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Discrimination / Harassment

100%-healed policy may be automatic ADA violation

When employees return to work after an illness or injury, it’s natural to wonder if they’re really ready to resume their duties. Think twice before requiring them to prove they are fully healed before you allow them to come back. That could constitute an automatic violation of the ADA.

Stamp out racially hostile environment

It can be difficult for HR to keep track of every liability threat. You might never learn that a rogue supervisor is harassing subordinates. Without constant vigilance, it’s easy for a racially hostile work environment to fester.

Beware diversity goals that cause reverse bias

Employers are eager to recruit talent from every background, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or other protected characteristics. And they’re launching organization-wide initiatives to achieve their diversity goals. But sometimes, diversity initiatives can backfire, triggering lawsuits that allege reverse discrimination against majority-group members who perceive they’re missing out on opportunities for which they are qualified.

EEOC casts a skeptical eye on the use of AI in hiring

Employers considering adding or expanding use of artificial intelligence programs to screen job applicants, take note: The EEOC has announced a new initiative to examine the use of AI in hiring.

EEOC: Customer preference irrelevant in hiring

When the Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the EEOC began filing a series of lawsuits, like this one.

Survey: Most employers conduct pay equity reviews

Nearly three in five employers—58%—voluntarily conduct pay equity reviews to identify possible pay differences between employees performing similar work, according to new research by the Society for Human Resource Management.

‘Attractive people should expect harassment’: Really!?

When a female security guard complained that a male co-worker verbally and physically harassed her, her supervisor’s only response was telling her “she should expect sexual harassment based on her appearance.”

Review points-based attendance system now

Some employers use a points-based system to punish employees whose unplanned absences wreak havoc on operations. It can be effective. However, a system that’s too draconian or doesn’t allow for reasonable exceptions may invite litigation, especially from employees who claim they have an ADA-covered disability.

Remember, bias is illegal no matter who it helps

Title VII and other federal employment laws were designed to create a level playing field for all employees. The EEOC takes all discrimination complaints seriously, even when it appears one group that has historically suffered because of bias is treated better than another oppressed group.

Consider religious objections to vaccination

Legal experts say employers are within their rights to fire unvaxxed staff. However, Title VII’s religious discrimination provisions still apply. That means employers must weigh whether employees with sincerely held religious beliefs against vaccination are entitled to reasonable accommodations of those beliefs.