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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No employer is immune from employee lawsuits. But there is a lot you can do to lessen the impact of lawsuits that do occur—before they cost huge expenditures of time, effort and money. One of the best ways to ensure the quick dismissal of frivolous claims is to have information at your fingertips, especially disciplinary data ...

Employees who retire to avoid facing internal disciplinary charges can’t turn around and claim they were constructively discharged. That’s why employers might want to consider offering retirement in such cases as an option in lieu of discipline ...

Technically, favoring friends and family members for jobs and giving them plum assignments isn’t illegal. But if nepotism results in an all or mostly white work force, applicants or employees from other protected categories (e.g., race, gender, national origin) can still sue, claiming illegal discrimination ...

Difficult employees may be sensitive to perceived discrimination—especially if they also happen to be members of a protected class such as race, sex or national origin. They may think they have to work harder and appear smarter than others. If they lose a plum assignment, that may be enough to spur a discrimination lawsuit. That’s one reason you should carefully document how you handle easily bruised egos ...

We all would like to believe harassment and discrimination can’t happen where we work. Of course, we’re dreaming if we do. Ordinary people sometimes fall back on old stereotypes or react strongly to newly perceived dangers by inappropriately striking out at a group or nationality. Fortunately for employers, isolated acts of harassment, if stopped dead in their tracks, won’t come back to haunt them years later ...

Because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that employees must make wage discrimination claims right away, it’s more likely than ever that employees who find out they are making less than a newcomer of a different race, sex or national origin will seek legal counsel. That’s why you must be prepared to explain each and every wage difference with solid business-related reasons ...

Employers are generally free to transfer employees where their skills can be best utilized. Of course, some employees resist such moves, especially if these actions are perceived as undesirable transfers or even demotions. That’s why, for every transfer, you should make a clear assessment of who has what skills and talents ...

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has just released a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for immediate use and a new M-274, Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9 ...

If there’s one situation in which the HR function really earns its keep, it’s when an employer faces the prospect of having to discharge an employee. Sometimes—if a subordinate has a legitimate complaint against the supervisor, for example—the supervisor harbors illegal retaliatory motives. That’s when it’s best to have an independent decision-maker involved ...

Many discrimination lawsuits are the direct result of poor performance appraisal processes. A supervisor who is eager to maintain a cordial and productive workplace may hold back on legitimate criticism to avoid rocking the boat. This tactic can backfire badly once a new supervisor begins enforcing productivity rules and downgrades an employee previously rated “stellar.” If that employee is also a member of a protected class, look out ...