Watch out, boss! You can be sued separately

Generally, all claims arising out of the same set of facts must be brought in one lawsuit. However, in limited circumstances, it’s possible for an employee to file separate lawsuits against their employer—and their supervisor!

Could you be liable for third-party harassment?

There is only one boss. The customer. But what if the customer or another outsider is harassing one of your employees? Can your organization be held liable?

Cover all harassment in reporting policy

A recent case shows that the broader your anti-harassment policy, the more protection you gain. Tell employees to report all harassment, not just the sexual kind. Include harassment based on religion, disability, national origin and so on.

New claims can pull in past events in harassment case

Federal government employees who want to bring discrimination and harassment charges must complain to their agency’s equal employment opportunity officer within 45 days of the alleged event. However, when it comes to so-called continual violations, even one incident occurring within that 45-day period will bring earlier incidents into play.

Heard that story of unfair treatment before? You might be dealing with a serial retaliator


Ever felt déjà vu when an employee claimed she was suffering retaliation because of a prior discrimination or harassment complaint? If what the employee describes sounds familiar, watch out. You may have a serial retaliator on your hands, and those earlier incidents may end up being used to prove retaliation has occurred again.

Trouble looms when rookie replaces old pro

Here’s a warning for new supervisors who want to replace long-term employees with individuals of their own choosing: They could be courting a discrimination lawsuit if the replacements belong to a different protected class and aren’t as qualified as those being replaced.

Wipe out overt bias before it's too late

Once an employee shows a judge that there is direct evidence she was discriminated against because of her race, it’s too late to come up with much of a defense. That’s why it is crucial to wipe out obvious discrimination once and for all. Don’t ever let a supervisor’s overtly racist comments go unpunished.

ASAP, get rid of materials that might be offensive

Regularly check your workplace for potentially offensive materials. An isolated incident won’t be held against you, but a pattern of tolerance could be.

Org chart irrelevant in Equal Pay Act cases

An employee who sues under the Equal Pay Act—alleging that she was paid less than someone of the opposite sex—has a tough case to make if she bases her case strictly on how much she was paid.

Do we need to accommodate smokers?

Q. We currently have a designated smoking area outside our building. Recently, an employee who is extremely sensitive to certain odors complained that smoke was drifting through our ventilation system into her work space. May we prohibit smoking in certain areas outside our building? If so, do we need to provide another location for our employees to smoke?

Wronged consulate employee seeks $2.3 million in legal fees

A former employee at the Twin Cities Norwegian consulate is asking the country to pay her legal fees after she won a $270,000 equal pay judgment. A federal judge ruled that the woman was paid $30,000 less than a male employee performing comparable work.

Employee claims harassment? Consider transferring him


Employees who are forced to work under conditions that leave them little choice but to quit can still sue, alleging they were constructively discharged. You can prevent those suits by transferring the employee who says he is being harassed to another equivalent job.

Tell bosses: Many subtle--and not so subtle--comments can add up to evidence of age bias

Remind supervisors that when it comes to age discrimination, what they say matters. They should never comment directly on age, and should avoid references to “generational differences” or anything else that might be construed as code for age discrimination.

Justices may back job applicant in hijab case

Abercrombie & Fitch had a bad day in court Feb. 25 when its lawyer squared off against skeptical Supreme Court Justices hearing oral arguments in a case involving a teenager who says the Muslim headscarf she wore to an interview cost her a job at the preppy retail chain.

Fired Texas news producer kills self outside Fox HQ

An employee terminated from the Fox TV affiliate in Texas drove to New York City in January and shot himself outside News Corporation’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters.
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