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.

Except under very limited circumstances, volunteers aren’t considered employees under Title VII. That means they can’t sue for things like sexual harassment.
When a co-worker makes himself a nuisance (or worse), a robust anti-harassment policy, a clear reporting method and swift and sure action will cut liability in almost all cases. But what if the policy isn’t en­­forced or a supervisor learns about the harassment but ignores the problem and doesn’t take action? Then all bets are off.
Good news: You won’t be held personally liable—and neither will your company—for what you say in re­­sponse to an EEOC complaint. State­­ments made in an EEOC investigation are privileged.
You know you should discipline all workers fairly and equitably, with similar punishment for all who break the same rule. That doesn’t mean breaking the same rule always means identical punishment. As long as you have a good and well-documented reason that shows why each situation differed, your decision won’t be second-guessed later.
By now, you no doubt understand the dangers of retaliating against someone who has filed an EEOC discrimination complaint. Some workers think all it takes to stop legitimate discipline is to file with the agency. But courts are losing patience with workers who use this tactic.
Some employees just aren’t very likable, and that can lead to workplace awkwardness. Co-workers may ignore their prickly colleagues and only deal with them when necessary. That’s OK as long as the co-workers don’t end up going beyond mild ostracism.
Q. We offer home health care services. Sometimes clients request a certain caregiver in respect to color, age, gender, etc. Is it legal to place an ad with a specific request from our client, such as “seeking Caucasian female between ages 40-50 to help care for adult female”? 
It’s not often that the EEOC loses a lawsuit, but in recent weeks, the gavel has come down against the commission not once, but twice.
Here’s something to add to your regular training sessions for managers and supervisors. Warn them against making age-related comments. These can backfire, even if they aren’t intended to be ageist or demeaning to anyone.

You probably make sure all your employees have read your sexual harassment policy. That doesn’t mean they always follow it. If an employee is hinting that she’s being harassed, your best approach may be to hand her another copy and urge her to report any problems right away.