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.

It’s always smarter—and less expensive—to learn about employment law from others’ mistakes, rather than your own. Here are three new court decisions that serve up great lessons for any manager:
Employers must create and enforce sexual harassment policies and conduct sexual harassment training so that supervisors can recognize what is and what isn't considered to be sexual harassment. Supervisors are responsible for eliminating behavior that can lead to claims of a hostile environment in their departments.
Generally, pregnancy isn’t a disability under the ADA, nor are pregnancy-related complications. But under some limited circumstances—when pregnancy complications cause separate medical conditions that persist after birth—the employee may qualify as disabled under the ADA.
One of the only legally secure ways to protect your company from hostile work environment lawsuits is to provide clear steps for employees to complain. Then investigate the allegations. Make sure employees know how to raise concerns and whom to talk to.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from using an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, or sex as a basis for decisions on hiring, discharging, compensation, benefits, classification, and all other terms and conditions of employment. It also forbids retaliation against employees or applicants who lodge complaints against unlawful employer acts covered by Title VII.
If you are contemplating changing your compensation structure to reflect today’s lean job market, do so carefully—especially if you suspect you may be overpaying some employees for the work they do. The problem: Older, more experienced workers may be at the top of your pay scales.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear an important case next term on the definition of “supervisor” under Title VII harassment law. At issue: Whether the supervisor liability rule applies to employees who oversee and direct other’s daily work but have no formal authority to hire, fire, demote or promote.
Covered under Title VII, race discrimination and harassment can spark employee lawsuits when co-workers engage in joking or horseplay, when managers allow prejudice to enter their supervisory decisions, and even in the case of negative employment acts against white employees, known as reverse discrimination.

Employers can’t discriminate against someone based on her  national origin. But what about discrimination based on whether someone is in the country illegally? Is that also national-origin discrimination? The answer is a resounding “No!” according to a recent 7th Circuit Court of Appeals case.

Employees occasionally have what can be called “I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it any more” moments. They make a lot of noise and storm out the door. Maybe they toss an “I quit” over their shoulder on the way out. In such cases, it’s best to let those employees know as soon as possible that you accept the resignation.