Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Showing posts for: Harassment & Discrimination

Photo of Kara Craig
Dec 10 2019
Harassment & Discrimination  

Q&A: Approach retirement discussions with caution

Question: We are downsizing our accounting department. Two long-term employees over the age of 60 have repeatedly mentioned their intention to retire soon. They also have the highest salaries in the department. Can we eliminate their positions in the reduction in force?   Answer: Not for the reasons you suggest! Proximity to retirement is…

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Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Sep 11 2019
DisabilityHarassment & DiscriminationTermination & Resignation  

Balancing competing employee interests can be tricky

An employer in Missouri is finding out the hard way that balancing the competing rights of employees can be complicated. In this case, a coworker with Tourette’s syndrome regularly and repeatedly shouted racial slurs at an African American employee. The employer tried to separate the workers so they didn’t have to work…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Jul 01 2019
DisabilityHarassment & DiscriminationSafety and Health  

Employers need objective basis to require fitness-for-duty exam

A federal district court recently ruled that a police department complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it required a bomb squad technician to undergo a fitness-for-duty exam. Their justification? The city had an objective basis for the fitness-for-duty exam request. In this case, the technician was experiencing hand…

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Photo of Kandis Sells
Jun 10 2019
Harassment & Discrimination  

New law in Washington protects isolated workers

Washington has a new law intended to prevent the sexual harassment or assault of certain isolated workers. The law applies to every hotel, motel, retail, security guard entity, or “property services contractor” that employs a custodian, security guard, hotel or motel housekeeper, or room-service employee who spends a majority of their working…

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Photo of Matt Norris
Jun 10 2019
Harassment & Discrimination  

All Oregon employers must comply with new anti-harassment law

On June 4, the Oregon legislature passed SB 726, which will (1) extend the statute of limitations from 1 year to 5 years for complaints and civil lawsuits related to harassment and some types of discrimination; (2) restrict the use of nondisclosure (NDA), nondisparagement, and no-rehire agreements; and (3) require…

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Photo of Kara Craig
May 17 2019
Harassment & Discrimination  

Saying “a lawyer made me do it” can destroy attorney-client privilege

Question: As an HR manager, I’m concerned about sharing legal advice that I receive on behalf of the company. What are the rules around this? Answer: All parties to an attorney-client communication made for the purpose of providing or obtaining legal advice must take steps to protect confidentiality. If you or someone else…

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Photo of April Uzzardo
May 06 2019
Harassment & DiscriminationTermination & Resignation  

Termination was for threats, not age discrimination

A drug store pharmacist who had been employed by a company for 34 years was terminated for threatening to use a gun at work, not because of his age or for reporting discrepancies in the store’s drug inventory, ruled a federal district court in California. A coworker reported to HR that the…

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Photo of Kandis Sells
Mar 08 2019
Q&AHarassment & Discrimination  

Q&A: Do we have harassment liability if a workplace relationship is consensual?

Question: An employee in a consensual, romantic relationship with a manager in another department has started complaining about “harassment,” which is really just her coworkers teasing her about the relationship. She’s also complaining that they’re having “problems” in the relationship which is spilling over into hostile treatment at work by the manager. The owner is ready to terminate her for continuing to bring her drama into the workplace. Are there any legal concerns we should consider?

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Photo of Kara Craig
Dec 20 2018
Q&AHarassment & DiscriminationPrivacy & Confidentiality  

Q&A: Know how to handle the aftermath of a harassment investigation

Question: I just completed a harassment investigation. We verified that harassment occurred and terminated the harasser. Everyone seems to know what happened and tensions are high in our small office. What else can I do? 

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Photo of Jon Benson
Dec 17 2018
Q&AEmployee BenefitsHarassment & DiscriminationLabor RelationsWage and Hour  

Q&A: No-fault attendance policies must allow many exceptions

Question: We have a “no fault” attendance policy which assigns points for absences, tardies, and early departures. Employees are disciplined and eventually terminated if they reach a certain number of points. We know we have to allow exceptions for legally protected time off, but what if it’s unclear whether an absence is protected?  

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