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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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Since 1979, Donna Smith had worked as a shipping and receiving clerk for Caro Carbide Corp., a carbide machine shop in Troy. From 1988 forward, Smith claims co-worker Timothy Sylver displayed pornographic photos and made lewd gestures and comments toward her at work ...

Civil court cases can cost employers large amounts of time and money to resolve. Increasingly, employers have embraced arbitration as a way to curb these costs. But before you have all employees sign arbitration agreements, be sure to consider all the costs. You may find that arbitration isn’t the cost-effective strategy you think it is ... 

What seems like a joke to members of the majority can be deeply hurtful to members of a minority. These days, that’s a particular issue in areas with a large concentration of people of Middle Eastern heritage—such as Michigan. As the “war on terror” shows no signs of abating, it makes sense to remind managers and supervisors to stay away from any comments on ethnicity ...

The only thing between your organization and a discriminatory discharge verdict is the HR office. An impartial and cool-headed HR professional must oversee the process every time an employee is terminated. Keep careful track of exactly how the decision-making process moves forward in every case, and insist that HR have the final word on termination ...

Sometimes, employers may want to maintain some flexibility to handle unique leave situations. For example, what would your organization do if a valued, loyal and long-term employee developed a terminal disease? Would you allow him a “leave of absence” with continued insurance coverage until his death to save his family from financial ruin? You can, if you are careful about exactly how you go about it ...

Employers that give in to the temptation to punish a troublemaker for complaining about alleged discrimination set themselves up for a retaliation lawsuit. The irony, of course, is that often the underlying discrimination complaint will amount to nothing, while the retaliation case snowballs out of control. Even minor changes to an employee’s work schedule, routine or tasks may mean a large retaliation jury verdict ...

When a group of women all experience the same sort of harassment, it takes just one to find an attorney. She will then try to persuade the others to join in, making for a much more compelling story in court. The best approach is to take every complaint seriously ...

According to a recent Northern District of Illinois federal trial court ruling, the EEOC doesn’t have to give employers more than a modicum of information when it files a federal discrimination lawsuit. Apparently, it’s enough to start a lawsuit with only general allegations that an employer “engaged in unlawful employment practices” ...

As of Jan. 1, 2008, employees have new rights under the Illinois Human Rights Act. The amendment, signed last August, permits employees for the first time to bring civil actions in circuit court and have their cases heard by juries. Originally, the Illinois Human Rights Act was a completely administrative, nonjury process for resolving employment discrimination claims ...

Q. We don’t have a hotline for employees to call to complain about harassment, discrimination or retaliation. We have been considering one, but we are concerned about anonymous complaints. Should we set up one anyway? ...

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