How to Deal Effectively with Harassment in the Workplace

How to Deal Effectively with Harassment in the Workplace


It’s almost impossible to open a news website without seeing a headline regarding sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace.

Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein… They represent organizations that have just gone mad, that have failed to protect their people. The list of organizations and accused persons continues to grow. I find it particularly offensive when I consider how I want my family—both men and women—to be treated in the workplace. I am dismayed to discover the extent to which organizations are failing to protect their employees from predatory and exploitative behavior.

Those of us who are Christian professionals in the workplace have an obligation to not only live by the law but also demonstrate behavior that is biblical, and not a reflection of the current aberrant culture. We must ensure that all we do, and all the policies we institute and the responses we make to issues are above reproach.

I am in no way claiming that Christian organizations are perfect. Some have also failed (some, spectacularly) in this area. This is not just a Hollywood or industry-specific issue; it is a moral issue, a sin that knows no bounds. The Christian community has had its own share of scandals. Church leaders have failed us, and international mission leaders have failed us as well.

At In HIS name HR, we serve organizations across all professional sectors. We have served for-profit and nonprofit enterprises, higher education institutions, including Christian higher education institutions, churches, and ministries. One thing is for certain, when you get two or more people together, issues and conflicts inevitably arise—at the very least, innocent misunderstandings—which, when not handled well, can lead to complete pandemonium.

The Three-Prong Approach

What should organizations do to protect their employees from harassment? We at In HIS Name HR believe that it is far easier to do than most realize. We suggest a three-prong approach:

  • Policy
  • Training
  • Response

Policy

Have a good policy in place that is easy to understand by both employees and managers. Have it embedded into your employee handbook and ensure everyone has signed for it. We promote having only a handbook. Most organizations can cover every topic in one handbook without adding additional policies. Having additional polices creates confusion, especially when you have to update multiple documents in multiple locations.

A best practice is to have the handbook online with a date embedded in the footer and have all employees in an employee meeting sign a receipt that they have been informed of the version and location. Then follow up in an email with a link to the handbook and a return receipt memorializing the fact that the employee has received the updated version.

Training

Training should include awareness for all employees, and awareness, detection, and prevention for leadership. Employees need to know what is and is not acceptable in the workplace. For instance, there are two separate types of sexual harassment in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: a hostile work environment and quid pro quo.

A hostile workplace is just that: a workplace that is hostile and what the average or “reasonable person” would deem inappropriate. The complexity derives from the interpretation of an offense—what is offensive to one person might be considered the norm by another person. What good training does is help both the offended and the offender navigate how to abate a situation that risks elevating to explosive.

The second type of harassment, quid pro quo, derives its name from the Latin expression meaning “this for that,” doing a favor for a favor, as it were, where something is given in exchange for something else. In its most negative connotation, in terms of harassment, it is used when a person in a position of authority exploits their power to pressure or manipulate a subordinate to submit to behavior or activity, typically sexual in nature, which either promises a favorable outcome or threatens them with repercussions. Such favors include promotion, pay increases or bonuses, while threats may be made to compromise employment, reputation, or future opportunities. Both employees and leadership must be able to recognize the signs of such quid pro quo, and have sufficient ability or recourse to safely put a stop to it.

One aspect of the training is to “be real,” to let everyone know that certain behaviors are not acceptable, whether in the workplace or anyplace. Let them know that they should not do it, tolerate it, or ignore it, and they should personally help make the workplace an environment we would want all the people we love to work in.

Response

When a complaint is raised, it must always be taken seriously. One aspect we have built into the complaint approach is to formally let the complainant know that we take their complaint very seriously, and that it will be thoroughly investigated immediately.

“People are denying the reality that most women grow up and live their lives being harassed, if not assaulted, and being propositioned or being pursued inappropriately,” Liberty University English professor Karen Swallow Prior says. “Almost every woman I know, including myself, has had something like that happen to them. This is just the world we grow up in.”

