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 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.
According to a recent 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, when the alleged harassment comes from customers and others over whom the employer has limited control, the rules regarding co-worker harassment apply.
The fact that a worker may endure slights, insults or even plots to drive him out of the job aren’t necessarily the basis for liability. It’s up to the employee to prove a connection between incidents and something like his race, age, disability or other protected characteristic.
Because damages are unlimited in Pennsylvania common-law tort claims, disgruntled employees and their attorneys sometimes try to turn run-of-the-mill harassment cases into intentional-infliction-of-emotional-distress lawsuits. The payoff can be huge.
If you are receiving reports that a manager or supervisor is engaging in name-calling, look beyond the obvious problem. It just may be that discrimination is a pervasive problem. It’s your job to bring it to light before it’s too late.

Some things in life are certain. Like death and taxes, litigation follow­ing a firing after a discrimination complaint will happen. The reason: Judges are reluctant to toss out retaliation claims without first hearing all the evidence.

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