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.
The Affordable Care Act health care reform law requires employers to provide space for mothers to lactate. According to the latest available statistics, the DOL has cited a whopping 23 companies for failing to comply. What do the statistics mean? Either the lactation mandate is not yet widely known, but complaints (and citations) will rise as public knowledge catches up with the law’s requirements; or the lack of lactation space in American workplaces is a myth that never needed a legislative solution.
It’s not enough to have an anti-harassment and discrimination policy in your manual. It’s not even enough to train everyone regularly on what the policy requires. What really counts is enforcing the policy when complaints come in. If you don’t, the penalty may be punitive damages.
Does your computer system allow employees to write notes about customers? Do your employees think the customers will never see those notes? That’s a recipe for a disaster, as a California restaurant found out.
Employers can minimize retaliation complaints by having fair policies and procedures governing employee discipline. Even in cases of egregious behavior, a suspension while the employer sorts out the facts may be the best approach. Supervisor training is key to stemming national origin, disability and religious discrimination complaints.
Q. We have an annual off-site company party, with alcohol. We pay for half the hotel room cost if people want to stay over. An alleged harassment event occurred in a hotel room around 2 a.m. What is our potential liability? And do we have to investigate the complaint ... ?
Some employees are simply difficult to manage. They start arguments and may see harassment or discrimination at every turn. Sometimes they cross a line, implying they could get violent. How you handle their complaints can spell the difference between winning and losing a lawsuit.
Q. We recently made a job offer to someone, rescinded the offer and then hired another applicant two months later. Is there anything illegal about that?
Courts don’t want to second-guess employers unless they feel they have no alternative. When an employee charges discrimination based on different treatment because he belongs to a protected class, the court first looks at the employer’s rules and tries to see if they have been enforced consistently.
Six Los Angeles-area soda company employees will share a whopping $17.7 million in damages awarded after they successfully sued the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and related companies for age discrimination.
Chances are, you have a sexual harassment policy that gives employees several ways to report harassment—maybe including a hotline for phoning in problems. But beware: An employee may file an EEOC complaint before you even have a chance to investigate alleged harassment. If that happens, your hotline records may play a crucial role in your defense.