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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Employers that adopt a proactive approach to stopping and preventing future racial hostility at work are best positioned to win hostile work environment lawsuits. Ignoring obvious signs of workplace trouble won’t make it go away and will only encourage further harassment.

Here’s an important reminder for employers when an employee alleges discrimination. Regardless of the merit of the original claim, remind supervisors they can’t retaliate.
Employees who complain about alleged discrimination are protected from retaliation—up to a point. Frivolous complaints don’t count.
Here’s a cautionary tale about tolerating a racially hostile comment, yet then agreeing that the comment was outrageous. Employers can’t have it both ways. Either the comment was grounds for discharge or it wasn’t really that severe.
Sometimes, when investigating serious charges against an employee, it’s best to temporarily suspend him. If you use this approach, always do so uniformly and apply the same rules to similarly situated workers. Don’t, for example, suspend some with pay and others without.
Courts are consistently hesitant to second-guess well-founded employment decisions. Of course, they won’t let you get away with discriminating or retaliating against an employee for filing an EEOC complaint or lawsuit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t discipline an employee if she needs prodding to meet your legitimate expectations.
MKB Construction has settled charges it retaliated against an employee in El Paso after he complained of sexual harassment on the job.
Employees who sue for age discrimination under the ADEA must prove that, if not for illegal age discrimination, their employer wouldn’t have taken an adverse employment action. That’s why, when age may be an issue, em­­ployers are better off having several good reasons for terminating the employee.
Under the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, employees who believe their paychecks reflect a discriminatory pay decision made years or even decades ago can still sue. But that principle doesn’t apply if an employee pursues a state pay discrimination claim under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.
A federal court has ruled that a two-year gap between an employee’s discrimination complaint and alleged retaliation is too long. Otherwise, employers could face retaliation claims years or even decades after resolving an original complaint.
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