Discrimination and Harassment — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 475
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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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Sometimes managers want to handle problems themselves and not involve the HR department or others in the chain of command. But telling employees to keep quiet and not complain to higher-ups actually may amount to retaliation. Threats and warnings, standing alone with no actual consequences, may be “materially adverse employment actions” when retaliation is the charge ...

A white environmental services attendant recently sued St. Vincent Carmel Hospital, claiming racial discrimination and retaliation. He was fired for violating the hospital’s anti-violence policy ...

Q. At a recent office get-together, two members of my staff announced they were officially dating. Our company has a strict policy that prohibits dating between a supervisor and a direct subordinate, but our handbook is silent as to relationships such as this one between co-workers. Are there any steps I should take to protect the company from liability? ...

When was the last time you read your company’s harassment reporting procedures? Could all employees in your organization understand how—and with whom—to file a complaint? It’s important to ask these questions in the wake of a new court ruling that should give you incentive to cut the legalese and confusion out of your reporting procedures ...

If, like many employers, you want to avoid the risk of a jury trial or a judge’s unpredictable decision, you may have considered requiring employees to agree to use arbitration to settle workplace disputes. But if the agreement doesn’t conform to New Jersey’s contract laws, you may end up spending time and money defending the agreement instead of arbitrating disputes ...

Paulsboro High School has settled a gender discrimination lawsuit with its former principal, Lucia Pollino, who was suspended for six months with pay in April 2007 over allegations she let students be strip-searched ...

Q. A former employee has brought a charge of racial discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. I employ 10 people. Will I have to defend this claim? ...

Q. I have received a complaint from one of my employees alleging sexual harassment by a supervisor in my HR department. I want to bring in an independent investigator, but I’m concerned I’ll have to notify the subject of the investigation. I’ve heard that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires me to notify employees before investigating these types of complaints through a third party. Obviously, this would make things uncomfortable for the employee who filed the complaint. Does the FCRA’s notice requirement apply to a sexual harassment investigation? ...

It takes just one low-level manager or frontline supervisor to create havoc in the workplace. These people set the tone of workplace communications, and if that tone has sexual content, others are likely to follow the lead. That’s one good reason to make sure you do more than lecture on sexual harassment. Instead—especially if branch offices are located away from headquarters—HR should make spot visits to see whether anything is amiss ...

In the age of e-mail, instant messaging and other written but ephemeral forms of communication, it’s easy to be caught off guard when an employee claims sexual harassment via the company computers. If an employee says she’s received hundreds of sexually explicit e-mails from co-workers or others associated with the company, could you prove her wrong? ...

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