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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Q. We are a retail company. Our public image and our reputation for being a patriotic corporate citizen are both very important to us. We tend to hire a predominately young workforce and individuals with trendy, but “clean cut” and energetic appearances. I also don’t want to be forced to hire people with head coverings or facial hair, which we don’t allow. Can the government force us to do that?
When someone has surgery or undergoes extensive medical treatment, it’s fairly common to have temporary and lingering problems with energy levels, memory and general feelings of wellbeing. But these don’t make the employee disabled under the ADA.
Don’t even think of including in your job application a shortened statute of limitations for resolving employment disputes.
Employers should be careful to design training programs that make training opportunities available for all. But sometimes, an employee won’t be able to participate in training. In those cases, be prepared to explain why.

Here’s something to consider before you place an employee on disability leave following an em­­ployer-ordered medical exam. That employee may end up being considered disabled—even if the exam revealed no real medical problems. Essentially, by examining him and placing him on leave, you are regarding him as disabled. He can then sue for disability discrimination.

The EEOC alleges Chanhassen, MN-based PMT Corp. discriminated against older and female applicants for company sales positions. In a law­­suit filed in federal court, the EEOC claims the company’s president and CEO specifically instructed the HR department not to hire women and people who graduated from college more than 10 years ago for sales positions.
Interstate Hotels and Resorts, the Virginia-based firm that managed Rochester’s Kahler Grand Hotel, has settled age discrimination charges that four former employees brought against the company. Interstate began managing the hotel, which serves the Mayo Clinic, in January 2013.
The White House announced June 16 that President Obama will soon issue an executive order that bans federal contractors from discriminating in hiring, firing, compensation or work conditions based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Employees can sometimes quit and sue for constructive discharge if their employer made work life intolerable. That doesn’t mean an employee can quit anytime she faces a difficult situation. She has to let her employer try to resolve the problem first.
Some small nonprofit organizations may think they don’t have to follow Title VII anti-discrimination rules because they only have one or two employees. They could be wrong if the board that manages the organization pays officers to attend meetings and generally holds them accountable for assignments and meetings.
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