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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You’ve heard a rumor that one of your employees is looking for or has already accepted another job. Then you call him into a meeting to discuss the matter. You ask whether the rumor is true. That’s when the employee admits the job hunt, but hits you with the reason: He claims the work environment is so hostile that he has no choice but to look. What’s your next step? Do you fire him since he’s looking for other work? Or do you tell him you will investigate his claims and then follow up? ...

Employees who complain of harassment may actually be experiencing a personality conflict. Circumstances that lead someone to see harassment based on race, disability or gender may be nothing more than the result of difficulty getting along with others. If your internal investigation reveals no real discrimination, you may be tempted to move the feuding parties as far away from each other as possible. But that may backfire, especially if the person you transfer is the one who complained of discrimination in the first place ...

It's well-established that employees who claim they have been subjected to a hostile work environment but don’t take advantage of their employer’s complaint process won’t get a chance to take their cases to court. Ever since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the Faragher and Burlington Industries cases, employers can use their complaint processes as a defense against co-worker harassment. But what about under state laws, such as the New York State Human Rights Law? ...

A lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court in July describes a lurid and hostile scene at Morgan Stanley. A former client-services associate in the Melville, Long Island, office alleges her boss, a broker, stuck his hand up her skirt, stole underwear from her gym bag, sent her offensive notes and suggested they have sex. The lawsuit is the latest in a string of sex-bias suits that have already cost the firm $100 million ...

No single federal law governs job applications.

Several states are debating legislation that would make “workplace bullying” an illegal practice, like discrimination or harassment. Passage of such bills would increase your liability risks and force you to referee personality disputes. Here's the status of the legislation, and how your organization should respond ...

Religious discrimination can take many forms, including, apparently the forced singing of "Happy Birthday" to that embarrassed-looking guy sitting with his buddies in the booth by the window.

Three female employees of the Crazy Horse Steak House in New Oxford will share $40,750 for harassment allegedly committed by owner Nicholas Mavros. The women claimed Mavros commented on their breasts, asked what color underwear they were wearing, invited them to come to a motel to have sex, touched them against their wishes and even put his hands down an employee’s pants ...

A female temporary worker on a long-term assignment for NJ-based Philips Lighting Co. won a $164,850 verdict for gender discrimination against the company. The woman, who worked in the warehouse of the company’s Mountaintop, PA, plant, claimed the company offered full-time positions only to male temps. She asked about full-time employment several times and was told she was next in line. Instead, she was fired ...

Not every allegation of sexual harassment is well-founded, and some employees may be overly sensitive. That’s why your investigation should consider all sides, including the alleged victim’s reaction and treatment of the alleged harasser. As the following case shows, a thorough investigation may reveal that the problem is with the alleged victim’s perception and his or her response to the alleged harassment ...