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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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Discrimination / Harassment

Warn supervisors against screening applicants by national origin

This seems obvious, but apparently it needs restating: Managers and supervisors should never consider where an applicant was born when making hiring decisions. Two recent cases illustrate the peril.

Check for possible retaliation before approving discipline

Before approving a termination, always review the case details. Be on the lookout for signs that the action might be motivated by a supervisor’s attempt to retaliate against the employee.

5 tips to support transgender employees in the workplace

Transgender people are under attack. They often experience discrimination, harassment and a lack of understanding, including from their work colleagues and bosses. As an employer, it is important to create a safe and inclusive environment for all employees, including those who identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming. Here are five steps you can take.

Case of the Week: Ensure job descriptions reflect actual work

Inaccurate or out-of-date job descriptions can trigger a variety of lawsuits, including allegations that you violated the Equal Pay Act or tolerated discrimination by paying some employees less than others who do the same or similar work.

Case of the Week: Blanket criminal history ban costs employer $2.7 million

The EEOC has long taken the position that automatically barring those with criminal records from employment may disparately impact certain protected classes and therefore amount to race or national origin discrimination under Title VII. The agency says employers should evaluate each applicant’s record and assess whether the conviction is job related and a hiring ban is for a justifiable business reason.

Step in to stop workplace toxicity that disproportionately harms women

According to new research released in the MIT Sloan Management Review, women are 41% more likely than men to experience a toxic corporate culture. The pandemic appears to have widened the toxic-culture gender gap.

Layoffs on the horizon? Check for disparate impact before you cut jobs

Before finalizing your list of employees to lay off, analyze the potential impact on newly hired workers. Will the terminated employees disproportionally belong to a particular protected class?

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.