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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To lower the risk of a failure-to-promote lawsuit, consider creating a cutoff point on your internal promotion list. For example, instead of considering all 15 potential candidates for an open position, consider just the top three. The disappointed candidates lower on the list will have a tougher time getting to court ...

Applicants from other countries or who were educated abroad pose special problems for HR professionals. For example, can you be sure their education and training are as good as that of U.S.-educated applicants? One way to find out is to require a credentialing company to certify the applicant’s educational equivalence. But if you go that route, make sure you inform applicants about the requirement ...

As baby boomers age, more Americans say they expect to keep working longer than their parents did. That means more older job applicants—and more age-related lawsuits. Defend against this coming onslaught by taking extra care to document your disciplinary decisions to make sure age isn’t a factor ...

When it comes to settling New Jersey employment lawsuits on the eve of trial, be forewarned: Understand all the terms of the agreement before you tell the court the matter is settled. Don’t expect to come back to court for a do-over when you later can’t agree on some of the terms. In New Jersey, a deal is a deal—even if it isn’t in writing ...

In May 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Inc., a case that limits the potential liability of employers in wage discrimination claims brought under Title VII. New Jersey employers should bear in mind that Ledbetter was decided under Title VII—the federal statute governing employment discrimination claims. Although New Jersey state courts often look to federal decisions for guidance, it is uncertain how Ledbetter will be applied in a state court action involving the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ...

Q. The company I work for has had an employee dress code since the company was incorporated. Recently, a male employee began coming to work dressed as a woman. His supervisor asked me if this violates the dress code. If so, can the supervisor require the male employee to dress according to the dress code for males and discipline him if he doesn’t? ...

Although employers can’t guarantee a stress-free work environment, it makes sense to eliminate as much unpleasantness as possible. That means establishing and enforcing “no hazing” and “no public argument” rules. Urge supervisors and co-workers who act like bullies to clean up their acts ...

The California Supreme Court has made it easier for employers to comply with the disability discrimination provisions of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The court ruled that employees must prove they are qualified for the jobs they seek, not the other way around ...

You probably heard about last month’s big $11.6 million sexual harassment verdict against former basketball star and New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas. The bad news: Your employees heard about it, too … and it planted a seed in their minds. Will they see your organization’s pockets as the path to a similar windfall? ...

Q. We’re having tardiness and absenteeism issues with our employees. If we place an employee on probation for an excessive number of times tardy and days absent, can we require no absences at all during the probation period? —C.V., New Jersey ...