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Discrimination / Harassment

Be alert to new legal risk: vaccine-status harassment

Harassing a co-worker because of his or her unvaccinated status might cross the line into unlawful protected-class harassment. In that case, an employer might have honest-to-goodness liability for allowing such harassment to continue uncorrected.

Paycheck Fairness Act stalls, lacking Senate votes

Legislation that would amend the Equal Pay Act to make it easier to sue for sex-based pay discrimination won’t become law this year, failing to win the backing of 60 senators necessary to overcome a filibuster.

HR pros gain broad Title VII protection

A recent federal appeals court decision may be good news for HR pros and bad news for employers that think they can get away with retaliation if they try to quash discrimination investigations.

Same-sex harassment may include nonsexual behavior

Don’t ignore a sexual harassment complaint just because the workplace consists of members of a single sex and there’s no claim that the harasser was seeking sexual favors.

Monitor all facilities for racist harassment

It’s hard to monitor everything that goes on when your company has far-flung operations, but it’s essential to keep tabs on—and put a stop to—conduct that could trigger a costly lawsuit. Two joint employers recently learned that lesson the hard way and will pay $2 million for their mistake.

Half have experienced or seen race bias at work

Nearly 50% of employees surveyed said they have been a victim of race discrimination at work or witnessed it during the past 12 months, according to a Harris poll taken in May on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder.

Supreme Court won’t hear racial slur case

Can employers be liable for the single use of an offensive word? A disgruntled employee wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on that question, but justices on May 17 declined to take his case.

Cost of denying pregnancy leave: $146,000

When an employee has pregnancy complications that might delay her return to work, consider offering additional leave. In addition to the FMLA, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act may compel employers to accommodate pregnant employees by granting time off.

Employment law changes: What to expect into 2022

Paid sick leave—an issue supported by President Biden and gaining steam in state legislatures—is the top legislative issue that employers expect to impact their businesses over the next 12 months, according to a new Littler survey of 1,100 HR professionals and in-house attorneys.

Disability bias: Prepare to pay huge damage awards

The ADA does more than entitle disabled employees to accommodations that help them perform their jobs. It also protects them against discrimination based on their disability. Juries are more than willing to make employers pay for blatant disability discrimination.