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.

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When female workers sought temporary jobs at a warehouse, they were told that the temp agency, Los Angeles-based Industrial Labor Man­­age­­ment Group (ILM), was only hiring men for the positions. The women complained to the EEOC, which is now suing the firm for sex discrimination.
When a supervisor expresses clear illegal bias, fire her. Otherwise, her attitude may taint any subsequent termination decisions involving members of the protected class the manager harbors resentment about.
A high-profile sexual harassment case that went all the way to the Min­­ne­­sota Supreme Court will now proceed to the penalty phase with no opposition from the defendant.
Employees terminated ­during RIFs sometimes believe they were hand-selected for layoff because of discrimination or retaliation for prior complaints. Smart employers consider that possibility and carefully document the RIF process to show when the possibility of layoffs was first considered and how employees were picked for termination.
Consider this when deciding whether to offer a simple and cheap accommodation to an employee who claims he’s disabled: Offering help doesn’t mean you accept that he’s disabled. You can still challenge his status under the ADA if he sues.
Mattress Firm, a Houston-based bedding retailer, faces charges it discriminated against older workers at its Las Vegas stores. The EEOC has filed suit against the company after efforts to mediate the case failed.
Sometimes, it pays to be patient. That’s often true when deciding who to terminate when several people are allegedly involved in rule breaking. Conduct an independent investigation, talk to all the individuals involved and come to conclusions based on what the employees said. That way, there’s a good chance a court won’t second-guess your final decision.
Some accommodations requests aren’t directly related to the disabled employee’s job functions. Take, for example, simple accommodations like changing arrival and departure times so a disabled employee can take a specific bus or providing a reserved parking spot next to the entrance. Those accommodations fall within the scope of the ADA.
Employees sue over the most trivial workplace incidents. Fortunately, courts have more important things to do than soothe hurt feelings. Busy judges are quickly dismissing cases that are based on nothing more than a few petty incidents.
A recent case has tested the complex, unwritten rules surrounding the use of the N-word in the workplace—in this case, the successful STRIVE East Harlem temporary agency, which has been profiled on “60 Minutes.”
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