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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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Federal legislation addressing compensation inequality between men and women is unlikely in this Congress, but several states and municipalities are taking up the cause.
Beware making exceptions to the rules. That can look like discrimination if a disgruntled employee who doesn’t receive the same exception spots a pattern suggesting unfair favoritism.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has passed legislation that would allow employers to force employees to undergo genetic testing related to wellness program health assessments.
The first black firefighter in the Irving, Texas Fire Department is suing the department, claiming it promoted a less qualified white applicant to assistant fire chief.
State Sen. Eric Johnson has introduced legislation that would bar employers from asking for an applicant’s salary history before making a qualified job offer that includes a proposed salary.
The threat of even a small class-action lawsuit can rattle the coolest of HR pros and the attorneys with whom they work. Imagine being sued by 69,000 current and former employees!
Absent other evidence of sex discrimination, such as unequal pay or disparate treatment, a few comments or looks don’t create a sexually hostile environment.
The EEOC has signaled its intent to aggressively pursue harassment cases against employers—especially when the harassment is perpetrated by anyone in a supervisory role.
Employees who harass and abuse co-workers—and supervisors who turn a blind eye to bullying—may end up facing jail time.
The EEOC has issued proposed guidance on how it plans to enforce anti-harassment provisions of several federal laws.
Employers should improve their hiring and promotion systems if they discover problems that can be fixed. Doing so after an employee has filed a discrimination complaint isn’t tantamount to admitting guilt.
Pennsylvania courts are willing to let workers recover damages resulting from intentional infliction of emotional distress. However, the conduct must be “extreme and outrageous.”
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that employees cannot obtain “pain and suffering” awards from employers that violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
The psychological test the Minneapolis Police Department uses to screen applicants is biased against minorities, according to some police officers.
Appealing to workers’ sense of decency will do nothing to prevent harassment lawsuits if that approach doesn’t effectively stop the harassment.
Constant badgering about retirement can backfire badly, especially if a supervisor also makes potentially ageist comments about the employee’s appearance, work habits or other characteristics.
Complaints of religious discrimination filed with the EEOC have increased by 50% since 2006 and 80% since 2001.
Employers that don’t immediately address allegations of sexual harassment—and stop it—will have a hard time defending themselves in court.
St. Vincent’s Health Center in Erie has agreed to settle charges it failed to provide a religious accommodation for six employees who refused to take influenza vaccines for religious reasons.
An employer may face litigation either for failing to promptly respond to a discrimination claim or for overreacting to one.
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