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.

North Carolina’s unemployment compensation fund, like that of many other states, provides temporary payments to employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. The program draws from a public policy that assumes “economic insecurity due to unemployment is a serious menace to the health, morals, and welfare of the people of this state” and the legislature is compelled to “lighten its burden [on] … the unemployed worker and his family.” North Carolina administers the law through its Employment Security Commission (ESC) (www.ncesc.com/) ...

The Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) is North Carolina’s super anti-discrimination law combining elements of several federal laws, including Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act, OSHA and USERRA. The Employment Discrimination Bureau in the state Department of Labor (www.nclabor.com/edb/edb.htm) enforces REDA ...

You have a robust sexual harassment  policy, and everyone from the lowest level employee to the company president knows how it works. But what happens if an employee tells a supervisor about possible harassment and then asks him or her not to take it up with HR? ...

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) case involving FedEx drivers. Employees in three states, including Florida, filed an ADEA suit against FedEx, citing policies designed to “drive out older workers” ...

Port St. Lucie has settled a race discrimination claim filed by a demoted meter reader for $60,000 and a promotion. The black woman filing the suit was a meter reader supervisor when she was called away for duty in the Army Reserve. Upon returning, she found she had been demoted and a white male now held her position ...

Dow Chemical Co., based in Midland, has announced it will adopt a cash-balance plan for new employees, making it the largest employer to do so since Congress passed legislation last year protecting new plans from age-discrimination lawsuits ...

Q. We are reviewing two employees for a promotion, one is 55 and the other is 45. We are concerned that if we select the younger employee, we will be charged with age discrimination. Are we safer selecting the older employee, assuming both candidates are qualified for the job? ...

If you have a disciplinary policy that dictates punishment for different infractions, make sure you thoroughly investigate each incident. That way, you’ll be better prepared to show why one employee received a lesser punishment than another. That rationale is crucial when it comes to a discrimination lawsuit. You must be prepared to show how thorough your investigation was and why you did what you did ...

Under Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), it’s direct evidence of discrimination if a supervisor or manager with hiring or firing power makes comments about an applicant’s or employee’s foreign accent. That’s why it’s crucial for HR to remind managers and supervisors to watch what they say ...

When it comes to sexual harassment, employers need a clear policy and a process that allows employees to come forward with claims. That's really the only way an organization can protect itself. But what if an employee who thinks he’s being harassed ignores your policy and acts alone to contact the alleged harasser anonymously? If this “self-help” seems to threaten the alleged harasser, you can punish the employee without worrying about liability ...