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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The ADA makes it illegal to discriminate against employees because of their “association” with disabled people. But what about disciplining an employee for taking time off to care for the disabled person? According to a recent Pennsylvania case, that’s perfectly OK—as long as FMLA leave is not involved ...

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 ...

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 ...

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