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.
What should you do when a male employee claims his co-workers are sexually harassing him? You can’t just ignore the complaint simply because it came from a man. But should you discuss the complaint with the co-workers and ask them to stop if they are engaging in harassment? Wouldn’t that make matters worse?
A federal appeals court has overturned a case that had been dismissed because an employee couldn’t prove that her employer knew she was pregnant. The court clarified that the capacity to become pregnant is at the heart of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
A woman was fired from her temporary job assignment at a medical facility and was denied a full-time permanent position because of her relationship to a person with disabilities—her toddler daughter.
If you don’t know about alleged discrimination, you can’t fix it. That’s why you should inform employees that they should report discrimination directly to HR. Then tell supervisors they must pass along every bias complaint—and warn them that they’ll be disciplined if they tell employees to keep their complaints quiet.
Does the arrival of a tougher scoring supervisor also mean extra liablity? Not necessarily, as a recent case shows.
Under recently signed legislation, New York City will begin a year-long employment tester program in which paired job applicants with similar experience and qualifications will express interest in the same job. One will belong to a protected class and one will not.
Rotten Ralph’s, a popular Philadelphia restaurant, has been sued by the EEOC, which alleges that the eatery violated federal law when it refused to allow a Muslim server to wear a religious headscarf as a reasonable accommodation of her religious beliefs and instead fired her.
An employee who has fully recovered from a medical crisis isn’t likely to qualify as disabled under the ADA. Therefore, she would not be entitled to further accommodations. In addition, as this case shows, a few negative comments about her prior condition would not be considered to create a hostile environment.
Employers that use general tests to screen applicants run the risk of facing a disparate-impact discrimination lawsuit. If that happens, you will have to prove that the test measures qualities that relate to actual job duties.
A federal appeals court on June 20 dismissed Abercrombie & Fitch’s appeal of an EEOC religious discrimination lawsuit that the Supreme Court addressed in June.
Over the last several years, legislatures around the United States have worked to increase protections for pregnant workers, and the EEOC has identified the treatment of pregnant women in the workplace as one of its top priorities.
Generally, employees can’t sue their employers because of a personality conflict with a supervisor. Nor can they allege that it’s a form of retaliation for a disliked supervisor to show up in court in order to “torment” the employee.
The EEOC, for the first time on the federal level, has ruled that discriminating against an employee based on sexual orientation counts as unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
If an employee complains about harassment, take the complaint seriously, even if the harasser is a customer. Ban the customer to make sure the harassment stops—and call the police if the harassment involves touching or invasion of privacy.
Q. Does the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriages have any effect on us with regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act?
A federal judge has ordered the Houston-based United Bible Fellowship Ministries to pay a former employee nearly $75,000 in back pay and damages because of the nonprofit’s policy prohibiting pregnant employees from working and barring the hiring of pregnant women.
Time was when an employer’s only preoccupation with restrooms was whether the cleaning crew was keeping them stocked with soap, towels and toilet paper. Enter the new reality: Federal agencies and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights groups are contending that transgender employees should be given the right to choose between restrooms having an “M” or a “W” on the door.
Federal employees have a much shorter time frame than other employees in which to complain about discrimination. In fact, they must go to their equal employment opportunity (EEO) officer within just 45 days of the alleged discrimination. But that time limit doesn’t apply if the employee has no way of knowing she was the victim of it.
Not every action that may be interpreted as harassment actually is. That doesn’t mean employers should ignore a one-time incident or behavior brought to HR’s attention. You can and should end any behavior that may be perceived as offensive or harassing. Once you have, you can move on, as this recent Texas Supreme Court decision shows.
Some employees will never get along. Managing them can be hard, especially if one chooses to make life difficult for the other with practical jokes and rude behavior. But unless the jokes and behavior somehow relates to a protected characteristic, it isn’t grounds for a lawsuit.