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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On July 19, the University of California agreed to pay a former UC Berkeley women’s swim coach $3.5 million to settle her gender-discrimination claim. Karen Moe Humphreys, an Olympic gold medalist who was a 26-year employee of the university’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, argued that she was laid off while less qualified males were hired and retained without regard for the university’s seniority system ...

If you’ve been looking for definitive guidance on California’s Sexual Harassment Training Law (AB 1825), it’s finally here. The Fair Employment and Housing Commission issued final regulations implementing this first-in-the-nation law on April 23, and the Office of Administrative Law approved the regulations on July 18. The regulations include specific direction on the type, length and frequency of harassment training that California employers must provide to their employees ...

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act bars employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. In fact, the law clearly states, “Freedom from employment discrimination on account of sexual orientation is a civil right.” Make sure supervisors know: Comments about an employee’s sexual orientation simply aren’t appropriate in the workplace. They’ll lead to trouble ...

While you can encourage employees to follow certain Judeo-Christian values at work, such as cooperation, honesty and kindness, it’s never appropriate to require adherence to a particular religion or religious practices. Even if your organization’s leaders have strong religious beliefs, it must accommodate workers who don’t agree with that stance. That may mean excusing workers from retreats, prayer groups or other religious-based activities ...

Does your organization have a blanket policy of refusing to hire any applicant with a criminal record? If so, make sure you can explain exactly why. A recent Pennsylvania court ruling shows that across-the-board “no ex-cons” policies can quickly run into legal trouble unless you can prove the restriction for a specific position was “job-related and consistent with business necessity” ...

Q. We provide short-term disability leave to new mothers. Is there any reason we can’t run that leave concurrent with FMLA leave? —S.B., Washington ...

Q. We want to run paid time off concurrent with FMLA leave so employees don’t receive more than 12 weeks off (paid and unpaid combined). What if an employee says she’s taking vacation time, but we know it’s for medical tests? Can we force her to get a medical certification so we can subtract the paid vacation time? —L.L., Georgia ...

Parents vs. nonparents. Gen Y vs. Gen X and the baby boomers. In some workplaces, there’s growing tension over benefits inequality. HR better listen if employees complain that they're getting worse benefits than their co-workers. One solution: Paid time off banks can help calm discontent.

The EEOC is the first stop in a Title VII discrimination case, but not the last. Often, the agency will say there’s no case. Sometimes, however, it will issue a letter stating “determination that discrimination took place.” But that decision is by no means final. When the case goes to federal court, judges are free to ignore the EEOC’s determination ...

Rodney Sampson, co-founder and former CEO of Streaming Faith and its parent company, the Christian-media giant Multicast Media Technologies, has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the company alleging wrongful termination and race discrimination ...