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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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When an employee sues his employer, alleging he was denied a promotion because of some form of discrimination, he must at least show that he applied for the promotion. Merely telling his supervisors that he’s interested in possible promotion opportunities isn’t enough when the employer has a formal application process in place.
It’s impossible to predict which employee will sue and why. That’s why you must carefully document every disciplinary action, including enough specific information to later justify those decisions.
Be careful how you react when an employee announces she is expecting. In the end, the employer won this pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, but defending against it cost huge legal fees and took up hundreds of hours.
Two recent EEOC lawsuits illustrate that the agency is serious about enforcing the Pregnancy Discrimination Act as interpreted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 Young v. UPS decision.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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