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 can’t prevent all sexual har­­assment, but you can do plenty to avoid liability when it does happen, at least when the harasser is a co-worker. Start with a clear anti-harassment policy, and make sure everyone under­­stands it.
Pushed to do more with less, many employers are asking employees to work longer hours. That can cause workers to lose sleep and may even result in diagnoses of insomnia. But not everyone who is sleep deprived and takes medication to sleep is disabled and entitled to reasonable accommodations, such as a shorter workday.
A court has OK’d a trial for a mentally ill worker who was turned down when he asked to be transferred to another supervisor. The man blamed his subsequent discharge on a failure to accommodate.
A federal jury has awarded two former employees of Concord trucking firm A.C. Widenhouse more than $243,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The EEOC had filed the suit on behalf of two black em­­ployees who complained of pervasive bigotry and harassment at work.
Managers are responsible for stopping harassing behavior about which they know or should have known. This means that they can’t wait for an employee to file a complaint with them. These steps should be taken in response to a harassment situation.
Some older workers hear “slow” and immediately assume that’s code for “old.” But sometimes, slow just means slow.
An Oklahoma company has agreed to settle the first EEOC lawsuit ever filed alleging violations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
The ADA doesn’t cover everyone who has any kind of medical problem. Even something like complete deafness in one ear may not be enough to make an employee disabled.
Many HR professionals spend time agonizing over whether to fire someone they believe broke a rule warranting discharge. Could they have been wrong about the facts? Relax. There’s no need to second-guess yourself endlessly. Instead, conduct a prompt and thorough investigation and make a decision.
Q. We have an employee who was out on workers’ comp and has recently returned to work part time. (She is still collecting partial workers’ comp benefits.) Can we adjust her vacation and personal leave time to reflect the limited hours she’s working, or is she entitled to the full amount of days?
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