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.
Berkeley School District 87 in Chicago’s western suburbs has settled a controversial religious discrimination complaint filed by a Muslim teacher who sought unpaid leave to make a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
The Nishimoto Trading Co., which sells Asian foods to various defense department facilities, has agreed to pay $400,000 in back wages to women who alleged the company illegally refused to hire them. Nishimoto operates a facility in Miramar.
Whenever an employee reveals a disability, employers must explore reasonable accommodations. The EEOC clearly doesn’t consider it reasonable to send an employee home and then fire him, as the following case shows.
Employers can use an arbitration clause to compel arbitration of almost all employment-related problems, including supervisor sexual harassment. That can limit the chance of a huge jury award.
When a jury concluded that a supervisor got a subordinate fired for complaining about race discrimination, it zapped the employer with huge punitive damages in addition to back pay. However, it will only have to pay a fraction of that amount.
The same individual who hired an employee should also fire that employee if necessary. Courts typically reason that no prejudiced person would hire someone and then later fire him because of discrimination, having known all along about the employee’s protected characteristics.
One of the easiest ways to win a bias or harassment lawsuit is to get it dismissed on the grounds that the employee who is suing missed the 180-day deadline for filing an EEOC complaint or never filed at all. Check with the EEOC, and then pass the information to your attorneys.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Thompson v. North American Stainless decision said that it was illegal retaliation to punish the fiancé of someone who had complained about sexual harassment. But what about punishing an employee because an outsider has filed sexual harassment charges? According to a recent decision, that isn’t illegal under Title VII.
The EEOC recently entered into a consent decree resolving a race discrimination lawsuit with ABM Industries. The federal agency sued the company in 2009, claiming it discriminated against Hispanic janitors who worked in San Francisco office buildings.
Occasionally, you’ll run across an employee who has a hard time performing up to expectations and won’t accept suggestions to improve. If he belongs to a protected class, you may worry about a lawsuit if you terminate him. That shouldn’t be a problem if you take the time to document problems before termination.