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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Discrimination / Harassment

Case of the Week: Apply your dress and grooming policies consistently

You probably have a policy that spells out your dress and grooming rules, which may limit certain employee clothing choices that might offend customers, clients or co-workers. But how you enforce that rule may mean the difference between winning quick dismissal of a discrimination lawsuit or a big jury award against your organization.

Be sure you can explain business-related rationale for firing decision

Courts don’t like it when employers appear to make knee-jerk decisions. Before firing someone, step back and really think through your justification. Make sure the rationale for the termination is truly business-related. Then document your reasoning in case a court later asks why you did what you did.

Your best practice for beating bias lawsuits: Keep accurate records of all HR decisions

Here’s HR’s best employment-law bet: Assume every employee you fire will try to sue you. That means basing every termination decision on solid business-related reasons, documented in real time. Your good records will often be enough to get a lawsuit tossed out quickly.

Compliance guidance for the construction industry

Employers in the construction industry face special challenges in complying with federal anti-discrimination and workplace safety laws. The nature of construction work, oversight by government enforcement agencies and the zeal of opportunistic plaintiffs’ lawyers make it essential for construction companies to nail their compliance responsibilities.

Witnessed harassment? Here’s what to do

It’s pretty clear that sexual and other harassment at work hasn’t disappeared despite the #MeToo movement and the proliferation of high-profile news reports. One possible reason? Most employees don’t know what to do when they suspect harassment. Do you report it or ignore it and leave it to the victim to seek help?

Respond to shifting burdens of proof in discrimination lawsuits

Over the years, the Supreme Court has developed a framework for testing whether an employer’s actions are evidence of discrimination or the result of legitimate business practices. The test is often referred to as the McDonnell-Douglas burden-shifting test.

Be prepared to explain pay disparities

It’s fine to pay some workers more than others. The key is understanding the federal Equal Pay Act and its state equivalents.

Poll: More than half of workers over the age of 40 have experienced discrimination

Age bias is alive and well in the workplace 56 years after enactment of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, according to a new survey conducted by Moneyzine.com.

Beware the latest HR legal danger: Stockholder lawsuits

There’s a new HR danger out there: Shareholders can now sue corporate officers—including the professionals who head up HR departments—for breach of fiduciary duty.

Revise handbook to address remote harassment

If you haven’t reviewed your employee handbook in the last year or so and updated it to reflect new laws and important HR trends, you should do so soon. Otherwise, you’re probably working with an outdated and legally risky document that may do more harm than good. Here are some proactive handbook changes to consider making now to address harassment issues that can arise when employees work remotely.