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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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It’s essential to respond promptly to every harassment complaint.
Bias plays a part in all discrimination, ranging from race relations to gender and disability stereotypes. Training on implicit or unconscious bias training—if poorly implemented—may backfire, leaving the workplace more divided than it was before.
Here’s an important warning for managers with the power to influence hiring decisions: Repeating stereotypes about applicants invites discrimination lawsuits, as a recent case shows.
It’s true your organization may not be liable for co-worker harassment if the harassed employee knew how to report harassment but failed to use the system. However, there can still be consequences if a supervisor retaliates against an employee who complained or threatened to complain but didn’t actually report the harassment.
In the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, the Texas Supreme Court just refused to broadly define sexual harassment in the workplace. Instead, the court found that generalized harassment at work—even if it’s morally reprehensible—doesn’t necessarily violate the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.
Last month we reported that former University of Minnesota – Duluth women’s hockey coach Shannon Miller had finally prevailed in a years-long sex discrimination lawsuit. Now two more former employees are alleging the university discriminated against them on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Retail giant Target has agreed to pay $3.9 million to settle a long-running discrimination suit alleging its policy of not hiring people with criminal convictions disproportionately affects black and Hispanic applicants.
Sometimes, it makes a lot of sense to build a virtual wall between HR staff who handle discrimination complaints and manage litigation and those who review applications and requests for promotion.
Not every negative thing that happens amounts to retaliation or discrimination. Employees have to show that any “punishment” they experienced significantly changed the conditions of employment.
Take note if you have rules against speaking languages other than English at work: That could constitute race discrimination under Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
Staffing your store or restaurant with only young people crashes hard against federal and state laws that forbid age discrimination in hiring and promotions. And that can be expensive. In fact, it just cost the national restaurant chain Seasons 52 more than $2.85 million.
Training isn’t enough. Without careful follow-up, your training efforts may backfire—badly! Consider what happened in early May at Albertsons, the national grocery store chain.
Few courts want to mediate petty disputes. Judges have more important matters to attend to. Just ask the judge who issued a caustic ruling in this recent case.
The ADA and the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act protect disabled workers from harassment based on their disability. Make sure everyone, including co-workers and supervisors, understands they cannot punish a disabled employee for taking leave.
A federal jury in Brooklyn unanimously ruled in favor of employees at a New York insurance company who objected when they were forced to practice a religion conceived by the firm’s CEO.
You may think having a solid sexual harassment policy is all it takes to thwart a sexual harassment lawsuit. Not if the policy isn’t being followed!
Discrimination between members of protected classes is just as illegal under Title VII as discrimination by members of a majority class against minorities. Now there is a growing interest in a different form of intraracial discrimination: bias by some Indian Americans against members of lower castes.
Employees suing under the Equal Pay Act who can prove that they held a substantially similar job but were paid less than a member of the opposite sex don’t have to prove that the employer intended to discriminate.
It’s entirely possible for employment discrimination to fly under HR’s radar. All it takes is too much trust that hiring managers wouldn’t knowingly violate your anti-discrimination policies. That’s why it’s critical to regularly audit your organization’s hiring practices.
The decade-long age discrimination litigation saga of 15 San Francisco firefighters has come to an end.
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