Employment & Labor Insider

Employment & Labor Insider

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Tag Archives: Investigations

After the investigation: Now what?

Posted in HR
Last week, we talked about employment investigations. This week, I’d like to talk about what employers do with the information they gathered during the investigation. There are two main tasks: No. 1: Figure out what probably happened. No. 2: Decide what action to take based on No. 1. It’s almost impossible to generalize about No. 1 because the… Continue Reading

9 traits of a bang-up workplace investigation

Posted in HR
What makes a workplace investigation so good that you just can’t wait to show the EEOC investigator what you did? And you’re like, “Plaintiff’s lawyer, take us to court — please!” All right, maybe nothing would make it that good, but here are nine things employers can do to ensure that they at least won’t be… Continue Reading

That smarts! Porn “sting” operation gets employer “stung” for retaliation

Posted in Retaliation
This should have been an open-and-shut case. For the employer, that is, not the employee. Lufkin Industries, Inc., had an employee, William Fisher, who was a 55-year-old African-American. One day, Mr. Fisher got into a verbal tiff with his 31-year-old white supervisor, and the supervisor called him “Boy.” Mr. Fisher was offended and complained to… Continue Reading

9 “fun” facts about workplace harassment, from the EEOC

Posted in Harassment
Last week, I shared with you what I didn’t like about the proposed Enforcement Guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on workplace harassment. Well, this is warm-and-fuzzy week. Moving on to the parts of the proposed guidance that I thought were well done, I’ve tried to boil the rest of the proposed guidance into nine… Continue Reading

Workplace investigations and the case of the planted peanut butter

Posted in Americans with Disabilities Act, Discrimination, Harassment
I’m a week late with this follow-up. (Sorry.) Two weeks ago, I posted about an employee (fictionally named “Zoey”) who had a peanut allergy. After she asked a peanut-butter-loving co-worker (“Addison”) to be considerate, Zoey found a big glob of peanut butter smeared under her desk, which caused her to get sick. Addison denied being responsible. To… Continue Reading

About that new “cat’s paw” decision . . .

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Misconduct, Retaliation, USERRA
Employers should beware of being too quick to believe an employee who accuses a co-worker of wrongdoing. If the accuser has an illegal motive (such as discrimination or retaliation), and if the employer is “negligent” in investigating before taking action against the co-worker, then the employer could be legally responsible. So says the U.S. Court of Appeals… Continue Reading

Sex on TV: Final FAQs for employers about the Roger Ailes case

Posted in Harassment
Well, Gretchen is out, Roger is out, and Megyn is in. Your Magic 8-Ball is here to answer the sexual harassment questions that employers are dying to ask. No. 1. I thought sexual harassment investigations were supposed to be confidential. Wasn’t it inappropriate for all of the Fox on-air talent to be expressing their opinions in public about whether… Continue Reading

Is sexual harassment training a turn-off for men?

Posted in Harassment
A semi-recent article in the New York Post — “The Corporate ‘Cure’ for Sexual Harassment Only Feeds the Disease” — cited a couple of studies that allegedly proved that sexual harassment training is worse than doing nothing because it makes men resentful and more likely to tolerate harassment. Wow. That’s terrible! Except that it’s not precisely true. What these… Continue Reading

Why shouldn’t supervisors investigate workplace harassment? They’re too normal.

Posted in Harassment
I have recommended on this blog and in harassment training that “operations” people (in other words, people who aren’t in Human Resources or lawyers) avoid the temptation to investigate workplace harassment complaints on their own. A commenter asked me last week why I said this. I thanked her for giving me the inspiration for a blog… Continue Reading

Harassment “must-have” no. 4: The Determination

Posted in Harassment
It’s the moment of truth! (Dum-dum-DUM!) Two weeks ago, we talked about harassment “must-haves” 1 and 2: a good, plain-language policy, and training. Last week, we talked about “must-have” 3: the investigation. Now it’s time to talk about “must-have” 4: a fair, legally defensible determination of what happened and what action to take. During the investigation… Continue Reading

“Must-haves” for your harassment investigation

Posted in Harassment
Last week, I posted about harassment “must-haves” for employers, and talked in detail about the first two: a good policy, and training. This week I’d like to talk about “must-have” no. 3 – a prompt, thorough, and fair investigation. PROMPT. “Prompt,” in the context of a harassment investigation, means that you act as soon as you… Continue Reading