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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The EEOC had one of its long-running cases dismissed after a federal judge in Buffalo criticized the commission’s handling of a discrimination case against Sterling Jewelers.
A federal judge has affirmed a jury award to a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Mike Adams claimed university administrators praised him when he was an atheist, but black-balled him after he became a Christian.

Some employees seem to think that any uncomfortable situation at work can become the basis for a lawsuit. Fortunately, they are wrong. Co-workers don’t always get along, but that’s hardly grounds for a hostile work environment charge.

Here’s an easy way to avoid unnecessary litigation: If you are disciplining an employee for missing too much work, don’t tie absences to a disabled relative’s condition. If you do, you may end up losing an association discrimination case.
Employees of United Health Pro­­grams of America, Inc. claimed that since 2007 they were coerced into participating in an offbeat religion called “Onionhead,” created by a family member of the employer.
Employers can now be required to provide accommodations to this class of workers.
Sometimes, employers don’t learn about alleged discrimination or harassment until an employee brings up the claim when facing discharge for other reasons. If that happens, how should you respond?

Under some limited circumstances, employers may be obligated to suggest reasonable accommodations for struggling workers who have obvious disabilities that appear to interfere with their ability to perform essential job functions. But that’s really only true for em­­ployees whose disabilities are obvious and limit the employee’s ability to speak up for himself.

Remind supervisors that they must never make jokes (or assumptions) about employees based on where they were born, their origins or other national or ethnic characteristics.

When harassment allegations surface, we often advise separating the two parties to minimize chances of more misbehavior. Sometimes, employees find their own ways to keep away from harassers. However, business realities can make that unsustainable.

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