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.
Here’s a sure way to lose in federal court: Take a pregnant worker off your automatic scheduling program because you worry that she might go into labor and inconvenience your business.
In an important case that could carve out new rights for new mothers, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that employees returning to work after giving birth may be entitled to light-duty work to accommodate the need to express breast milk for their babies.
Only about 12% of all race discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC last year were by white employees who claim they were treated less favorably than minority co-workers. But the shifting political climate may lead to an increase in such “reverse discrimination” cases.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of a sexual harassment case and ordered the lower court to consider additional evidence that an employee who was acting as her own attorney unsuccessfully tried to present.
Not every attempt at seduction becomes a sexual harassment case—as long as the employer takes appropriate action right away once it learns what happened.
Some employee speech on social media may end up classified as protected activity if it can legitimately be classified as a protest against what would be illegal discrimination under laws like Title VII.
An employee who believes she has been fired for discriminatory reasons has the right to sue her employer as soon as she receives a termination notice. That’s true even if the termination isn’t yet effective.
HR professionals have protection against being fired for voicing legitimate concerns about discrimination and for refusing to engage in activities they believe may be discriminatory.
Regardless of sexual orientation’s uncertain protected status, it is well-settled that mocking someone’s nonconformity to society’s gender stereotypes is sex discrimination.
Faced with the choice of retiring or being fired, someone who retires may be able to argue that they were constructively discharged.
What not to do when closing down offices in which workers are older than the company average: Mention that eventually you may be able to hire younger replacements at lower cost. That’s just asking for a lawsuit.
Providing training to supervisors and employees is a vital way to prevent sexual harassment lawsuits. But a second piece to that puzzle is often overlooked: creating an easy-to-understand complaint policy.
Employers may generally impose rules requiring employees to adhere to reasonable workplace appearance, grooming and dress standards. But as straightforward as the issue seems to be, grooming standards can create problems for employers.
Some employees who have been on staff for many years believe their experience should automatically be rewarded when promotion opportunities arise. When someone with less experience but more education is promoted instead, they may sue, alleging some form of discrimination, whether age or otherwise.
Some employees can be overly sensitive to criticism or perceived harassment. Most judges expect workers to shrug off occasional irritating comments, even if they feel them to be personally offensive.
What does the EEOC expect when employees are expecting? That employers will uphold their obligations under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title VII.
Several cases currently making their way through the legal system test whether Title VII’s sex discrimination provisions cover discrimination based on sexual orientation. In the meantime, remember that harassment based on sexual stereotypes is already illegal.
Make sure every boss understands that they may never utter obviously racially offensive slurs at work. Even one instance can, under the wrong circumstances, trigger a lawsuit.
The Pennsylvania State Office of Public Records has agreed to pay $60,000 to settle an EEOC age discrimination lawsuit that alleged it passed over a seasoned, older attorney to hire a less experienced, young applicant for an appeals officer position.
If your organization has created standardized, objective processes for hiring or promotion, make sure you deviate from them as little as possible. Doing so without a good, contemporaneous explanation may result in expensive litigation.