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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The ADA requires employers and employees to discuss potential reasonable disability accommodations with each other. However, the bottom line is this: The employer gets to choose which accommodation to implement, not the employee. As long as the chosen accommodation is reasonable, the employee’s desires take no precedence.

Just because a fired worker and his boss are of different races doesn’t mean discrimination has occurred.
Never indefinitely delay addressing a disability accommodation request. In fact, you should make a decision as quickly as possible so the employee can’t accuse you of failure to accommodate through inaction.
The EEOC achieved record results in its enforcement efforts during fiscal year 2015, which ended Sept. 30.
A single, isolated comment—especially if the speaker isn’t a co-worker or supervisor—isn’t sufficient grounds for alleging discrimination. Complaining about it doesn’t amount to protected activity.
Consider this central Pennsylvania case that is going to trial soon. A judge has concluded that not only can a man be sexually harassed, but he may be due punitive damages for his suffering.
Dallas District Attorney Susan Hawk, who admits she has a history of mental illness and drug abuse, checked herself into an inpatient treatment facility. Now, she maintains she is back on the job and fully capable of performing it. Not everyone agrees.
Sensitive workers may perceive everyday interactions as harassment. But courts don’t measure whether workplace hostility exists based on that employee’s subjective assessment of the situation. Instead, a court will focus on how a hypothetical “reasonable” employee would view it.

Employees who complain to HR or management about alleged discrimination or harassment are engaging in protected activity and can’t be punished for complaining. But what if the employee can’t summon the courage to complain and, instead, sends someone else? Is sending a spokesperson to complain also protected activity? A federal court says “yes,” at least when it’s the employee’s spouse who takes action.

Are you settling a discrimination case with termination and a back or front pay agreement? Be sure to work with counsel to find the most effective way to apply the payment. Done properly, a back pay or front pay lump sum may mean the employee can’t collect unemployment compensation payments.
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