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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That’s what a dozen female Novartis employees, recently granted class-action certification in Manhattan federal court, will try to prove in their gender discrimination suit against the Maalox maker ...

A federal jury has awarded $100,000 for pain and suffering to a former director of special education for the Malverne School District, who claimed she was fired for reporting sexual harassment. The director lost her underlying sexual harassment suit, but prevailed on the wrongful-firing claim ...

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”? ...

Nothing generates paper like the hiring process, especially if it involves multiple interviews and committee meetings. What do you do with all that paper? If you destroy it, be prepared to show you do so routinely. Otherwise, a jury or judge may view the destruction as evidence you have something to hide ...

Is your organization going through a transition period marked by discharges and new hires? If so, take a quick look at your pre- and post-transition work force composition. If the diversity of your work force has changed dramatically, you may need to consider the possibility of a federal lawsuit hitting you next. If this sounds familiar, rethink your strategy before it’s too late ...

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