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.
How often have you worried about disciplining the only employee who belongs to a particular protected class? You probably feared that the employee would sue, alleging bias. Relax. Being the only black … or Asian … or female employee doesn’t confer any particular advantage in a discrimination lawsuit.
Employees who serve in the military are entitled to return to their jobs after their active duty ends and otherwise receive special consideration for service. But those rights have limits.
In some rare cases, employers can win a case in which they disciplined or terminated an employee for illegal reasons. Usually, the employer has to pay the employee’s legal costs. But it’s been an open question whether that’s true in “mixed-motive” retaliation cases. Now the 5th Circuit has clarified that the employer isn’t on the hook for employee attorneys’ fees.
Here’s something to warn supervisors about after an employee has filed a discrimination or harassment complaint: Even if the initial complaint proves unfounded or too minor to be illegal, any punishment the complaining employee experiences later may amount to retaliation.
Courts are getting quicker with the gavel when it looks like a lawsuit might have been filed by an overly sensitive employee who perceives vague comments as harassment.
You can’t prevent all sexual harassment, but you can do plenty to avoid liability when it does happen, at least when the harasser is a co-worker. Start with a clear anti-harassment policy, and make sure everyone understands it.
Pushed to do more with less, many employers are asking employees to work longer hours. That can cause workers to lose sleep and may even result in diagnoses of insomnia. But not everyone who is sleep deprived and takes medication to sleep is disabled and entitled to reasonable accommodations, such as a shorter workday.
A court has OK’d a trial for a mentally ill worker who was turned down when he asked to be transferred to another supervisor. The man blamed his subsequent discharge on a failure to accommodate.
A federal jury has awarded two former employees of Concord trucking firm A.C. Widenhouse more than $243,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The EEOC had filed the suit on behalf of two black employees who complained of pervasive bigotry and harassment at work.
Managers are responsible for stopping harassing behavior about which they know or should have known. This means that they can’t wait for an employee to file a complaint with them. These steps should be taken in response to a harassment situation.