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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In a sudden reversal, New York-based Saks Fifth Avenue has elected to settle a sex discrimination complaint filed by a transgender employee at the company’s store in Houston.
A federal appeals court has ruled that telecommuting is not always a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. The case involved a Ford employee suffering from a disability, but the court found that on-site attendance was an essential function of the plaintiff’s job.

A new employee says her co-worker has sexually harassed her. You investigate and discover she’s telling the truth. You discipline the co-worker. Is that the end of the matter? Not if the new employee won’t stop talking about what happened and it’s beginning to interfere with her ability to get her job done.

It’s illegal to punish employees for engaging in protected activity. But for an employer to be liable, the punishment would have to be significant. Minor changes in an employee’s job aren’t enough.

If your employee handbook hasn’t been updated in the past six months, it’s out of date. Because employment laws and your business are in a constant state of flux, it’s critical to keep your personnel policies up-to-date. In light of recent legal changes, be sure your policies include these updates:

Before you fire a worker for making a serious mistake, take into account his or her past disciplinary history and make it part of your decision-making process. That way, should the worker challenge the decision by claiming others outside his protected class were treated more leniently, you have that past discipline as support for a harsher punishment.

Remind managers and supervisors that all qualified employees, regardless of age, should be offered appropriate training. Telling older workers that they may not succeed can mean a big lawsuit loss later.

The Court has ruled in favor of the EEOC in a case that pitted fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch against a teenager who wasn’t hired after wearing a Muslim headscarf to a job interview.
A Chicago-area staffing agency that checked almost all the boxes on the EEOC’s what-not-to-do list has agreed to settle two lawsuits filed on behalf of temp workers.
The Supreme Court of Texas has decided a case brought under Texas law that will help employers defend themselves against retaliation claims.
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