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News Notes: High Court To Decide Whether HIV Is A Disability

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to resolve conflicting lower court decisions about whether people who are HIV-positive, but don’t have any AIDS symptoms, automatically qualify as disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case, which involved the part of the law dealing with discrimination in public accommodations, arose when a dentist refused to […]

News Notes: Aggressive Response To Discrimination Lawsuit Backfires

A jury has handed down a $3.8 million verdict in favor of a hotel manager who complained of race discrimination, thanks to the employer’s overly aggressive reply to the worker’s lawsuit. Rabah Khatib sued his employer, Tower Corp., claiming that he was harassed and discriminated against because he is Arab-American. He also charged that his […]

News Notes: Government Expanding Use Of Undercover Testers

Federal agencies responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws are stepping up their use of ‘testers’-individuals who act as job applicants for the sole purpose of scoping out whether your hiring practices are legal. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is now utilizing outside vendors to conduct the testing. And the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the […]

Employee Free Speech: Court Rules Employee Can’t Be Fired For Outburst About Affirmative Action; What Are Your Rights?

A white male employee has a confrontation with a Hispanic female co-worker in a deserted corridor. He grabs her by the lapel, shakes her, and tells her he is ‘tired of this Hispanic s—: us white guys are tired of being looked over.’ Clear grounds for termination? His employer thought so. But in a surprising […]

Background Checks: Complying With The New Federal Rules

  Congress recently changed the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require employers who obtain background reports on applicants and employees to follow detailed new authorization and disclosure rules. In an earlier article we described how these rules apply to credit reports. In this follow-up story, we’ll explain what the new law means for employers who […]

Investigating Employee Complaints: New Case Raises Important Questions About When You Should—And Shouldn’t—Bring In Your Lawyer

An employee comes to you and complains of discrimination and harassment. You’re worried the charges may blow up into something big so you want to keep the matter confidential. Your first instinct may be to call in your lawyer to get to the bottom of things, but that isn’t always the wisest course. An employer […]

Retaliating Against Whistleblowers: Employer To Pay $4.5 Million To Fired Controller Who Reported Tax Violations

Unhappy employees who complain about how you do business can try a manager’s patience fast. It can be tempting to simply reject a disgruntled worker’s accusations-and even to discipline or terminate an employee who seems bent on charging your company with wrongdoing. But when an employee objects to one of your business practices, it’s a […]

News Notes: New Free Information for Employers on Discrimination Laws

A new fact sheet summarizing federal employment-related laws is available from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It’s geared toward smaller businesses, but contains a helpful overview of legal obligations that could be of interest to all employers. It covers subjects such as which employers are subject to federal employment laws, how employees are counted for […]

News Notes: “Serial” Harasser Costs Employer $1 Million

Three employees were awarded more than $1 million in damages after claiming that their employer failed to stop a co-worker who was harassing company employees for nearly two decades. The employees, who worked as customer service representatives for Ameritech Corp., alleged the co-worker had harassed 18 women over a 19-year period before finally being fired […]