Durham-based educational testing firm Measurement Inc. has agreed to pay $110,000 to settle an EEOC religious discrimination suit filed on behalf of a former employee who belongs to a Christian denomination known as the Children of Yisrael.
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Employees who file workers’ compensation claims are protected from retaliation—essentially any change in working conditions that would lead a reasonable employee to rethink her decision to seek benefits. That can include sudden scrutiny of the employee’s work. That’s why HR should look carefully at any increased discipline against those who file workers’ comp claims.
Employers that pay new hires more than employees with the same or similar experience should be prepared to prove why they needed to sweeten the pot. Otherwise, they risk an Equal Pay Act lawsuit if it just so happens the hire is of the opposite sex as an incumbent.
After a discrimination complaint has been found to be without merit, most reasonable employees accept their employer’s conclusions and go back to doing their jobs. But some become bitter, suspecting that HR and management are out to get them and interpreting every subsequent interaction as evidence of a hostile conspiracy. When this happens, the worst thing you can do is play into the fear.
Employers can’t punish employees for complaining about alleged discrimination or harassment. That’s true even if the complaint doesn’t pan out, as long as the employees complained in good faith. But judges don’t want employees to use the threat of a retaliation lawsuit as a way to circumvent fair discipline, either. There’s a way for employers to get judges on their side.
Here’s a big benefit to having a strong anti-harassment policy: The policy’s very existence helps protect employers against false claims. That’s because employees won’t be able to say they endured years of harassment and didn’t know how or to whom to report it. The key is making sure employees know about your policy.