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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The EEOC has issued new enforcement guidance concerning disparate treatment of workers with caregiving responsibilities—or “family-responsibility discrimination.” The guidelines are designed to help determine whether a particular employment decision is discriminatory. Family-responsibility discrimination is not a new type of discrimination, but rather an application of the existing discrimination laws to a situation that is drawing increasing attention ...

Developing, implementing and enforcing a comprehensive anti-harassment policy is vital to create a safe and comfortable work environment and minimize the potential damage from harassment lawsuits. But having an anti-harassment policy is not enough; the policy must be implemented, promulgated and consistently enforced. Training employees and managers on harassment law and the employer’s harassment policy is an important part of an employer’s defense against a harassment claim—whether the alleged harassment was by a supervisor or a co-worker ...

Having a clear, comprehensive and responsive harassment policy in place—and advertising its existence—is the best way to prevent a hostile work environment. Not coincidentally, that’s also the best way to avoid legal trouble. Not only can a policy prevent harassment by letting everyone know what’s unacceptable, but it also ensures employees who believe they have been victims of harassment can’t claim ignorance of the available remedies ...

Employers can’t retaliate against employees for filing discrimination claims. But that doesn’t mean you have to treat such employees with kid gloves. Just tell managers and supervisors to apply the “smell test” to any proposed change to the complaining employee’s work assignments ...

Unlike several other forms of discrimination—such as discrimination based on perceived disability—being mistaken for a member of a religious group and then being discriminated against based on that mistaken association isn’t illegal ...

Mark Pasternak, of Buffalo, a former youth aide for the Office of Child and Family Services, won a $150,000 verdict for discrimination he suffered nearly a decade ago. Pasternak said, “They called it reverse racism, but for me, I thought all along it was just plain racism” ...

In a term that will be dominated by cases concerning Guantanamo detainees and the power of the Executive branch, the U.S. Supreme Court will also hear an important case involving employment discrimination.

Millions of Americans have diabetes, and millions more have it but don’t know it. But with new medications and careful diet, most diabetics can control their condition and lead largely normal lives. That has implications for how employers handle their ADA obligations ...

Sometimes, it seems easier to just make an accommodation than argue about whether the employee requesting one is really disabled. But does making the accommodation mean you agree the employee is disabled? The answer is no. If the employee comes back asking for even more accommodations, you still can challenge her status.

The ADA makes it illegal to discriminate against employees because of their “association” with disabled people. But what about disciplining an employee for taking time off to care for the disabled person? According to a recent Pennsylvania case, that’s perfectly OK—as long as FMLA leave is not involved ...