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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Do you have an employee who grates on everyone’s nerves and makes unreasonable demands on subordinates? Are you afraid to discipline the employee because he or she belongs to a protected class (e.g., race, age, sex)? Fear no more! As long as you use a fair process to correct the employee’s shortcomings, chances are he or she won’t win a lawsuit ...

When it comes to sexual harassment under Ohio’s sex discrimination laws, a few days is all it takes to create a hostile work environment. Even if the harasser stops—instead turning critical and cold—the harassed employee may quit shortly after. Courts then will view the resignation as the effective equivalent of being fired in retaliation ...

When a former employee sues and you think the lawsuit is frivolous, resist the temptation to belittle or punish the employee by discussing the case. Small talk can mean a big payday for a former employee who finds out and files a defamation lawsuit. What’s more, you could be personally liable if a jury finds you acted vengefully or with ill will. The best advice: Don’t discuss pending lawsuits. If you say nothing, you can’t be accused of slander ...

Tom Ahl Buick prevailed in an age discrimination suit despite the fact that owner Tom Ahl told the plaintiff his Lima dealership was having a “youth movement.” He later demoted the 40-something plaintiff from his sales manager position and hired a 25-year-old former furniture salesman to take over ...

When it comes to discrimination, your best defense is treating everyone absolutely equally. And that’s tough to do without a central HR tracking system. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Make sure you note any problems (and praise) in each employee’s official file. Then, do regular audits—pulling out data on age, sex, national origin and race—to tabulate the types of problems and any discipline levied ...

Does your organization make important hiring and firing decisions by committee? That’s one way to counter possible bias by one individual. But be prepared to document how the group made the decision ...

The federal Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) requires employers to give older workers at least 21 days to consider the offer if any termination or severance-pay agreement asks them to give up their right to sue for age discrimination. But fortunately, once the case is in court, there’s no waiting period ...

If you think you can prevent employees from suing you directly by negotiating a union contract specifying that all employment disputes go to arbitration, think again. Even if the collective-bargaining agreement specifies that every employment-law dispute will be arbitrated, your employees still can go to state or federal court with their claims ...

There’s a new concern for managers and supervisors in New York state. Those who give out bad references or otherwise bad-mouth a former employee who claimed discrimination can be held personally liable for a conspiracy to retaliate ...

New York state law provides personal liability for workplace discrimination. Employees who aid and abet their employers in discriminatory acts may be sued personally and can lose their assets. But exactly what acts constitute “aiding and abetting”? ...

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