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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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A school guidance counselor is suing the New York City Department of Education after she was fired after some long-ago photos of her modeling lingerie surfaced on the Internet. Her lawsuit claims discrimination and wrongful termination.
Genie Temporary Service in La Salle will be closing its doors soon, but not before paying $80,000 to a former temp who the EEOC says was a victim of disability discrimination.
WRS Compass will pay $2.75 million to settle an EEOC racial discrimination and association lawsuit filed on behalf of workers at the environmental cleanup company’s facility in Lake Calumet.
An employee’s casual remark to HR can lay the groundwork for a retaliation claim if the comment could be interpreted as objecting to some form of discrimination. That’s good reason to train HR staff to report all comments and consider them as protected activity.

Smart employers don’t leave it up to a direct supervisor to manage ADA reasonable accommodation. Instead, they work out a system that requires HR’s oversight. Otherwise, a boss with a grudge could set up a disabled employee to fail—and set the table for a costly ADA lawsuit.

If you are a public employer committed to discouraging sexual har­­assment, make sure your supervisory training covers the topic. In particular, ensure that supervisors know they aren’t immune from liability if they harass a subordinate.
The EEOC is increasingly investigating claims of discrimination by visiting employer workplaces, rather than conducting investigations via the phone and mail, according to attorney Neshesba Kittling. The EEOC’s goal: expand investigations of single charges into companywide class actions.
No matter which way the Court rules in Vance v. Ball State, it will have a major impact on Title VII litigation. The floodgates could spring open, inviting more employee lawsuits. But a decision in Ball State’s favor would be a huge win for employers.

Do you have an employee who just doesn’t seem capable of doing his job? If you document the shortcomings, you can create a special test designed to measure improvement. Just be sure to provide appropriate training materials as part of your effort.

Sometimes, customers or clients make inappropriate remarks. How managers respond to those comments is important. Put on the spot, they may be at a loss for words. That may not be ideal, but it isn’t enough to create liability for the employer.

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