Overview: In addition to sexual harassment in the workplace, federal law as well as most state law prohibits harassment against an individual based on his or her membership in a protected class. Therefore, individuals are protected from harassment based on race, national origin, religion, etc. Harassment may take the form of using insulting epithets, slurs or negative stereotypes; making rude and offensive jokes; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; or written and graphic material such as cartoons that insult a particular individual or group based on that individual's or group's protected class.
To eliminate workplace harassment, employers should have a policy in place that strictly prohibits harassing behavior of any kind. All employees and supervisors should be provided with training on the policy. Further, employers should designate a multichannel reporting system to allow employees to bring workplace harassment complaints to the employer's attention. Further, employers should immediately respond to any complaints of harassment by investigating the matter and taking corrective action.
Trends: There a significant number of harassment lawsuits being brought based on race, age, religion etc. As the workplace becomes more diverse, this has led to an increase in harassment suits of all kind. The EEOC has recognized this and has recently brought suit against many employers based on various kinds of harassment.
Beth P. Zoller, J.D., Legal Editor
A federal jury in Iowa recently awarded a verdict totaling $240 million to 32 farm workers who were subject to a hostile work environment harassment and severe abuse at the hands of their employer and supervisors. Despite the fact that this was the largest judgment ever obtained by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency told the Des Moines Register that the award must be lowered because federal law limits the compensatory and punitive damages each plaintiff can receive to $50,000.
In a development that highlights the importance of promoting fair employment practices, the clothing and accessories retailer Wet Seal has agreed to settle a race discrimination class action lawsuit for $7.5 million.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has obtained significant jury verdicts for damages totaling $260 million in disability discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits. These verdicts stress the importance for employers to maintain strict zero tolerance policies for discrimination and harassment.
XpertHR's Retail Resource Center for HR helps retail employers handle their most vexing employment issues by bringing relevant resources together in one place for easy access.
The Tennessee Employment At-Will and Terms of Employment sections have been updated to reflect a discussion of the intentional interference with employment cause of action available to employees, illustrated in a recent case decided by the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
Internal investigations are one of the employer's most effective tools to respond to complaints of discrimination, harassment, waste, theft, fraud or other misconduct. This checklist can assist you in deciding whether to investigate, crafting the investigation to be effective, and producing useful results.
XpertHR has updated the Litigation section of the Investigations and Litigation chapter to reflect two recent federal court rulings pertaining to employer obligations in discrimination cases brought by the EEOC and litigation tactics when employers are accused of fostering hostile work environments.
XpertHR's High-Tech Resource Center for HR: Discrimination and Harassment helps high-tech employers handle their most challenging employment issues by bringing relevant resources together in one place for easy access.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Massachusetts employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to EEO discrimination.
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.
HR guidance on preventing and responding to workplace harassment, including instituting a policy, providing training to employees and supervisors, and immediately investigating harassment complaints.
Sorry, this feature is not yet available on the preview site