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.
While management should strive for as cordial a workplace as practically possible, don’t worry if yours sometimes falls short. Don’t take complaints about petty slights and behaviors too seriously if you are sure there isn’t more below the surface.
Remind supervisors that treating employees (or applicants) less favorably because they have caregiving responsibilities can quickly trigger a lawsuit—and that’s more true now than ever. Your management training sessions should include information on the FMLA, ADA and other laws that affect the issue.
Of course you have an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy. You make sure employees know about it. You even make it easy for employees to use the policy. But all that can be for naught if you’re unable to track those complaints.
Here’s a situation that should send you straight to your attorney’s office. If you fire an employee because you discovered her spouse works for the competition, you may be violating the marital status discrimination clause in the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).
Here’s a tip that could save you thousands in legal bills and penalties: When you are asked to terminate a poor performer who previously complained about harassment, make sure her performance problems didn’t suddenly emerge after the complaint. That could be a clear indication of retaliation.
Companies that don’t change with the times risk going out of business. But change can be uncomfortable for employees, especially if it affects them directly in lost pay, status or even continued employment. Don’t let the possibility of a lawsuit keep you from making necessary adjustments.
Q. An employee confided in a regional VP that their boss had invited a co-worker to have a drink in his hotel room while they were attending a conference. When she declined, the boss became angry. Now, the boss has reported the co-worker for leaving work early without permission. The employee doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her friend, but she can’t let this go without telling someone. The co-worker refuses to come forward herself out of fear of retaliation. What should we do?
Major League Soccer team Chivas USA, which plays its home games in suburban Los Angeles, has been sued for race and ethnic discrimination by two former youth coaches. They claim they were fired because they are not Mexican or Latino.
Recent, highly publicized sexual abuse scandals have shown that hiding the problem by simply transferring abusers often doesn’t work. The same is true for supervisors with a penchant for sexual harassment. Problems often crop up again, despite a “fresh start.”
Q. We recently hired an experienced salesperson. During her orientation, she told HR that she recently underwent a sex change procedure and that she is transgender. A few days later, another employee went to HR and explained that he had known the salesperson in a previous job before her sex change. This employee is clearly uncomfortable and asked for advice on what he can say to the new employee and others on the team about their former working relationship?