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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Employees who have to work in a hostile work environment may have a hard time doing their jobs well. When resulting poor performance leads management to fire someone, expect trouble. Your best bet is to address any hint at a hostile work environment right away.

The DOJ has reached a settlement with the city of Corpus Christi, resolving claims that the city police department’s hiring test violated Title VII. The DOJ charged that from 2005 to 2011, the police depart­­ment used a physical abilities test that unlawfully screened out female applicants for entry-level police officer positions.
Here’s an important reminder for anyone who is authorized to receive internal discrimination complaints: Always mark the exact date of every complaint in case the complaint is used later as the basis for an employee’s retaliation claim.
Q. One of our good customers—a man—insists on doing business only with the men on our staff. When approached by one of the women in our company, he tells her, “I need to deal with one of the guys.” Can we get into trouble for this if we bend to his wishes?
Embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen has fired her Georgia attorneys and called in the big guns—including famed Hollywood attorney-to-the-stars Patricia Glaser—to help salvage her reputation and media empire.
While workplace romances can cause all kinds of problems, it isn’t necessarily illegal discrimination if a supervisor favors his girlfriend. That’s true even if others feel they are being passed over or otherwise treated poorly because of the affair.
The EEOC is suing Presbyterian Healthcare Associates in Charlotte, alleging it violated the ADA when it refused to hire a phlebotomist with a creaky knee.

One of the easiest ways for an em­­ployee to win a lawsuit against his employer is to allege retaliation. That’s because retaliation is anything that would dissuade a reasonable employee from complaining in the first place. Fortunately, some courts are becoming more skeptical about retaliation lawsuits.

Back in December 2011, the operator of a Dairy Queen restaurant in Winston-Salem’s Hanes Mall agreed to settle an EEOC lawsuit involving a teen worker who claimed she was retaliated against for complaining about sexual harassment. But nothing happened, so a year and a half later, the EEOC decided to up the ante.
Here’s an important reminder for senior executives: If an employee says she will sue for discrimination unless her evaluation is changed, don’t punish her supervisor if he refuses to go along. That could amount to retaliation for protected activity—meaning you could have two lawsuits on your hands.
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