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.
Sometimes, employees’ social interactions cross the line from productive to disruptive. Before you punish friendly co-workers, consider quantifying their behavior. That makes it easier to defend against charges that you singled out some chatty co-workers for harsher treatment than others based on their protected status.
Benefits like vacation, sick leave, relocation payments and the like must be provided equally to all similarly situated employees. Don’t reward some with additional perks and leave others out—unless you’re willing to risk a lawsuit.
A waitress, who suffers from dwarfism, saw her hours reduced and was fired after she repeatedly requested that her serving shelf be lowered back to where her former manager put it.
Employees who complain about discrimination or other problems by going to HR shouldn’t be punished for doing so. That includes the mere threat of punishment, whether or not that punishment is carried out.
Supervisors should avoid any age-related references, but don’t despair if you learn someone made such a comment—as long as nothing else points to age discrimination. Simply warn the boss to watch what he or she says in the future.
Before outsourcing, carefully lay the groundwork. Document the underlying financial and practical reasons, especially if the department is troubled and some employees have filed discrimination or harassment complaints.
A former sales clerk at Manhattan’s Alexander McQueen boutique claims she was subjected to numerous slurs concerning her heritage while working at the upscale store.
Job-seekers who know how to apply for open positions can’t claim discrimination unless they can also show they followed the process. At the same time, a standard process lets employers track applications and easily show a judge why someone didn’t get the job she sought.
Don’t let cost-cutting measures derail ADA reasonable accommodations requests. Offering an accommodation may be far cheaper than losing a failure-to-accommodate lawsuit.
A former employee at Lanxess Corp. has sued her former employer, claiming the company discriminated against her because of her gender. She recounts male employees telling her “women aren’t supposed to be back here” and that it was “not a woman’s job.”