.”

When you fire a difficult em­­ployee, there’s a good chance he or she will remain a thorn in your side. Always aim to document the incident that prompted the firing by gathering as many eyewitness accounts as possible.

If there is one thing that will get a federal judge’s attention, it’s name-calling that targets a particular race or ethnicity. While one comment may not be enough for a lawsuit, repeated name-calling almost certainly demonstrates hostility. That’s especially true if a supervisor makes the comments.
According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, which tracks gay-rights issues in the workplace, more than a fifth of U.S. workers will be covered by the Department of Labor’s August announcement that it will interpret prohibitions on sex discrimination in a recent Obama administration executive order to include discrimination based on gender identity and transgender status.
Q. The vice president of my company, whom I appointed, is really a nice guy, but he has propositioned many of the female employees on multiple occasions for sexual acts in his office. He has a great attitude towards the female employees who agree, but those who refuse have been recently discharged without my consent. Is this sexual harassment?
When Deborah applied for a van driver position at a supermarket, the store manager told her he would not hire a woman for the job out of concern that a female driver would be at greater risk of being assaulted on the job than a male driver ...

Many employers have a hotline that employees can call to report discrimination, harassment or other workplace problems. Generally, employees who call a hotline are protected against retaliation because the call itself is “protected activity.” But that’s not always the case.

If you have an ethics, harassment or discrimination hotline, be sure to track all complaints that come in, your response and any follow up. This information will come in handy later if someone who used the hotline sues, claiming you ignored her complaints or otherwise discriminated against her.
Outrageous behavior by a co-owner of Ricardo’s Restaurant in Erie has cost the establishment $20,000. The EEOC reports that it has settled sexual harassment complaints filed by one of the restaurant’s former employees.
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