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 trap that may catch you unaware unless you regularly compare jobs and who actually holds the positions. If two jobs are roughly comparable, but mostly women hold one of the jobs and mostly men hold the other and you pay one more than the other, you are asking for trouble ...

Some retail and service establishments strive to create an authentic experience for their customers. That may mean they seek out employees who can best create that experience. That “cultural authenticity” may be a bona fide occupational qualification, and rejecting applicants who don’t fit the mold may be legal. But don't go overboard and eliminate everyone who doesn't look or act authentic ...

Although Florida’s state whistle-blower law applies only to state government and state contractors, don’t believe you are above the law just because you are a private employer. Rather than ignore a complaint—and risk expensive litigation—you need to establish policies to investigate whistle-blower complaints ...

What seems like a joke to members of the majority can be deeply hurtful to members of a minority. These days, that’s a particular issue in areas with a large concentration of people of Middle Eastern heritage—such as Michigan. As the “war on terror” shows no signs of abating, it makes sense to remind managers and supervisors to stay away from any comments on ethnicity ...

Since 1979, Donna Smith had worked as a shipping and receiving clerk for Caro Carbide Corp., a carbide machine shop in Troy. From 1988 forward, Smith claims co-worker Timothy Sylver displayed pornographic photos and made lewd gestures and comments toward her at work ...

Civil court cases can cost employers large amounts of time and money to resolve. Increasingly, employers have embraced arbitration as a way to curb these costs. But before you have all employees sign arbitration agreements, be sure to consider all the costs. You may find that arbitration isn’t the cost-effective strategy you think it is ... 

Q. We don’t have a hotline for employees to call to complain about harassment, discrimination or retaliation. We have been considering one, but we are concerned about anonymous complaints. Should we set up one anyway? ...

Q. Our hiring process involves conducting background and reference checks. If an employee has a felony conviction within the past seven years, we automatically refuse employment. Any reason we should change our policy? ...

The only thing between your organization and a discriminatory discharge verdict is the HR office. An impartial and cool-headed HR professional must oversee the process every time an employee is terminated. Keep careful track of exactly how the decision-making process moves forward in every case, and insist that HR have the final word on termination ...

Sometimes, employers may want to maintain some flexibility to handle unique leave situations. For example, what would your organization do if a valued, loyal and long-term employee developed a terminal disease? Would you allow him a “leave of absence” with continued insurance coverage until his death to save his family from financial ruin? You can, if you are careful about exactly how you go about it ...

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