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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Concerned that any discharge decision you make will be second-guessed by a court or jury? Ease that worry by adopting a fact-based approach to discipline that relies on easily proven and verifiable work problems. Avoid generalities such as “just not working up to potential” or “not a team player and others have to pick up the slack.” Instead, go for the specifics ...

Open a New York newspaper and chances are you’ll see a headline featuring an employer in deep trouble for allegedly allowing an atmosphere of sexual or racial harassment to flourish. When you receive such a complaint, act immediately. Don’t wait. Often, that’s exactly what the employee’s attorney is hoping. Instead, investigate and reach a conclusion ...

You would think it’s common sense, but apparently it’s not. While viewing pornography may be perfectly legal in one’s home (with some exceptions, such as that containing images of children), such viewing has absolutely no place at work. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals consistently has ruled “the mere presence of pornography in a workplace can alter the ‘status’ of women” and may be objective proof of a hostile environment ...

The following sample policy was excerpted from The Book of Company Policies, published by HR Specialist, © 2010. Edit for your organization’s purposes. _____________________________ “The facilities to provide Internet access at ZYX come at considerable resource cost and commitment. The Internet’s vast informational and educational capabilities can help us all do a better job, but […]

You must be prepared to show that you treated each and every employee equally when it comes to discipline. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the same situation as, in the following case, an employer that couldn’t recall how it had disciplined a white employee for violating an attendance rule, but fired a black employee for the same infraction ...

Opening arguments began in December in the federal civil trial of two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents based in Philadelphia who are suing the U.S. Justice Department for reverse discrimination. George Marthers III and Jude McKenna, who are white, allege black former supervisors harassed them so severely that both men had to take medical leave ...

Jane Roberti worked as a loan officer for Allentown’s Becker Subaru. Her live-in boyfriend, Mark Wynne, also worked there as a salesman. Roberti’s responsibilities included funneling Internet sales leads to the salespeople. When employees began to complain that Roberti routed the best leads to Wynne, management counseled both to keep their personal and professional lives separate ...

Sometimes managers want to handle problems themselves and not involve the HR department or others in the chain of command. But telling employees to keep quiet and not complain to higher-ups actually may amount to retaliation. Threats and warnings, standing alone with no actual consequences, may be “materially adverse employment actions” when retaliation is the charge ...

A white environmental services attendant recently sued St. Vincent Carmel Hospital, claiming racial discrimination and retaliation. He was fired for violating the hospital’s anti-violence policy ...

Q. At a recent office get-together, two members of my staff announced they were officially dating. Our company has a strict policy that prohibits dating between a supervisor and a direct subordinate, but our handbook is silent as to relationships such as this one between co-workers. Are there any steps I should take to protect the company from liability? ...