There is no specific standard legal definition for what constitutes bullying, nor is there specific federal legislation in the United States that prohibits workplace bullying. However, employers could be liable under other theories of liability such as intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring. Accordingly, employers must take all necessary steps toward eliminating bullying and abusive behavior.
This legal insight analyzes Supreme Court precedent on the Reasonable Factor Other Than Age Defense and a new EEOC rule that makes it harder for employers to establish the RFOA defense in a disparate impact discrimination claim under the ADEA.
Following on the heels of the August 2011 and January 2012 reports, Lafe E. Solomon, acting general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, issued a third report on May 30, 2012, in the form of an Operations Management Memorandum, on NLRB cases involving social media.
California's Gender Nondiscrimination Act, AB 887, amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to add gender identity and gender expression as protected classes. This new law clarifies the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression" and protects transgender persons with respect to sex and gender.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as myriad state and local laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of religion in all aspects of employment. This includes: hiring, termination, pay, promotions, benefits, job assignments or any other aspect of employment. In addition, Title VII and other antidiscrimination laws require an employer to offer a reasonable accommodation in order to resolve conflicts between an individual's sincerely held religious belief and a work rule or condition of employment, unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship for the employer.
In 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 11,364 complaints of sexual harassment and presided over the judgment of $52.3 million worth of benefits to harassment victims. These numbers do not even begin to take into account those harassment claims, settlements, and litigation verdicts that were not adjudicated by the EEOC. But one thing is clear: harassment claims are brought by employees on a daily basis and the resolution of such claims can be a very costly proposition to employers. This Legal Insight addresses some of the most common issues surrounding harassment law and provides a roadmap for employers to follow in order to understand and comply with harassment obligations.
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