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.

A California Superior Court jury recently awarded a city firefighter $6.2 million in a lawsuit claiming race discrimination, sex discrimination, harassment and retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act ...

The EEOC recently issued enforcement guidance declaring that disparate treatment of employees who care for children, parents or other family members violates federal law. “Disparate treatment” generally means an employer intentionally treated employees differently because of a protected factor such as race, gender, age or—in this case—their need to care for family members ...

Remind supervisors, managers and HR staff: Don’t brush off or make light of sexual harassment complaints. Doing so can just add more fuel to the fire. When employees are ignored, they may begin to see every slight that comes their way—getting the cold shoulder at meetings or missing out on promotions—as retaliation for voicing their concerns about sexually hostile behavior. And that can make them much more likely to file lawsuits against your company ...

When it comes to determining employee wrongdoing and setting punishment, it’s essential to use a  complete and independent investigative process. Otherwise, the company can wind up being responsible if it turns out that a supervisor who was “out to get” an employee—perhaps in retaliation for filing a discrimination claim— trumped up performance problems or other employee deficiencies ...

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s known mental disabilities. Under FEHA, something as simple as a new employee telling her manager that she has a learning disability and had taken special education classes triggers the employer’s responsibility to consider accommodations ...

Don’t fire an employee for cross-dressing or allow co-workers to harass a female worker who acts masculine until you understand your potential liability under the increasing number of “gender-identity discrimination” laws. Such laws typically prevent discrimination against workers or applicants because they don’t conform to the stereotypes of how a man or woman looks, lives or acts ...

When an employee says no to the sexual images posted in co-workers’ workstations and to their sexually laced comments, your company had better listen … and act. It shouldn’t debate over “how much” porn is acceptable. As a recent lawsuit shows, even if an employee initially tolerates a sexually charged workplace, she can drop the lawsuit hammer at any time ...

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? ...