Questions Do antidiscrimination laws apply to small businesses? What should I do if an employee complains about discrimination? Are English-only rules legal? Which disabilities are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act? If an employee reveals genetic information to a supervisor, do we have
When an employee complains about discrimination or harassment -- to you, to a government agency, or to someone within your business -- you must treat that employee with care. If you take any action that the employee might view as punishment or retaliation for the complaint, you might find yourself on
The law gives employers a lot of leeway in creating the culture they desire in their workplace, and this includes allowing employers to decide how employees should dress and groom. Some employers like to set a professional tone by requiring employees to wear suits. Other employers like to foster a more creative environment by allowing employees to wear T-shirts and blue jeans. Just about any rule is fine, as long as it doesn't violate laws against discrimination or harassment.
Every employer has a responsibility to maintain a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. This is a legal obligation, but it also makes good business sense. Allowing sexual harassment to flourish in the workplace results in poor employee morale, low productivity, and lawsuits.
In 2008, the ADA Amendments Act was passed. This law strengthens protections provided in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for people with disabilities. The likely result of the new law is that more employees will be found to have disabilities and, therefore, be protected from discrimination and entitled to reasonable accommodations.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), signed in May 2008, prohibits health insurers from using genetic information to deny insurance coverage or determine premiums. It also prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on an applicant's or employee's genetic information and requires employers to keep employee genetic information confidential. GINA applies to federal and state governments, as well as to private employers with at least 15 employees.
Traditionally, gay and lesbian employees have found little in the law to protect them from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Times are changing, however, and a growing number of employers are finding themselves responsible for providing a workplace that's free of harassment and discrimination
Our company is growing quickly, and we are writing our first employee handbook. I've drafted a policy prohibiting harassment, and I'm wondering whether our company also has to provide sexual harassment training to employees, managers, or both. Is training a legal requirement?
I manage a customer service call center at a local bank with a dozen branches. We have an employee who is wonderful in every way, but our customers complain that they can't understand him. He is from Egypt; he knows English well, but he has a very heavy accent. I need to address these complaints, but it doesn't seem fair to discipline him just because of the way he sounds. And, I may need to transfer him to a position that doesn't require him to interface with customers by phone (people seem to have an easier time understanding him in person). Am I going to get in trouble for discriminating?
Employers must investigate claims of workplace sexual harassment. Sometimes, employers take other actions during an investigation, such as separating the employee claiming harassment from the alleged harasser or placing the alleged harasser on leave. If you are either the employee claiming harassment
Most employers are anxious when faced with discrimination and harassment complaints. And with good reason: Such complaints can lead to workplace tension, government investigations, and even costly legal battles. But if an employer takes such complaints seriously and follows a careful strategy for dealing with it, the employer can reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit and even improve employee relations in the process.