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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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You may think that what your employees do on their own time—at work or socially—is their business. That could be a big mistake. Your company culture may end up as evidence in a race discrimination lawsuit someday soon unless you do something about institutional and social segregation.
Four former servers at Woodland Hills’ Cables Restaurant will split a $5.7 million jury award. The ­servers who range in age from 49 to 70 claimed new management cleaned house in 2010 and replaced the workers with women in their 20s.
North Dakota-based Strad Oilfield Services will pay $65,000 in damages to resolve a disability discrimination charge filed with the EEOC.
While you may think it isn’t necessary because it seems so obvious, you must warn supervisors that making fun of any impairment is asking for trouble. Remind them that they must focus on performance when criticizing work, even if they believe that an impairment is affecting performance.
Former Pine Island Administrator Abraham Algadi has filed a complaint with the state Department of Human Rights, arguing that the town created a hostile work environment for him in the months leading up to his termination. Algadi alleges he suffered discrimination because of his Jordanian heritage.
The St. Louis Rams’ decision to draft openly gay football player Michael Sam could help advance Missouri legislation that would include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics under state law. So says Dara Strickland, an employment law attorney and president of the LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis.
Even if an internal discrimination complaint proves unfounded, you must still ensure that the em­­ployee who complained isn’t punished for doing so. Remind supervisors and the employee that you won’t tolerate any type of retaliation.
Here’s a good reason to make sure your supervisors aren’t targeting some employees for poor treatment: If they boast about their attitude outside of work, those statements may be used against them—and the company.
Here’s some advice on creating good disciplinary records: When employees break the same or similar rules but end up with different dis­cipline, make sure your records specify why you believed one deserved harsher punishment than another.
Q. My company was sued by a former employee for age discrimination under the California Fair Employ­­ment and Housing Act (FEHA). We’re settling the case and including a waiver of the right to proceed under FEHA. Do we need an ADEA waiver, too?
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