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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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Here’s an important reminder that employees don’t have to be black to complain about racial harassment in the workplace and win a large jury award.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in a workplace harassment case may alter the way future harassment suits are brought against employers.
Merrill Lynch will pay $160 million to 1,200 black brokers who have worked for the Wall Street giant since 2001. The plaintiffs’ attorneys alleged that Merrill Lynch (now owned by Bank of America) engaged in “systemic” discrimination.
Employees who file discrimination charges are protected from retaliation; any adverse action an employer takes afterward can be retaliation. The closer in time the two events are, the more likely a retaliation claim will stick. Your only real protection is having a rock-solid reason for your action.
The Silver Diner in Lexington will pay $25,000 to a former waitress to settle claims she was sexually har­­assed by one of the diner’s owners. She claimed when she complained to other owners, her hours were cut. Ulti­­mately, the owners tired of her complaints and terminated her.
Most workplaces now reflect the nation’s increasing diversity. Don’t let that worry you. An employee can’t sue just because a ­manager who makes employment decisions belongs to a different racial group.
Make sure you evenly apply your leave policies to all employees.
Here’s one less thing to worry about when preparing performance reviews: Employees can’t use a poor review as an excuse to sue unless they can show it affected their job in some significant way, such as making the employee ineligible for a pro­­motion.

While family responsibility discrimination (FRD) is not a new protected category (and no federal law expressly prohibits employment discrimination against caregivers), a number of laws provide protection for employees with caregiving responsibilities.

Some disabled applicants or employees will never be able to perform their jobs. However, you can only reach that conclusion after both sides engage in the interactive accommodations process. If no accommodation will let the person perform the job’s essential functions, you can terminate an employee or reject an applicant.
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