DISCRIMINATION / HARASSMENT

Harassment from subordinate can mean liability

08/29/2014
It’s not just harassment from co-workers and supervisors that can become the basis for a hostile environment claim. When a subordinate harasses his boss and the em­­ployer doesn’t intervene, the supervisor has a claim. That’s why it’s important to address all har­­assment, whatever its source.

Not hiring bikini models? Think twice before excluding men from job assignments

08/29/2014
There are some jobs where the employee’s sex is a “bona fide occupational qualification”—but not many. For the vast majority of positions, employers can’t exclude people of one sex and only hire members of the opposite sex. After a recent appellate decision, it seems unlikely that one-sex hiring will survive legal scrutiny.

Never stereotype jobs based on gender roles

08/29/2014
Remind supervisors and managers that they shouldn’t assign jobs or duties based on a worker’s gender. Nor should anyone in management make comments that could be interpreted as sexist or as assumptions that certain roles are best assigned to either men or women.

Use reasonable rules to beat discipline suits

08/29/2014
For the most part, courts don’t want to second-guess employer discipline. As long as you have reasonable rules in place, let employees know what those rules are and en­­force them consistently, most judges will uphold your disciplinary decisions.

Understand basics of complying with GINA genetic information law

08/21/2014
The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act, enacted in 2008, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their genetic information. It also bans harassing employees based on their genetic information and protects employees from retaliation for exercising their GINA rights.

Pregnancy unnecessary for pregnancy bias suit

08/19/2014
A woman doesn’t have to be pregnant to sue for discrimination under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). Wait, what?

LGBT added as protected class for federal contractors

08/18/2014
In a long-anticipated move, President Obama on July 21 amended Executive Order 11246 to prohibit discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The DOL has until late October to develop regulations implementing the order.

Kluwe punts on suing Vikings

08/18/2014
Former Minnesota Viking punter Chris Kluwe has decided to keep talking to team officials rather than file a $10 million lawsuit.

Involve attorney when honcho is alleged harasser

08/18/2014
Here’s a tricky situation that requires courage: An employee complains that a senior executive may be sexually harassing a subordinate. The best approach may be to contact your employer’s attorney for advice.

Manager hires only members of same class? Don't compound problems by firing them all

08/18/2014
In employment law, the adage that two wrongs don’t make a right is true. Don’t make the mistake an em­­ployer recently made when a super­­visor apparently favored members of his religion in hiring. It terminated them without providing a legitimate, performance-related reason.

One saving grace helped defeat bias lawsuit: Employee never applied for the job

08/18/2014
A court has concluded that em­­ployees looking for promotions or transfers have to make reasonable efforts to apply for a job before they can sue. That’s true even if they were discouraged from applying—unless it was obvious that applying would be futile and therefore ­pointless.

Put details in performance improvement plan

08/18/2014
You can’t prevent every lawsuit over a discharge, but you can be prepared. That preparation includes making sure you can point to solid, performance-based reasons for every termination. Lay the groundwork first with a performance improvement plan (PIP) and you will be well on your way to showing the court your decision was based on objective, measurable business reasons rather than some kind of prejudice or discrimination.

Track problems as soon as troublemaking starts

08/18/2014

Sometimes, employees who sense they are skating on thin ice at work will decide they want to keep their jobs, improve their output and adjust their attitudes to comply with your expectations. And sometimes they won’t. Determine which path such an employee has chosen by tracking both work performance and behavior over time.

EEOC publishes new guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination Act

08/14/2014
The EEOC has issued new guidance tying Pregnancy Dis­­crimi­­na­­tion Act requirements to the broader disability definition in the ADA Amendments Act.

Suit alleges women forced to kiss and wrestle at bar

08/14/2014
A midtown-Manhattan bar faces charges it forced waitresses to kiss one another and wrestle in cranberry sauce while patrons took pictures and videos.
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