Muslim teacher may proceed with national origin harassment claim

by Emily Hobbs-Wright

A Turkish-born Muslim teacher claimed that her school had a culture of racial and ethnic hostility. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions apply to Colorado employers) recently ruled that her complaints of national origin discrimination may move forward. This case offers several lessons on how to handle cultural differences in the workplace.  Cute lovely school children at classroom having education activi

Principal made and allowed insensitive comments

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Not funny: mocking coworker’s spouse’s religion

by Zachary D. Morahan

The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, 2nd Department, recently issued an important decision in which it held that an employer faced liability under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) for allowing employees to mock the religious beliefs of a coworker’s spouse. This case has important ramifications for both public and private-sector employers.  Not Amused

Background

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Handling harassment: What constitutes a hostile work environment?

by Joanna Vilos

Employees sometimes complain about undesired or harassing conduct that does not rise to the level of a hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A decision from a Wyoming federal court reveals which steps employers can take to avoid liability and how employers can defend themselves from an employee’s allegations.  Manager putting his hand on the shoulder of his secretary

Hostile work environment claims

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Employees who posed for photo as KKK members lose race bias case

by Emily Bensinger Edmunds

It should go without saying that dressing up as a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) member in modified work clothing at work is unacceptable conduct in the eyes of any employer. As this case from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania shows, three employees who were fired after being photographed dressed in KKK garb couldn’t prevail on a theory of reverse race discriminationProtest against racism

Background

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Passing on disabled candidates for safety reasons is risky business

by Erica E. Flores

Election season can bring out the best and worst in our nation. The important issues that should be the focus sometimes take a backseat to headline-grabbing one-liners. But true leaders emerge at some point in nearly every campaign. It remains to be seen which of this cycle’s large group of presidential contenders will have such a moment, but we can learn a lot from leaders of the past as we wait for it.  Caution Fork-lift trucks operating sign

On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. After taking the oath of office, he delivered his inaugural address. Speaking to a nation in the grip of the Great Depression, he famously told the American people that the only thing they had to fear was fear itself—”nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Eighty-two years later, Roosevelt’s words still ring true in many contexts, including the modern workplace.

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Policies designed to protect employees may do more harm than good

by Jeremy M. Brenner

The law prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants based on a number of protected statuses. Employers often implement policies that are intended to benefit workers but actually cause illegal systemic discrimination. Unfortunately, no matter how genuine an employer’s good intentions are, they typically do not excuse it from discriminatory conduct. Read on to learn some of the pitfalls employers face when implementing seemingly neutral — or even beneficial — workplace policies.   Folder with the label Policies

Facts

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Dealing with mental disabilities in the workplace

by Jonathan Mook

These days, the news is filled with stories of returning veterans who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental impairments and have problems adjusting to civilian life at home and in the workplace. The issues employers face when dealing with veterans and other employees with mental disorders were put on display by a Virginia case in which an Army veteran who suffers from PTSD sued his employer after he was fired for threatening to harm or kill other employees. The court’s decision provides helpful lessons about handling employees with mental disorders, especially when employees have legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)PTSD word cloud with abstract background

Background

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Policing the profiler: Ageist stereotypes exposed

by Robert Kaiser

There is a common belief in the marketplace that it’s harder to find a job if you are over 50. However, it’s difficult to establish whether that’s true, and there are many advantages to hiring a mature employee. But a recent case decided by the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota employers) highlights that certain stereotypes about older workers may persist.  Dont be ageist

Hiring process looks a little shady

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Managing an injured employee

by Al Vreeland

Few things create more headaches in the HR suite than an employee who is injured on the job and then resists returning to work. HR’s headaches are usually centered at the intersection of state workers’ compensation laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). A federal judge in Birmingham dispensed a little relief for one employer’s headache, finding it had done all it could to help an injured employee return to workor at least all it was required to do.  Help! I Fell at Work

The basics

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Interactions with Asperger’s: Discrimination, wrongful discharge claims go to trial

Soon after an employee provided his employer with information about his Asperger’s syndrome, it informed him that his contract wouldn’t be renewed because “Your Asperger’s got in the way of your ability to interact with your boss, and we are tired of it.” Afterward, the employee brought claims of wrongful termination and discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employer attempted to persuade the court that even if all the evidence he presented was true, the employee would still be unable to prevail at trial. Let’s see how things turned out.  You Are Fired

Background

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