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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.

If you had to, could you quickly produce records showing that every employee who broke the same rule received the same punishment? Would you be able to readily explain any deviations? If you hesitated when answering these questions, it’s time for action.

The courts—which have been slammed with retaliation lawsuits—have begun narrowing what they consider retaliation. For example, the 7th Circuit has ruled that merely scrutinizing someone’s work more closely after a complaint isn’t retaliation.

Courts understand that during a RIF, perfectly competent employees may lose their jobs. Any legitimate business reason can back up that decision. Just make sure you document the reason before you terminate anyone.

When an employee represents himself, prepare for a fight—even if you know the claim doesn’t have much merit. That’s because courts don’t like to toss out cases without giving every benefit of the doubt to employees who can’t find attorneys to represent them.
Employees who report harassment are protected from retaliation, even if the underlying complaint lacks merit.
A federal court has said it will soon decide a case that may make pregnancy discrimination illegal in North Carolina. At issue is whether North Carolina employers are liable for wrongful discharge if they fire a pregnant woman from her at-will job.
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for substantially similar work. If you discover a pay disparity between substantially similar male and female employees, fix the problem right away to let women catch up. Don’t use pay policies as an excuse to slow the process.
On June 12, the New York Court of Appeals held that the New York State Division of Human Rights does not have jurisdiction over discrimination and harassment complaints filed by public school students under the New York Human Rights Law.
In Litton v. Talawanda School Dis­­trict, a demoted and transferred custodian sued his employer for age and race discrimination. In Litton, did the 6th Circuit unwittingly create a cause of action for benign discrimination? Or, is this case an aberration that future courts will distinguish and disregard?
When an employee approaches you about a religious need that requires accommodation, make sure you consider all the details. Don’t rely on a standard response.