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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Jewel Food Stores settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with four female employees for $200,000, but the meat department manager who spawned the suit has had a surprising shelf life ...

Four white part-time firefighters have sued the village of Dolton for racial discrimination after the town’s fire department promoted two black firefighters to full-time positions over white candidates with better qualifications. The plaintiffs claim Dolton Fire Chief Jerry McCullough told them, “If you’re not black, you’re not getting hired.” ...

Citing the toxicity of secondhand smoke, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 500, the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, into law on July 23.  The law takes effect Jan. 1 and requires employers to provide smoke-free workplaces for all employees. The new state law does not mean employers can ignore local anti-smoking ordinances. Municipalities may still enact smoking bans that are tougher than state law, but all Illinois jurisdictions must meet the new state standards when the law takes effect ...

When it comes to sexual harassment, employers need a clear policy and a process that allows employees to come forward with claims. That's really the only way an organization can protect itself. But what if an employee who thinks he’s being harassed ignores your policy and acts alone to contact the alleged harasser anonymously? If this “self-help” seems to threaten the alleged harasser, you can punish the employee without worrying about liability ...

The success of your organization depends on hiring the right people. You spend a lot of time and effort determining the company’s needs and designing job descriptions that meet those needs. Don’t let a potential discrimination lawsuit ruin all that hard work. Instead, make the hiring process as transparent as possible ...

When an employee claims discrimination, HR should make sure that employee isn’t retaliated against. But retaliation is more than lost promotions, discharge or demotions. Retaliation can be any employer-initiated action that would deter a reasonable person from complaining. That’s why it’s crucial for HR to let supervisors and managers know they shouldn’t change anything about the employee’s working conditions without HR approval ...

Pregnant Texas employees are protected from discrimination under the Texas Commission of Human Rights Act (TCHRA). The TCHRA prohibits sex discrimination and makes it an “unlawful employment practice if because of … sex … the employer discharges an individual.” It also defines sex discrimination to include “discrimination because of or on the basis of pregnancy.” ...

Performance evaluations are important tools to help employers gauge whether employees are performing at expected levels. They can help organizations spot talent and leadership potential, while identifying areas where employees need extra training and support. Evaluations also can protect employers from frivolous lawsuits filed by employees who claim they’ve been demoted, fired or otherwise unfairly treated when the real reason was poor performance ...

Do you have an employee who doesn’t seem to be getting along with anyone? Has he complained about discrimination or some other supposed wrongdoing? If so, document the problems. If you don’t, you create legal risks ...

In North Carolina, it's not just sexual harassment lawsuits brought under federal law that you have to worry about. Your organization could face state tort law claims, such as “intentional infliction of emotional distress” or “negligent supervision” if an employee’s behavior is extreme enough and management doesn’t take steps to stop it ...

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