We must honor and trust all complaints that are brought forward, while explaining that if the complaint is found to be untruthful, the accuser may be subject to discipline up to and including separation. This might seem harsh, however, it is important that the accused be equally protected before and during the investigative phase. I have led more than one investigation where the person who was accused was able to provide evidence to prove their innocence. In this instance, “Innocent until proven guilty” applies to both parties, the accuser and the accused, and both are entitled to fair and confidential treatment during the investigation.

The investigation itself should be swift, and conducted by trained professionals. The best practice, if the investigation is performed internally, is to ensure the person investigating has no reporting relationships with anyone involved in the compliant. Ensure copious notes are taken and the privacy of all involved is protected. This is paramount to prevent anyone who is accused or involved from filing charges against the organization for false accusations.

The best way to list the contact for complaints is to employ consistency by supplying a title versus a name. You should, however, make sure there are two ways for people to bring forward an issue—have both a female and a male as points of contact. This helps any complainant to feel more comfortable bringing the issue forward. Oftentimes, the person who feels harassed prefers to talk with a like-gendered person.

Finally, if your organization is small, consider hiring a third party to operate as the point of contact. Our firm offers this to its clients, which gives their employees increased confidence, knowing their issue will be dealt with swiftly and objectively by a third party.

In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR or E-mail.

Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast “Human Resources and Higher Education”


Enjoy listening to Guest Mark A. Griffin discuss “Human Resources and Higher Education” with host Drumm McNaughton, PhD.

Have iTunes? Podcast available through iTunes.

The Change Leader Inc. creates sustainable organizations that meet the needs of the 21st century students andemployers while implementing change in way that enables them to remain true to the history and values that made them successful.

About Mark: With over 20 years of Human Resources experience at both fortune (Kodak, Quaker Oats, and Merck) as well as small and mid-sized companies, Mark has seen it all.

Mark A Griffin PodCast

Topic: Always give more than you receive


With operations in Melbourne Australia, The Ambitious Entrepreneur Podcast Network hosts weekly podcasts, broadcasting inspiring and informative interviews to an expansive growing audience worldwide.

Enjoy listening to Guest Mark A. Griffin discuss “Don’t ask what God can do for you; ask God what he wants you to do for him!” with host Annemarie Cross.

Have iTunes? Podcast available through iTunes.

The Ambitious Entrepreneur Podcast Network is the voice for Entrepreneurs and Small Business, featuring business experts, Thought Leaders, Disruptors, Innovators and Change Makers who are making a real impact in the world with their message.

About Mark: With over 20 years of Human Resources experience at both fortune (Kodak, Quaker Oats, and Merck) as well as small and mid-sized companies, Mark has seen it all.

$305,000 in Employer Fines Upheld for I-9 Violations In HIS Name HR

$305,000 in Employer Fines Upheld for I-9 Violations


$305,000 in Employer Fines Upheld for I-9 Violations

Human resources can be complicated these days. Few would argue with that. But sometimes it’s the most basic human resources processes that can cause the greatest damage to any organization when not done right. And that disaster can be compounded if you lack a skilled professional to provide oversight.

When I say any organization, that includes any college, university, church, ministry, hospital, nonprofit or for-profit company, and even youth camps. Small organizations are not immune. No matter what size or kind of organization you are, if you employ staff, you must be diligent in following state and federal employment laws.

Recently, DLS Precision Fab, an LLC in Phoenix, Arizona, assumed they had made the right decision in hiring what appeared to be a seasoned HR professional. Much to their chagrin, despite his credentials, the human resources professional they hired proved inept and derelict in his duties when it came to maintaining the administration of the firm’s I-9s.

What is an I-9, you ask? Well, if you employ people and don’t know what an I-9 is, that’s a huge red flag, right there! Here is the definition as provided by ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. (Source)

We, as an established HR firm, are continually astonished that organizations think that because they are a school, church, camp, or nonprofit, the I-9 is not a requirement. The law clearly states: “All employers must complete and retain Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for every person they hire for employment on or after Nov. 6, 1986, in the U.S., as long as the person works for pay or other type of payment.”

All employers must have I-9s for every employee, regardless of the employer type or size!

