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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Sometimes, a supervisor harbors prejudices that aren’t obvious. Always investigate before firing an employee who claims she’s in trouble because of her boss’s biases. If ­others agree there is a problem, you had better pay attention.
A former New York Police Depart­­ment officer of mixed-race ancestry is accusing the department of tolerating racial bias, alleging that co-workers on the NYPD’s elite scuba diving team harassed him.

There are some things that employers can’t control. One of those things is how employees act outside the workplace. Take, for example, this recent case in which a co-worker allegedly attacked another worker after work and off the premises.

Attorney General Eric Holder issued a Dec. 18 memo informing DOJ staff and U.S. Attorneys that the department will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex excludes discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination. That reverses a previous Department of Justice position.
Employees who are not qualified for their jobs can’t claim ADA protection based on disability. And when a disabled employee has a position that’s covered by Depart­­ment of Transportation federal drug testing requirements and refuses a drug test, he’s automatically unqualified because DOT regulations require his sus­­pension.
Employers that give a way for em­­ployees to complain about harassment or discrimination have already won half the battle. That will help prevent many lawsuits in cases where the harasser is a co-worker and the employee never gave the employer a chance to stop the harassment.
Judges understand the difference between an unfair boss and an illegal practice. They won’t hold you liable for all bad decisions—just the discriminatory ones.

HR Law 101: Severance policies are generally considered employee benefit plans entitled to ERISA protection, many courts have ruled. For employers, that means conforming to ERISA’s recordkeeping and disclosure requirements ...

Here’s some good news. One single isolated comment about an employee’s advancing age or his country of origin isn’t enough to sustain a lawsuit claiming age discrimination.
Now that every paycheck can become the basis for a new equal pay claim, smart employers are proactive about making sure they base compensation on factors other than sex, age or some combination of those factors.
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