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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Following a rash of sexual harassment complaints against state legislators, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed an independent investigator for complaints against members of New York’s legislative and executive branches.

When an employee is fired, he or she has nothing to lose by suing you. That’s why you should assume that every employee will do just that and prepare accordingly. That includes making sure you have documented every step of the disciplinary process, providing details and dates.

Employers that ignore the first or second complaint about a racially hostile workplace do so at their peril. The fact is, if you don’t do something to stop the harassment fast, it’s likely to get worse—much worse.

Here’s a good practice that may limit lots of lawsuits following terminations: If possible, make sure the same person who hired a worker also fires him. That makes it more difficult for an employee to argue he was fired for discriminatory reasons.

Members of the military who are called to active duty service have rights while deployed. Employers must be prepared to defend any decision that adversely affects the deployed employee.
A state appeals court has upheld a jury verdict awarding damages to a group that included about a dozen city marshals and police officers who had previously worked for the city’s park and airport police departments. The group demonstrated in court that the city’s consolidation of these departments resulted in a pay disparity between officers over age 40 and younger officers.
Proving retaliation is often easier than proving the underlying discrimination that was the basis for the original complaint. Still, an ordinary employer action—such as preparing a performance review that’s generally favorable—isn’t retaliation, even if the employee thinks he deserved a better review and more praise.
The Pentagon has indicated it will give troop commanders some flexibility in allowing religious-based exceptions to the military’s appearance requirements. Most notably, Sikhs, Muslims and Jews will now have an avenue to receive permission to wear beards and religious headwear.
Some employees believe that once their employer agrees that they are disabled, they can demand a specific accommodation. But that’s not true. In fact, it is the employer that gets to pick a reasonable accommodation.

When people are thrown to­­gether in the workplace, per­­s­­onality conflicts are almost inevitable. But unless there’s seriously abusive behavior or particularly offensive language, an occasionally rude workplace won’t be labeled hostile by a court.

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