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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Employees are supposed to file EEOC and Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) complaints that fully explain the discrimination claims they’re making. The idea is to let employers know early on what the complaint is all about so that the case can be settled or sent on to court. But courts are lenient, sometimes bending over backward to allow a late claim based on general language in the EEOC or PHRC complaint ...

Pennsylvania employers beware: The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) and Title VII require immediate action as soon as you learn about possible sexual harassment by a supervisor. That’s true even if the victim doesn’t come forward. If you wait until she complains, it may be too late ...

Employers are legally obligated to maintain a safe work environment. When employees commit violent acts against co-workers or customers, employers can be held responsible through negligent-hiring and supervision lawsuits. Each year, roughly 1,000 people are workplace homicide victims. And research shows that killings are five to seven times more likely to occur at workplaces where guns are allowed ...

Mishandled confidential information can lead to lawsuits, hurt the morale of employees, damage their reputations in the workplace and threaten their jobs. That's why you need a clear policy for handling off-the-record conversations ...

When it comes to discipline, equal is better. Don’t treat one employee more harshly than you would another, but don’t shy away from punishing employees who deserve it either. The key is to track complaints and punishments so you can easily show that race, age, sex or some other protected characteristic had no influence on your disciplinary decisions ...

When you fire or otherwise discipline an employee for breaking a work rule, can you show he knew about the rule? What about his co-workers and supervisors? Did they interpret the rule the same way? If not, you may have a hard time justifying disciplining one employee for breaking the rule ...

New Jersey law provides more time than federal law for employees to sue their employers for discrimination. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) allows employees to make discrimination claims up to two years following termination, longer than under the federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. That means employees who miss their EEOC filing deadline for federal claims still can sue under state law ...

Sanofi-aventis U.S., the American branch of a French pharmaceutical group, has been hit with a class-action sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit. The four plaintiffs claim they were paid less and not promoted because of their gender. The women also say their bosses made unwelcome sexual comments and gestures, and management did not respond when they complained ...

You know you aren’t supposed to consider race in hiring decisions. And ideally your organization takes steps to ensure the hiring process is as color-blind as possible. But let’s face facts: Sometimes the person screening applications is going to know the job-seeker’s race (especially when a current employee seeks a promotion). Denying that fact won’t help you if an applicant who doesn’t get the job decides to sue—and it may actually hurt. The applicant can raise the denial as evidence of illegal motive or intent ...

California employees have a right to a work environment free of sexual harassment, and employers are obligated to prevent harassment. But that doesn’t mean that every comment, gesture or look that may be perceived as sexual can be considered harassment ...