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.

Under the Indiana Civil Rights Act, it’s unlawful to subject people to differential treatment based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry. The law prohibits discrimination in education, employment, access to public conveniences and accommodations, as well as real estate transactions ...

A federal jury has awarded a Tyson Foods supervisor $1 million, illustrating again that preventing racial discrimination is much cheaper than trying to litigate your way out of a preventable lawsuit. Take this opportunity to remind managers that what they say does matter.

Faced with a performance problem, too many employers seize on the first reason to discharge an employee instead of thoroughly reviewing the person’s work and documenting any problems in his or her file. That’s fine, if the firing rationale stands up to scrutiny and the employee doesn’t sue. But if the employee claims some form of discrimination, you want the reason you chose to be rock-solid ...

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 ...

As if you don’t have enough to worry about. Now a federal court interpreting California law has concluded that supervisors and managers may be personally liable if they don’t provide a harassment-free work environment or if they harass a disabled employee ...

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 ...

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 ...