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.

Q. If we let some employees in a department return to work in a light-duty capacity, can we deny other employees that same option? We need to do this because the department no longer can operate properly with half its staff on medical leave or limited to light duty due to medical conditions. The union contract says that when an employee is eligible for medical leave, six months must pass before we may terminate the employee. —D.W., Illinois

Conventional wisdom holds that employers won't face strict scrutiny if they fire employees who aren't meeting performance expectations during their probationary period. Conventional wisdom is wrong, at least when it comes to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ...

Even though some provisions of the new landmark pension law don't take effect for 16 months, HR professionals need to start educating themselves immediately. The changes amount to the most sweeping reforms of pension law in more than 30 years ...

Image is everything, as the saying goes. But be extra careful that your pursuit of a certain work-force image doesn’t result in the weeding out of legally protected employees (females, minorities, older workers, etc.) ...

If your HR job includes evaluating claims of sexual harassment and hostile environment, it’s a good idea to approach investigations from two separate but related angles ...

Q. Are all employers required to have affirmative action plans? —T.S., Maryland

If you've ever wondered whether allowing an employee to take medical leave will tie your hands if it comes time to challenge that employee's disability claim, take heart. Just because you didn't ask for medical proof of disability once, that doesn't mean you can't later ...

Q. We're a small business (just eight employees) and haven't laid anyone off. But business is slow and we need to restructure. We have an employee who has worked here part time (12 hours per week) for 25 years. She is 65 years old. We have one other part-timer (10 hours per week) who has worked here just one year. We'd like to lay off both part-time employees and keep the full-time employees. Can we do that? —P.U., Georgia

If economic conditions force you to downsize, be prepared for lawsuits. That's especially true if no employees stand out as obvious poor performers who should be canned. In such cases, articulate that you have no choice but to fire "the worst of the best" ...

Casting admiring glances or making other such flirtatious gestures toward a co-worker isn't sexual harassment under the Florida Civil Rights Act. That law doesn't require employers to guarantee that employees won't ever look at each other in a way perceived as a "come-on" ...