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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Do you hand out periodic bonuses to employees? If so, be sure you can clearly describe how you calculate bonuses and what em­­ployees need to do to receive one. If you must later terminate an employee—and claim poor performance was the reason—she may point to the bonus as proof you fired her for discriminatory reasons.
Many organizations serve customers who speak a language other than English, and require em­ployees to have specific bilingual skills. If that describes your organization, make sure you can defend the language requirement if you’re sued.

Some employees do well for years, only to have their performance slip. There may come a time when you have to let the employee go. But what about all those glowing evaluations from years past? If you can prove that the employee’s performance has genuinely declined, those earlier evaluations won’t cause any trouble in court.

The company that operates a nursing home in Charlotte will pay a former employee $50,000 to settle charges it failed to reasonably accommodate her depression.

Employees who must miss work because of religious restrictions are entitled to reasonable accommodations. While employers must look for sensible solutions, that doesn’t mean they have to redesign their workforce, buy additional equipment or otherwise change the way they do business if it would be too expensive or cumbersome.

Sometimes, an employee asks for schedule changes, extra hours or even permission to work from home now and then. If you grant such requests, track them carefully.
Q. Can vulgar language and jokes, etc., be considered harassment in the workplace if nobody actually files a complaint?
After the EEOC concluded that a female partner in the Philadelphia office of the Greenberg Traurig law firm had been underpaid by $50,000, she decided to get even.
Absent a union contract or other established rule, you don’t have to use seniority to decide which em­­ployee should be laid off. You can use any objective measure.
No doubt your company has a sexual harassment policy in place. However, it may have been drafted long ago and may have been long ignored by supervisors and subordinates alike. If you suspect this is the case, it’s time to dust off the document, review it and start making sure all your supervisors and managers take it seriously.
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