DISCRIMINATION / HARASSMENT

Does our lactation room need a lock?

01/21/2015
Q. An employee will be returning from maternity leave next month. She has indicated she intends to express milk during her breaks. We have a room that is rarely used that seems perfect but it does not have a lock. Will this suffice?

Trucking company won't collect fees from EEOC

01/21/2015
The EEOC has won a reduction of a large attorneys’ fee award it had been ordered to pay for an allegedly frivolous lawsuit.

Employee's discrimination complaint shouldn't derail legitimate discipline

01/21/2015
Some employees think they can keep from getting fired by going to HR or the EEOC with a discrimination complaint. Then, they reason, if their employer does terminate them, it will be retaliation. Fortunately, that’s not true.

Justice Dept. expands sex bias protections

01/21/2015
The U.S. Department of Justice has announced it will interpret the ban on sex discrimination in the Civil Rights Act’s Title VII to include gender identity. The Department of Justice may not bring actions against private employers, but can enforce the new interpretation against state and local governments.

Boss behaving badly? Maybe not harassment

01/21/2015
Employers should certainly strive to make their workplaces as pleasant and harassment-free as possible. But, sometimes supervisors make that almost impossible because they can’t refrain from acting like jerks.

After firing boss accused of harassment, zip your lips

01/15/2015
If a court concludes that one of your supervisors created a hostile work environment, you probably don’t want to retain him. But don’t go overboard with the explanations.

Ask court to limit claims when employee acts as his or her own lawyer

01/15/2015
Good news for employers that are sued by pro se litigants—employees who act as their own lawyers. Courts really don’t want to waste time on cases that no attorney has seen fit to take on. However, they also don’t want to let lack of legal representation sink an otherwise solid claim.

Minneapolis rated best city for LGBT protection

01/15/2015
Minneapolis earned the top spot in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual rankings of American cities with local laws and policies that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from dis­­crimi­­na­­tion. Minneapolis scored a perfect 100 on the gay-rights advocacy organization’s scale.

Iron-clad misconduct proof not needed to fire

01/15/2015
Worried about terminating an employee because the allegations against him amount to a he-said, she-said situation? Relax. Courts don’t want to become HR departments and don’t want to mediate every dispute.

Transgender employees: The new protected category?

01/14/2015

By now, most employers are familiar with the list of categories protected from employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: race, color, religion, national origin and sex. Other federal anti-discrimination laws add additional protected categories to the list: disability (ADA), age (Age Discrimination in Employment Act), pregnancy (Pregnancy Dis­­crimi­­nation Act) and genetic information (Genetic Information Non­­dis­­crimi­­na­­tion Act). Absent is any mention of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In court, consistency is key: Prepare to justify all deviations from company rules

01/14/2015
If you decide to deviate from your usual rules, make sure you have a legitimate business-related reason for doing so. Otherwise, you risk potential litigation if the affected employee claims the real reason you made an exception was his protected status.

If you can't say anything nice ... Comments about pregnancy are never wise

01/14/2015

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: The only appropriate comment when an em­­ployee announces she’s pregnant is a cheerful “Congratulations!” Anything else can end up being used against you if you eventually have to discipline or even fire the expecting mother.

NYC, Rochester rated state's best cities for LGBT rights

01/14/2015
New York City and Rochester scored perfect 100 ratings in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual assessment of American cities with local laws and policies that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination.

Paper trail of minor infractions can backfire

01/14/2015
Many bosses succumb to the temptation to build a disciplinary case against the employee by citing a long list of minor rule violations. But that can be dangerous, especially if the same violations don’t trigger the same scrutiny for other employees.

EEOC sues oilfield contractor over alleged sexual harassment

01/05/2015
An oilfield services company in Iraan, Texas, faces an EEOC lawsuit after its only female roust­­about was fired.
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