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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Make sure that any entity you hire to conduct fitness-for-duty exams understands their responsibility to exclude genetic information requests from the determination. Otherwise, you may be liable for Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act violations. The employee doesn’t have to add the providers to the lawsuit.

Most managers know that it’s against the law to discriminate against employees and applicants because of their race, gender, age, religion or disability. But you may not know that those same federal laws also make it illegal for employers and supervisors to retaliate in any way against employees who voice complaints about on-the-job discrimination.
Employees who want to alter their schedule to accommodate religious needs need to do more than simply mention religion generally. At a minimum, they need to explain their religious practices.
Most employers are aware that certain dress and grooming practices generally must be accommodated in the workplace.
The EEOC issued a proposed rule earlier this month that aims to clarify how employers’ wellness programs would interact with a section of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Sometimes an eager candidate will apply for several jobs with the same employer. If you are sure he or she isn’t qualified, you don’t have to agree to an interview for each open position. Be aware that if you do interview him for one of the positions and choose someone else outside his protected class, he may sue and argue he was much better qualified than whoever you did choose.

The role of an HR professional includes educating management on anti-discrimination laws. Doing so is generally considered doing one’s job and isn’t protected activity.
Once you have an accommodation in place for a disabled employee, don’t suddenly take it away. If the accommodation has been working, that may spur an ADA lawsuit.
A truck driver who is required to maintain U.S. Department of Transportation certification can’t sue his employer for disability discrimination if terminated without first pursuing remedies through the DOT. Until he’s done so, he isn’t “qualified” for the position and can’t sue for alleged disability discrimination.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle a sexual harassment complaint that may have involved physical assault. Suspending the alleged harasser is the safest approach. Telling the allegedly assaulted employee to choose between accepting a transfer or working with the harasser is not. She likely will quit and fire off a claim that she was constructively discharged.

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