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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Carefully consider whether an employee really qualifies as disabled before providing reasonable accommodations. Don’t focus solely on the number of treatments an injury or condition requires. Focus instead on whether the condition substantially impairs a life function.

Ever felt déjà vu when an employee claimed she was suffering retaliation because of a prior discrimination or harassment complaint? If what the employee describes sounds familiar, watch out. You may have a serial retaliator on your hands, and those earlier incidents may end up being used to prove retaliation has occurred again.

The ADA calls for an interactive conversation involving both parties to identify possible accommodations, but ultimately, it’s the employer’s call. For example, it’s perfectly legal to transfer an employee to another position, even if the employee isn’t happy with the move.
It’s no secret: International news often upsets Americans, especially since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But frustration about terrorism and other threats shouldn’t be allowed to spill over in the workplace, especially if another staff member is unfairly singled out for abuse based on nothing more than his national origin or religion.
By definition, sexual harassment investigations require a strict level of professionalism that may be at odds with the modern blue jean-clad, open floor plan office. Employees may be reluctant to rat out a co-worker, even if he is a harasser.
A single racially charged comment from someone who didn’t have any say in a subsequent discharge decision won’t support a reverse discrimination claim.
An Asian restaurant in Bartlett, Tenn., is facing a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit after it fired two employees it believed were too big (due to their pregnancies) to wait tables.

Employees who are forced to work under conditions that leave them little choice but to quit can still sue, alleging they were constructively discharged. You can prevent those suits by transferring the employee who says he is being harassed to another equivalent job.

Job interviews present a minefield of legal problems. One wrong question could spark a discrimination lawsuit. That's why you should never "wing it" during interviews. Instead, create a list of interview questions and make sure every question asks for job-related information that will help in the selection process. To avoid the appearance of discrimination during interviews, do not ask the following 25 questions:
There is only one boss. The customer. But what if the customer or another outsider is harassing one of your employees? Can your organization be held liable?
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