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.

Altec Industries has agreed to pay a job applicant $25,000 after it refused to hire the Seventh-Day Adventist to work at its Burnsville, N.C., facility. The applicant alleged that when he revealed that his religion forbade him to work from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, the company refused to hire him.
Here’s a timely reminder that you should carefully document disciplinary actions and make sure there is no unintentional discrimination. The key is to thoroughly consider the appropriate punishment for each transgression, taking into account all the details.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has sensibly ruled that the existence of rival professional groups can’t be used to prove that workplace discrimination exists. Had the decision gone the other way, public employers likely would have seen a proliferation of special-interest employee associations.
A Safelite AutoGlass franchise in Enfield, N.C., has agreed to settle an EEOC sexual harassment and retaliation suit filed by a former HR assistant who claimed the HR manager made unwanted sexual comments and touched her inappropriately.
No one wants to have to explain why an employee just lost her job. But passing the buck and coming up with inconsistent excuses are the worst possible approaches. Instead, make sure the information comes from one source—preferably HR—and stick with a defensible reason.

If your workplace isn’t exactly the picture of diversity, the need to fire your only minority employee may worry you. Isn’t that just courting a lawsuit? Maybe—but that’s no reason to retain a poor performer.

You have probably read that once a disabled employee has exhausted his FMLA and other sick leave, you should still consider offering a brief leave extension as a reasonable accommodation. That’s true to a point. However, once you have allowed additional leave and the employee still isn’t cleared to return to work, it may be time to terminate him despite his disability.

Patience is a virtue. Practice it, especially when you have an employee who seems to gripe about everything. Sure, serial complainers are a pain. Don’t make matters worse by striking back.
While several ballot initiatives nationwide show there has been a change in how the general public perceives same-sex relationships, sexual orientation is still not a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

It happens all too often: A supervisor hears that a subordinate wants to file a discrimination complaint and warns that following through might harm the worker’s career. It usually takes the form of a caution that complaining will brand the employee as a “troublemaker” and could cost promotion opportunities. The supervisor may genuinely believe that, but expressing it is a bad idea ...