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Diversity Training In The Workplace: A Checklist For Avoiding Hidden Legal Traps

Discrimination claims continue to be a very real and expensive problem. One way employers are trying to combat workplace bias is by implementing diversity programs. Although the programs aren’t new, many employers are unaware of the serious hidden legal risks involved with diversity training. In one alarming case, Lucky Stores Inc. ended up paying out […]

Family And Medical Leave: Managing Employees With Chronic Health Problems And Poor Attendance-Without Getting Sued

Habitually absent or late employees can cause big headaches, leading you to discipline or even terminate those who don’t improve. But an employer who fired a worker with peptic ulcers for poor attendance recently learned the importance of using caution before discharging someone who might be covered by the family leave laws.

Terminating Employees: Supreme Court Makes It Easier To Fire Workers For Harassment And Other Misconduct; How To Do It Right

It was an employer’s worst nightmare come true. A manager fired for sexual harassment turned around and sued for wrongful termination and won $1.7 million in damages. But now, the same case has ended as a significant victory for employers who face charges they fired someone based on untrue allegations.

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 […]