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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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.

The University of Minnesota at Duluth is still reeling from discrimination charges after it failed to renew hockey coach Shannon Miller’s contract. Miller and three of her coaches, all of whom are openly gay, were terminated.
If an employee ignores slurs or other hostile behavior—or even jokes about it with co-workers—that may be evidence the employee wasn’t personally offended and, therefore, won’t be successful in his hostile environment lawsuit.

It’s never pleasant to see a long-term employee’s performance decline. But if you intend to discipline a worker who previously was a good or even great performer, be sure to track the decline carefully. You don’t want an age discrimination claim to catch you unaware.

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