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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New York City and Rochester scored perfect 100 ratings in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual assessment of American cities with local laws and policies that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination.
Current and former employees of the Social Security Administration will receive $6.6 million to settle charges the agency failed to accommodate disabled workers and denied them promotions. A federal judge in Baltimore has given preliminary approval to the deal.
Many bosses succumb to the temptation to build a disciplinary case against the employee by citing a long list of minor rule violations. But that can be dangerous, especially if the same violations don’t trigger the same scrutiny for other employees.
Worried about terminating an employee because the allegations against him amount to a he-said, she-said situation? Relax. Courts don’t want to become HR departments and don’t want to mediate every dispute.
Some people who speak English well still have thick accents. Asking for clarification or inquiring about the accent isn’t national-origin discrimination, as long as it’s not disrespectful.

By now, most employers are familiar with the list of categories protected from employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: race, color, religion, national origin and sex. Other federal anti-discrimination laws add additional protected categories to the list: disability (ADA), age (Age Discrimination in Employment Act), pregnancy (Pregnancy Dis­­crimi­­nation Act) and genetic information (Genetic Information Non­­dis­­crimi­­na­­tion Act). Absent is any mention of sexual orientation or gender identity.

While there is growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexuality in the United States, being transgender is still not a protected status under federal law. That may be changing in the coming years, but there is as yet nothing preventing a Texas employer from discriminating against a transgender applicant or employee, as the following case shows.

As long as you consider all candidates on their individual merits and not solely because of what sex, age, race or ethnicity they belong to, your efforts at diversity won’t get you in trouble.
Austin scored a perfect 100 in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual rankings of American cities with local laws and policies that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination.
A state appeals court has just reversed part of a jury award based on a new California Supreme Court requirement that employees prove that discrimination was “a substantial motivating factor” for the firing rather than merely a motivating factor. However, no such rule applies to har­­ass­­ment claims.
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