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.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy just unveiled a study, Employer Strategies for Responding to an Aging Workforce. The study urges employers to follow these strategies to avoid age discrimination complaints:
Every employer practice and policy must be put under the legal microscope to ferret out sex discrimination. Among the most common triggers for sexual discrimination charges are hiring interview questions, old boy network promotions, favoritism in assignments, gender stereotypes, and issues surrounding sexual orientation.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has approved new grounds for discrimination lawsuits. It recently ruled that employees who file discrimination complaints can sue for retaliation if their employers punish them with a hostile work environment.
Foothill Ranch-based fashion retailer Wet Seal faces a class-action lawsuit from black current and former employees who allege an internal email complained that the company had too many black workers.

Here’s a warning to employers that use a progressive disciplinary system: Follow it—for everyone. Cutting the process short except for good, solid reasons is asking for trouble. Performance improvement plans are a good example.

When two employees break the same workplace rule, the surest way to avoid a potential lawsuit is to punish both exactly the same. However, that’s not always practical or appropriate. That’s especially true if the conduct involved wasn’t exactly the same. Before making any final disciplinary decisions, look at the rule and the specific facts.

Stevens Transport, a Dallas-area trucking company, has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle EEOC charges that it refused to hire a paraplegic man for a management position due to his disability.
Scott Kody is suing the village of Schaumburg, claiming it discriminated against him when it stripped him of his fire-safety training duties three years ago.
The former HR director at J. Chris­­to­­­pher Capital has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the Manhattan ven­­ture capital firm, claiming the company’s founder stated that he only wanted gay men and beautiful women working for him.

There may be many reasons em­­ployees end up earning different salaries for similar work. Pay disparities often grow gradually, over time. That can mean big trouble under the Equal Pay Act. If you aren’t tracking all pay changes and noting the reason, you may end up liable for sex discrimination.