Preventing sexual harassment among employees is important for any employer. Have a clear sexual harassment policy in place, including a way for victims to report any problems in a safe, confidential manner. Provide anti-harassment training that educates employees about what sexual harassment is and how to recognize it. These measures can help prevent a potential court case in the future.
Developing Clear Policies
To avoid employer liability, it’s a good idea to have a no-tolerance policy concerning sexual harassment. A sexual harassment policy should include a definition of sexual harassment, how employees can report it and a description of disciplinary procedures. Make sure that your policy is communicated to all employees. Make it clear that the policies apply to all employees, regardless of that person’s rank within the company. If you are not sure where to start, there are many model sexual harassment policies available that you can tailor to fit your company’s needs. It’s a good idea to put the policy in writing and distribute it to everyone within the company.
It’s important to educate employees about what sexual harassment includes and what an employee should do if they are a victim. Sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual advances and requests for sexual favors, and in some cases it can also include offensive joking. Make it clear that anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment. Women report being victims of sexual harassment more frequently. but men sometimes report being sexually harassed as well. Sexual harassment can include both verbal and non-verbal behavior. Legally, a court will look at whether a reasonable person would feel offended. Not all employees will be offended by the same conduct. A key factor in sexual harassment is whether or not the behavior is unwelcome.
Consistency is important when enforcing an anti-harassment policy. Create a system for reporting that allows employees to feel safe when communicating their concerns. Treat any incident as if it could become a court case in the future, and document any action taken in resolving the problem. Employers should try to be as objective as possible without questioning the person making a report based on their personality or reputation. Quickly investigate any problems that are reported and discipline any employee found to have committed harassment. If no disciplinary action is taken, note the reasons why. If you need assistance as an employer or an employee with a sexual harassment claim contact our employment lawyers.
A wrongful termination lawsuit may be brought when a former employee alleges that he or she was fired for an illegal reason or purpose. Wrongful termination claims can cost the defendant business money and credibility with future workers, bankers, and vendors. Taking time to learn about national and state employment laws and creating company policies that adhere to them make wrongful termination lawsuits less likely to occur.
At will employment is an essential concept of employment law. In the United States, at will employment means that the employer can fire an employee for no reason or any reason. There are limitations to at will employment law, because public policy, state and federal anti-discrimination laws, and employment contracts between the employer and an employee may be used to otherwise define the employer and working relationship, its term, or financial obligations to each other.
An experienced employment attorney is essential to the employer’s ability to create sound employer-employee agreements. The employment law firm understands the industry group and business climate of the client firm. Knowledge of what other employers in the same field offer to their employees is relevant information. An understanding of how other employers present and define employment terms in their agreements is necessary to the employer firm.
An employee agreement that defines key concepts, such as at will employment, is essential. The employment law firm will guide the employer’s need to define certain terms, including employee dismissal (e.g. cause for termination). The employer may decide to define dismissal (cause) to include employee misconduct, failure to perform duties, fraud, embezzlement, and more.
Federal and State Employer Anti-Discrimination Laws
Federal and state laws protect employees from an employer’s discrimination based upon factors like race, disability status, gender, national origin, age, or color. The law protects employees from employers who sexually stereotype and dismiss employees. For instance, firing a gay man or homosexual woman violates federal laws. Not promoting a pregnant woman or firing her because of her status is against these laws. Terminating a worker over forty because he or she holds a customer-facing role is against federal anti-discrimination statutes.
An employer should engage human resources professionals to protect both employees and the firm from wrongful termination lawsuits. By adhering to and practicing federal and state anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, the firm reduces its exposure to costly wrongful termination and discrimination claims.
Wrongful Termination Claims
Some wrongful termination lawsuits are brought by employees for reasons other than discrimination in the workplace. For instance, an employee may believe that dismissal occurred when he or she did not break the law as requested by a supervisor.
Employment law and wrongful termination cases are complex matters. An experienced employment attorney can assist the employer in creating a healthy and fair environment for its workers. Contact us now to discuss your firm’s requirements.
It may be difficult for a worker to determine whether discrimination is present in the workplace. He or she may be told, “You weren’t a good fit for a job,” or “You don’t fit our culture.” Employer explanations in such cases are designed to confuse the worker, or cause him or her to believe the fault of not “fitting in” is theirs. In such situations, the worker may benefit from consultation with an experienced employment lawyers to learn more about employment discrimination or wrongful termination remedies.
Employment discrimination and discrimination in the workplace are prohibited by U.S. laws. Discrimination may be present but more subtle today than in years past. Discrimination is present when the employer or institution arrives at decisions about workers based upon religion, sex, disability status, national origin, age, race or color. It is illegal to discriminate against workers in the United States according to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
There are two basic types of discrimination in the workplace:
Direct discrimination is easy to identify, such as when a business determines a worker’s job or pay based on his or her age, sex, religion, or race instead of merit and ability. When an employer or organization directly discriminates against an individual in this way, it is difficult for them to legally support these actions.
In comparison, indirect discrimination is more difficult to identify because it involves less obvious behavior. For instance, a company’s regulations, practices, and policies do not appear to favor a group over another when an attorney examines the employee manual. In practice, however, the business may indeed discriminate against certain individuals.
For instance, some people working at the company may be less able to meet requirements or comply with the company’s “best practices.” A working mother or a man taking care of a disabled son may not be able to adhere to the company’s full-time week mandate of forty hours every week of the year. The employer may discourage taking the lunch hour out of the office even if the employee must clock out for lunch. An employee with a serious medical condition may need time off for tests or treatment and may be prevented from working a full day or week.
Stand Up to Discrimination
Job discrimination includes practices and actions of a business or organization or its agents and representatives that include the unfair or illegal treatment of workers, candidates for promotion, prospective employees, or present employees. All workers in the United States are protected from discrimination for age, race, pregnancy, or gender factors. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against, contact us today.
Goldman & Ehrlich is located in Chicago, IL and serves clients in and around Chicago, Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, and McHenry County.
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