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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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? ...

It takes just one low-level manager or frontline supervisor to create havoc in the workplace. These people set the tone of workplace communications, and if that tone has sexual content, others are likely to follow the lead. That’s one good reason to make sure you do more than lecture on sexual harassment. Instead—especially if branch offices are located away from headquarters—HR should make spot visits to see whether anything is amiss ...

In the age of e-mail, instant messaging and other written but ephemeral forms of communication, it’s easy to be caught off guard when an employee claims sexual harassment via the company computers. If an employee says she’s received hundreds of sexually explicit e-mails from co-workers or others associated with the company, could you prove her wrong? ...

When an employee sues you for employment discrimination, it’s natural to want to learn more about the person suing you and whether he may have sued others. That information is readily available. But don’t expect that even a fraud conviction related to false employment claims will get the case tossed out ...

There’s an easy way to avoid losing a discrimination lawsuit stemming from disciplining an employee who breaks company rules: Make absolutely certain you discipline fairly and evenhandedly, meting out punishment regardless of race, sex, nationality or other protected characteristics. Conduct regular audits of all disciplinary actions to make certain no one gets a free pass ...

A Mexican woman has been granted permission to serve as the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against a company that recruits and places temporary agricultural workers on farms and other agricultural operations in North Carolina and other states. The woman claims that International Labor Management Corporation purposely placed women in less lucrative temporary visa programs than men ...

Both the ADA and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination make it illegal to retaliate against disabled employees who engage in what the law calls “protected activity.” Filing an EEOC complaint, testifying against an employer or cooperating in a government investigation are protected activities. So are more informal activities, such as discussing accommodations with a supervisor or HR ...

Sometimes, a problem employee claims harassment as a way to protect herself from legitimate discipline. When that happens, it may be tempting to ignore such claims on the presumption they are bogus. It may be tempting to dismiss her complaints as much ado about nothing. But you’ll ignore her at your own peril ...

If, like many employers, you want to avoid the risk of a jury trial or a judge’s unpredictable decision, you may have considered requiring employees to agree to use arbitration to settle workplace disputes. But if the agreement doesn’t conform to New Jersey’s contract laws, you may end up spending time and money defending the agreement instead of arbitrating disputes ...