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 key issue in most race discrimination cases: different treatment for people of different races. A court recently ruled that it wasn’t protected activity when a black employee complained that one black job applicant had been subjected to greater scrutiny than another black applicant.
Ever since the United States Supreme Court decided its first same-sex harassment case, employers have struggled to define what is illegal same-sex harassment and what’s not. Now the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has provided some employer guidance in a case involving male-on-male harassment.
The EEOC sometimes tries to test out new retaliation theories to trip up employers. Its most recent attempt didn’t work.
Here’s a heads-up about a possible new form of sex discrimination litigation. A father who can’t work overtime because he has child-care responsibilities may have a case if he can show that mothers were treated more favorably than fathers when it comes to flexible schedules. So ruled a federal court in New York.
The EEOC recently brought and settled its first lawsuit alleging employer misuse of a person’s genetic information. This was made illegal under the 2009 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
The NYPD has agreed to a settlement in a disability discrimination case filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. An applicant for a school crossing guard position had filed the complaint and later sued, alleging that the NYPD required a physical examination im­­mediately upon completion of a job application.
Even when two or more employees break the same rule, each may not deserve the same punishment. But if you don’t document why each case is different, a judge or jury could decide that discrimination was your motive for punishing one employee more severely.
Respond ASAP with swift discipline the first time someone levels sexual or anti-female taunts at an employee. Otherwise, the problem will grow. You may not realize something is wrong until the victim quits and sues.

Hiring gets harder when a dozen or more applicants meet your minimum requirements. How do you pick the best candidate and reduce the chance of unhappy job-seekers filing discrimination lawsuits? The best approach is an organized one.

One of the best ways to fight hostile work environment claims: a handbook with a strong sexual harassment policy that shows em­ployees exactly how they should report problems.
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