DISCRIMINATION / HARASSMENT

Not all skeevy conduct is sexual harassment

07/07/2015
That doesn’t mean employers should ignore a one-time incident or behavior brought to HR’s attention. You can and should end any behavior that may be perceived as offensive or harassing. Once you have, you can move on, as this recent Texas Supreme Court decision shows.

Here's your retaliation 'get out of jail free' card

07/01/2015
If you don’t know an employee has engaged in so-called protected activity, you can’t be liable for retaliation. A recent case demonstrates this.

Review policies in wake of same-sex ruling

06/29/2015
The Supreme Court’s landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage means HR departments must review company policies to root out all references to the gender of an employee’s spouse.

What's simmering under the surface of your workplace?

06/29/2015
There's a long list of behaviors that can create a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment in the eyes of the law. Do you know everything that's on it?

From the Fox29 newsroom: Anchor loses on reverse bias

06/29/2015
A white news anchor at the Fox29 television station in Philadelphia has lost a long-simmering reverse discrimination lawsuit that began in 2007 when he was fired for using the N-word during a production meeting called to discuss a news story on the use of the racial slur in society.

Stick with same interview questions for all candidates

06/29/2015
Interviews are often critical for sorting through many apparently qualified job applicants, and it’s critical to properly handle the interview process. Be sure you treat candidates equally, asking the same interview questions of everyone.

Make it easy to know status of promotion process

06/26/2015
Federal employees have a much shorter time frame than other employees in which to complain about discrimination. In fact, they must go to their equal employment opportunity (EEO) officer within just 45 days of the alleged discrimination. But that time limit doesn’t apply if the employee has no way of knowing she was the victim of it.

Provide clear rules on promotions to prevent failure-to-promote lawsuits

06/26/2015

Employers that provide clear rules on what employees must do before being considered for promotions can reduce the possibility of failure-to-promote lawsuits. That’s because employees who don’t follow those clear rules can’t argue they weren’t promoted on account of their membership in a protected class. They lost out because they didn’t follow the rules.

Act fast to intervene at first inkling that someone might have been sexually harassed

06/26/2015
If you take prompt, remedial action and then monitor the situation for possible continued harassment or retaliation, chances are that a one-time incident won’t mean losing a sexual harassment lawsuit. Of course, you still have to investigate every allegation, even if your first impression is that there wasn’t behavior serious enough to constitute sexual harassment.

You're not liable for customers' racial slurs

06/22/2015

Sure, judges expect employers to keep the work environment relatively free from harassment, at least when slurs and other bad behavior come from co-workers and supervisors. But a different, more lenient standard applies when the source is outside the company’s direct control.

Saks sex bias case settled

06/09/2015
In a sudden reversal, New York-based Saks Fifth Avenue has elected to settle a sex discrimination complaint filed by a transgender employee at the company’s store in Houston.

EPA claim can't rest on just one worker's pay

06/09/2015
An employee who sues under the EPA can’t pick and choose to whom she compares herself—for example, by selecting a man who holds the same job who happens to make more. She must consider all men and women in the same job classification.

When hiring, never consider or mention military reserve obligations

06/09/2015

Federal law protects applicants who belong to the military reserves from discrimination based on their service, and considering their military obligations when making hiring decisions is illegal. If anyone involved in hiring ex­­presses reluctance to hire a candidate because of his or her service, expect legal trouble. Make absolutely sure you had valid reasons for picking other candidates.

Don't tell harassed worker to 'move on'

06/08/2015

A new employee says her co-worker has sexually harassed her. You investigate and discover she’s telling the truth. You discipline the co-worker. Is that the end of the matter? Not if the new employee won’t stop talking about what happened and it’s beginning to interfere with her ability to get her job done.

Review policy after Supreme Court scarf ruling

06/05/2015
Consider amending your dress code policy in light of a June 1 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the EEOC in a case that pitted fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch against an Oklahoma teenager who wasn’t hired after wearing a Muslim headscarf to a job interview.
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