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.

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While most employers have to follow federal and state anti-discrimination laws, there is a limited exception for religious organizations. Under the ministerial exception, an employee hired to preach the organization’s religious beliefs can’t sue for discrimination.

A DOL judge has shot down a discrimination complaint against Winston-Salem-based VF Jeanswear Limited Partnership, claiming it discriminated against “non-Asians” in its hiring practices in violation of Executive Order 11246, which forbids racial discrimination in hiring for government contractors.
Employees who want to sue for age discrimination have to show that an adverse employment action—such as discharge, demotion, a pay cut or other substantial benefit loss—was connected to their age. Merely being moved to another shift doesn’t qualify.
An angry judge has ordered the EEOC to pay $4.7 million in legal fees incurred when the national trucking firm CRST had to defend itself against a flurry of sexual harassment suits, many of which eventually turned out to be baseless.
You may think that an employee who admitted to bringing a racy photo to work and showed it around couldn’t later complain when she became the target of sexual harassment. You would be wrong.
Tangible signs of a potentially hostile environment may be only the tip of the sexual harassment iceberg. Here are four red-flag areas you should monitor:
Minneapolis-based retailer Target is scrambling to explain a training document that surfaced at one of its Northern California distribution centers. The document purports to tell supervisors how to interact with Hispanic employees—and in the process betrays some offensive stereotypes.
You don’t want to fire an employee without good grounds. Sudden deterioration in performance may be real—or a sign of age discrimination. Be especially cautious if the employee’s replacement is more than five years younger or the employee has complained about age-related comments.
Employees who lose their jobs may not understand that if filing for bankruptcy, they must list any potential litigation claim as an asset. Federal courts have dismissed even obviously valid employment discrimination lawsuits when employees failed to disclose such claims in their bankruptcy paperwork. That may no longer continue, if this recent case is any indi­­cation.
It’s impossible for everyone to remember exactly what happened during an interview held several years earlier. But that’s what an interview panel may be asked to do if a candidate sues. The best approach is to ask the panelists to take notes. Then you should collect all the panelists’ notes for potential future use.