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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Life can be unfair and the workplace is no exception. Sadly, employers can’t stamp out all unfairness.
A Greensboro-area Bojangle’s restaurant has agreed to pay $33,426 to a former female employee after she was harassed, retaliated against and fired for refusing her manager’s advances.
Good news for employers and supervisors worried about whether the Genetic Information Non­dis­­crimi­­na­tion Act expands individual liability and allows employees direct access to court. The answer is no.
Some government agencies and utilities have special-duty assignments—units that are called out in emergencies or during busy times. While serving on such a team may be prestigious, not being selected isn’t usually grounds for a discrimination lawsuit.
Is your sexual harassment policy up-to-date? If it has been gathering dust and is largely ignored, you are creating possible co-worker sexual harassment liability.
A federal court has sidestepped the question of whether workplace discrimination based on participation in an interracial relationship is illegal under the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act.
Some people claim they are ex­­tremely sensitive to chemicals and that their condition is a disability that must be accommodated under the ADA. Employers then have no choice but to start the interactive accommodations process. But if the list of chemicals is long and if it’s impossible to remove them from the work environment, you can try your best and may still have to admit defeat.
The EEOC filed only 122 discrimination lawsuits against employers in fiscal year 2012, less than half the number it did in 2011, says the Seyfarth Shaw law firm. They attributed the decline to a series of court rulings in which the EEOC was slapped down for “shooting first, aiming later.”
Some employees are hypersensitive to any criticism, even if it is constructive. That won’t turn a weak discrimination lawsuit into a winner. For example, if the employee receives a largely positive performance review that lists some areas in need of improvement, chances are the court will toss the case fast.
Surprise! Some of your supervisors may be biased—something they would probably deny if confronted. If an employee complains that her boss is prejudiced, don’t just accept the manager’s protestations of innocence as the last word. Investigate instead.
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