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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.

The Glenview-based Family Video chain has agreed to settle a disability discrimination suit filed by a former employee of a store in New York who suffers from depression and social anxiety disorder.
Except in very limited circumstances, an individual must actually apply for a position before he can challenge the decision to hire someone else.
In a recent case, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to extend protected status to an investigator who wanted her company to go further than it was willing to after it discovered sexual harassment.
Hobson Air Con­­di­­tion­­ing, a Weatherford contractor, has agreed to pay $37,500 to settle charges that a manager created a sexually hostile work environment.
Sometimes, all it takes to stop sexual harassment (or behavior that could escalate to harassment) is to tell the individual to cut it out. But you’ll never know if it worked unless you follow up. You should periodically check back with those affected and note their response in your files.

Some employees think that throwing around a few unfounded allegations makes them whistle-blowers. They assume that by reporting what they think is illegal activity, they gain job protection. That’s not always true. If the alleged misconduct isn’t reported in good faith, there’s no protection.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent retaliation lawsuits is to follow up with the employee who complained. Remind her that you won’t tolerate retaliation, and be sure to check back at least once following the investigation.

Sexual harassment victims deserve to have their claims investigated, not ignored. Under no circumstances should you encourage a complaining employee to quit instead of having to endure continued harassment. That’s a sure indication to many juries that the worker was punished for reporting sexual harassment.

If you pay women and men different rates for the doing the same work, you had better have a good reason—one that can stand up in court. Otherwise, you’ll probably wind up on the losing end of an Equal Pay Act (EPA) lawsuit.

Bipartisan legislation working its way through the U.S. Senate would make it easier for employees to prove age and disability discrimination. The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act seeks to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Gross v. F.B.I. Financial Services.