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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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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!
Discrimination between members of protected classes is just as illegal under Title VII as discrimination by members of a majority class against minorities. Now there is a growing interest in a different form of intraracial discrimination: bias by some Indian Americans against members of lower castes.
Employees suing under the Equal Pay Act who can prove that they held a substantially similar job but were paid less than a member of the opposite sex don’t have to prove that the employer intended to discriminate.
It’s entirely possible for employment discrimination to fly under HR’s radar. All it takes is too much trust that hiring managers wouldn’t knowingly violate your anti-discrimination policies. That’s why it’s critical to regularly audit your organization’s hiring practices.
The decade-long age discrimination litigation saga of 15 San Francisco firefighters has come to an end.
The giant Dechert law firm, founded in Philadelphia in 1875, has agreed to settle charges it fired two workers from its payroll department because of their age and gender.
Typically, workers sue after being fired or otherwise subjected to an adverse employment action such as a demotion. But sometimes, aggrieved employees can quit and still sue, alleging that their working conditions were so severe that they had no choice but to leave.
#MeToo spawned the multimillion-dollar #TimesUp fund that pays lawyers to help working-class women press sexual harassment claims in court. For employers, that means you can’t afford to ignore a single sexual harassment complaint.
If you hand out different discipline for two employees who commit similar violations, make sure you document exactly why. That way, if you are later sued, you can explain the difference.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Pennsylvania employers, has dodged deciding whether a subordinate’s bias can be imputed to the employer.
Q. A new employee refuses to comply with our dress code, which has slightly different requirements for men and women, because the individual is transgender. Though the new employee marked “female” on our employment application, the individual has since told us about identifying as a man. Can we require this employee to follow our dress code for women?
A federal court has refused to overturn earlier decisions holding that, in Texas, state agencies are exempt from the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Sometimes, new bosses crack the whip harder than the previous supervisor did—and hand out harsher performance appraisals, too. But absent specific evidence to the contrary, new and more rigorous standards don’t usually signal that the new boss is motivated by discriminatory intent.
Q. I am an HR director for a traditional, conservative company and have run into a new issue. When onboarding employees, I always explain our preferred dress code: we prefer women to wear skirts and dresses with pantyhose to work because many of our senior partners are old-fashioned. A new female employee said she would prefer to wear pants. Can we require her to wear a skirt instead?
Employers that set pay based on past salaries are just as guilty of sex discrimination as those past employers who set a discriminatory rate of pay in the first place.
About two-thirds of women who say they have been sexually harassed say it happened at work.
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