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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Gov. Tom Wolf has asked the legislature to send him a bill providing protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

Since the EEOC declared that “the ability to interact with others” is an essential life function, some employees and their attorneys have argued that a long list of psychiatric and psychological disorders are covered ADA disabilities. If the diagnostic criteria for a condition includes difficulty getting along with others, then being diagnosed with the condition is proof enough of disability, goes the argument. Now a federal appeals court has essentially agreed with that position, at least when it comes to one diagnosis.

Employees fired for violating workplace rules can still sue over some alleged form of discrimination, even if they were indeed guilty of breaking company rules. Be ready to counter such allegations by always documenting exactly why you determined the employee should lose his job.
The U.S. Department of Labor has extended for two weeks the comment period for its proposed rule governing the obligations of federal contractors and subcontractors not to discriminate on the basis of sex in their employment practices.
Sure, it’s theoretically possible for a man to suffer sexual harassment. But it would have to be pretty blatant to get very far in court, right?
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.
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