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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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The White House announced June 16 that President Obama will soon issue an executive order that bans federal contractors from discriminating in hiring, firing, compensation or work conditions based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Employees can sometimes quit and sue for constructive discharge if their employer made work life intolerable. That doesn’t mean an employee can quit anytime she faces a difficult situation. She has to let her employer try to resolve the problem first.
Some small nonprofit organizations may think they don’t have to follow Title VII anti-discrimination rules because they only have one or two employees. They could be wrong if the board that manages the organization pays officers to attend meetings and generally holds them accountable for assignments and meetings.
Do you sometimes have preconceived notions based on uninformed assumptions about a worker’s or a job candidate’s ability to do the job? Beware!

People say stupid things all the time. When it happens at work, the consequences can be profound. But many dumb slips of the tongue turn out to be merely insensitive, not malicious. As long as the comments don’t become frequent or more severe, there won’t usually be any lasting damage.

Disabled employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations, which must be decided on the basis of an interactive discussion between the employer and employee. Some employees, perhaps sensitive about their medical histories, try to limit the information their employers can see. That can compromise the interactive process.

It may seem wrong for an employee who is out on disability leave to work another job. But firing her for allegedly lying about her medical condition may backfire in the form of a disability or retaliation claim.
The city of Brownsville has filed its answer to a former police officer’s suit alleging the city violated the ADA when it fired her shortly after discovering she suffered from Sjogren’s syndrome, which causes headaches, dry eyes and joint pain and swelling.
Federal courts are beginning to be more selective in the types of employment discrimination cases they consider. No longer can employees essentially “make a federal case” out of any workplace dispute.
If an employee requests a transfer, be sure to document that he did so.
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