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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Here’s a hint for defending your company in a discrimination case: Don’t even think about arguing that an obviously offensive ethnic slur is ambiguous or not offensive at all. It won’t get you very far with most judges.

Fired employees who file lawsuits alleging they were singled out for discipline because of some form of discrimination usually follow a basic legal strategy. They try to find a former co-worker outside their protected class who was punished less severely for similar conduct. Your best defense against those lawsuits is to make sure you carefully document all discipline.

Before you begin talking to candidates, make sure everyone you selected for an interview opportunity is among the best qualified, and that you haven’t passed over anyone who is obviously as well-qualified as other applicants. That’s the best way to avoid a needless failure-to-hire suit.

Courts are losing patience with employees who are overly sensitive when it comes to joking and off-color comments in the workplace, and are tossing out flimsy lawsuits because it’s not their role to manage workplaces.

When you buy a business, the employees generally don’t automatically transfer. Typically, the new owner decides which employees to keep on the payroll. Before you exclude any existing employees from consideration, make sure that rejecting them won’t look like a failure to hire because they have previously filed discrimination litigation.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has resigned after settling sexual harassment claims against him.
Good news for bosses who get nervous when required to give poor performance evaluations: A negative performance review alone isn’t grounds for a lawsuit. It’s only if the review becomes the basis for discharge, demotion or a denied promotion that employees can take the matter to court.
Before you jump for joy when an employee acts as her own lawyer in a federal lawsuit, consider this: Courts give pro se litigants lots of leeway, as this case shows.

Being a boss is hard enough, but it’s especially difficult when un­­expected absences disrupt production schedules. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of managerial life. That’s why you should remind supervisors that they must not take out their frustrations by retaliating against employees who miss work for legitimate reasons—such as having to care for a sick child.

Here’s some good news for em­ployers that promote an employee into a supervisory position not knowing she may have made racist comments in the past. As long as the new supervisor follows company disciplinary rules and HR carefully documents any performance and disciplinary problems, chances are the old comments won’t sink the em­­­ploy­­er’s defense of a discrimination claim.
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