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Discrimination / Harassment

Avoid repeating Apple’s surprising $25 million discrimination mistake

The EEOC handled 5,500 complaints about national-origin discrimination in fiscal year 2022, the lowest number on record. Take that as a sign that employers have largely succeeded in stamping out bias based on where an applicant or employee comes from. But the federal government is still vigorously litigating national-origin claims it does uncover, going after employers that treat applicants or employees unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world.

Psst, have you heard…? The answer should probably be ‘no’

What is it about confidentiality that rubs some employers the wrong way? Earlier this year, we were treated to the story of an employer-provided “priest” brought in to hear employees’ “confessions.” Now we have the case of an employer using its employee assistance program to violate an employee’s privacy.

Holiday scheduling: How to keep the peace

Federal law says you must make a reasonable effort to accommodate employees’ “sincere” religious beliefs, including trying to give them time off for religious observances. The best way to minimize scheduling disputes, especially around religious holidays, and avoid legal trouble is through a few smart preventative measures.

Be more alert than ever for anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim bias

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has brought the Israeli-Palestinian conflict front and center into our lives and, as a result, also into our workplaces. You can’t stop employees from talking about current events, especially when those events are so horrific and so impactful on so many of us. The key for employers is to make sure those discussions remain calm and respectful.

It’s up to HR: Act fast to fix supervisor gaffes

Supervisors say the darndest things. It’s up to HR to clear things up before some dumb comment lands your organization in deep legal trouble. Don’t delay! If you know the boss was in the wrong, correct the record ASAP and make things right—the sooner, the better. Add a heartfelt apology on behalf of the company, too.

Be on high alert for harassment: You could be liable for clients’ racial hostility

You no doubt know employers are responsible for protecting employees from co-worker and supervisor racial hostility and harassment. But what about hostility aimed at employees by customers and clients? The EEOC takes the position that employers must rein in hostility, no matter where it originates.

You can’t dodge Title VII by misclassifying employees as independent contractors

One benefit of engaging independent contractors to perform work is that contractors don’t count as employees for purposes of complying with laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. But, just calling someone an independent contractor doesn’t necessarily mean she is one. She might really be an employee.

National-origin discrimination: What you need to know

The rapidly increasing diversity of the U.S. workforce requires all managers to be aware of their legal responsibilities when dealing with applicants and employees from different races, ethnic groups and religions.

Prepare to comply: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act regulations due soon

The EEOC is gearing up to begin enforcement of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The law, enacted in December 2022, requires employers to reasonably accommodate a worker’s limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an undue hardship.

Think twice before demanding proof an employee’s religion requires accommodation

Thanks to a series of employee-friendly court decisions, workers now have a far easier time winning lawsuits alleging their employers failed to accommodate their religious beliefs and practices. Employers are greatly limited in how far they can go to require employees to prove their religious beliefs and practices require accommodations.