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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We all use psychological lingo to describe behavior we find annoying or disturbing. But when such terms are used in the workplace, that armchair analysis can create needless legal headaches.

When an employee either complains internally about discrimination or goes to an outside agency like the EEOC to lodge a complaint, she has engaged in what’s called “protected activity.” She may not be right about the discrimination, but if her employer retaliated against her for complaining in the first place, she could win a large jury award anyway. You’ll want to avoid at all costs having to admit to any of these 10 things if you’re embroiled in a retaliation case.

The nation’s largest producer of fresh eggs is being sued after it fired a black employee who had complained about racial and sexual harassment at the company’s farm in Waelder.
The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has settled a long-standing gender discrimination case with five women who work as emergency medical technicians. They’ll split $1.3 million under the terms of the settlement.
Do you have a comprehensive civility code? If not, consider adding one. A work environment contaminated by yelling, cursing and other uncivil behavior could lead to discrimination and retaliation lawsuits.
Q. Several employees have requested that we talk to another employee who, frankly, smells bad. I know she has medical problems. Can we ask her to do something about the odor or would that be discrimination based on disability?
A black game warden-in-training—one of only two black cadets in her class—has filed an EEOC discrimination complaint against the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. At the same time, the EEOC also granted a white game warden permission to file a federal lawsuit alleging that supervisors instructed him to “distance himself” from black colleagues.
Be careful before firing someone for violating email policies that prohibit forwarding company documents to a personal email account. If the forwarded documents support an EEOC or other discrimination complaint, and if the forwarding isn’t “disruptive,” firing the employee could trigger a retaliation claim.
To achieve compliance and prevent successful discrimination claims (which could involve class-action exposure), employers must be attuned to workplace issues around national origin, religion and race. For most employers, this means training management and HR personnel to carefully consider their policy-making and daily decisions that can affect such issues.
Here’s some good news. A court has quickly dismissed a pay disparity lawsuit that a university mathematics professor filed accusing her university of paying male faculty more than their female colleagues.
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