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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.

Before terminating an employee who has racked up absences that may or may not be related to a workplace in­­jury, make sure she has had a chance to show that the injury contributed to her attendance problems.
Generally, a single racially charged incident won’t create a hostile work environment. But repeated or escalating incidents will. That’s why employers should take immediate, firm action to stop future problems.
An intriguing discrimination case in New Jersey raises complicated issues that Pennsylvania courts may one day have to address: discrimination claims based on perceived membership in a protected class.

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.