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Discrimination / Harassment

Look into even suspect harassment complaints

Don’t assume every last-minute harassment complaint is a sham. Instead, investigate.

Fort Worth beverage distributor resolves bias complaints

A Fort Worth beverage distributor that is also a federal contractor agreed to pay $350,000 in back pay and interest to resolve charges it steered applicants into specific jobs based on their gender, race and ethnicity.

Review prior complaints before terminating

Before approving any recommendation to terminate a worker, review HR records to see if the worker has filed any discrimination or harassment complaints. Ensure the recommendation wasn’t motivated by retaliation.

How to prevent some class actions: Let local managers make compensation decisions

Having a highly centralized pay and promotion system may make employers more vulnerable to class-action litigation. On the other hand, giving some pay and promotion authority to local managers and supervisors may prevent class actions.

New employee just isn’t working out? Document specific problems before firing

Sometimes, you discover that an employee you or your predecessor hired simply isn’t qualified or capable of doing her job. Before you fire her, possibly triggering a lawsuit, take the time to document why she’s not working out.

Investigate every claim of sexual harassment

With the rise of the #MeToo movement, many employers worry that alleged victims will falsely accuse someone of sexual harassment. It’s a realistic fear, but you should never use that as an excuse not to investigate sexual harassment complaints when they surface.

Prevention key to cutting harassment liability

The best way to avoid liability for sexual harassment is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. That’s why it’s so important to educate supervisors on your sexual harassment policy.

Tapioca Express settles EEOC sex harassment suit

Asian tea and snack chain Tapioca Express and two of its franchisees have agreed to a 30-month EEOC consent decree.

Offer to ‘help’ doesn’t equal quid pro quo harassment

A supervisor’s offer to “help” someone reach their career goals in exchange for romantic involvement isn’t enough to support allegations of quid pro quo harassment. To make the employer liable, the supervisor must have had the power to actually “help” and then deny that assistance.

Warn bosses: They may be held personally liable for hostile environment harassment

Warn supervisors: If they insult and abuse employees based on protected characteristics, they’re not just putting the company at risk. That kind of misbehavior may mean punitive damages against them personally.