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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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 ...

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 ...

Can employees sue for a company practice that was perfectly lawful when it was implemented but has since become illegal? Yes, according to a recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case in which employees complained that a company policy didn’t give them full-service credit toward their retirement benefits during their pregnancy leave ...

Under Title VII’s sexual harassment provisions, employers have few defenses if supervisors harass subordinates to the point that there’s a hostile work environment. But if the employer has an effective and well-designed complaint process that promises relief, it can reduce its liability—usually even if the harassed employee doesn’t take advantage of that process ...

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 ...

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 ...

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