Back to the case concerning DLS in Arizona, they were in a growth mode and had conscientiously made an effort to comply with state and federal employment laws by hiring an HR professional to handle compliance. Unfortunately, as the appeal by DLS states, the HR professional failed in his duties:

DLS is a company located in Phoenix, Arizona, providing custom sheet metal fabrication in a variety of industries. In the late 2000s, DLS grew to about 200 employees because of the expansion of a Department of Defense program. To deal with the sudden growth of its workforce and ensure its compliance with applicable state and federal employment laws, DLS hired a well-credentialed human resources director (the “HR director”). Unbeknownst to the company, however, this individual shirked his responsibility to ensure the company’s compliance with the INA to the point, as later described by DLS, “of literally stuffing the government’s correspondence in a drawer and never responding.”

Their legal problems started in 2009, when ICE served DLS with a notice of inspection and an administrative subpoena. After the onsite visit and a thorough review of their I-9 forms, DLS was served a notice of suspect documents. In October 2012, ICE served a notice of intent to fine.

DLS quickly responded by requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge, and ICE countered by filing a six-count complaint alleging that the employer failed to comply with employment verification requirements and continued to employ 15 individuals despite knowing they were ineligible for employment, all in violation of the Immigration Nationality Act.

Now, in 2017, in an attempt to reverse the violations, DLS Precision Fab appealed—and promptly lost. Richard Clifton, assigned to the case through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found DLS Precision Fab liable for 504 of the 508 alleged violations, 489 of which were I-9 paperwork violations and 15 of which involved DLS Precision Fab’s ongoing employment of ineligible aliens. As a result of the actions of the so-called HR professional, DLS Precision Fab was ordered to pay civil money penalties totaling more than $305,000.

Understandably, this has landed the company in dire straights, and it is now is in the midst of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. While we can’t be sure that these violations are solely responsible for the bankruptcy filing, it certainly hasn’t helped, adding to their already stressed organizational longevity.

Perhaps, like DLS, you assume your HR staff are competent and on top of complying with all your legal requirements. But are you sure?

The first thing you should you do is have all of your HR processes independently audited by a human resources processional, one with the right experience. We can help. Our HR Assessment, conducted by our skilled team of HR professionals will determine whether you’re protected or at great risk. We help clients across the country. Don’t hesitate—it could be costly.

Contact us today to find out more, and learn about our HR Assessment here.

 

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In His Name HR helps organizations build high performance Human Resources programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR or e-mail them here.

Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Top 4 reasons Talented People Quit Their Jobs

The Top 4 Reasons Talented People Quit Their Jobs, +1


Over my 20-plus-year career in human resources, I’ve noticed that while people will endure fewer amenities and less pay, there are four reasons skillful workers will leave for another job.

(1) No opportunity – When employees sense no potential for career progress, or leaders are unaware that advancement is important, employees look elsewhere for better options.

(2) Not knowing the dollar value of their benefits – Pay and benefits is a topic often avoided in many workplaces. Many organizations, however, offer competitive pay and often benefits that cost thousands of dollars, and employees haven’t a clue. (Think PTO, like legal holidays, sick days, and vacation days; life insurance, long-term disability (LTD), and short-term disability (STD) programs; health insurance, including vision and dental; and wellness programs.) The costs of all these programs add up. When organizations take the time to periodically make employees aware of the total cost of all the benefits at their disposal, employees gain a greater appreciation how much value they receive in their job.

(3) Feeling unappreciated – When employees receive little or no gratitude or acknowledgment for their contributions, it feels demoralizing — no wonder they seek more rewarding work elsewhere. The biggest surprise? Many times, during exit interviews, departing employees disclose that a simple, verbal “thank you” would have made all the difference. However, in many organizations, too often managers fail to do even that.

(4) Sheer Boredom – Without savvy leaders or a solid idea of the big picture, employees don’t see concrete, interesting ways to contribute, outside of the ordinary scope of their jobs. Things grow tedious and employees hunt for new challenges to make work feel more meaningful.

So, while you might think your employees only want higher pay and a corner office, or that the trend among employees is to feel “entitled,” the truth is that the best employees are satisfied with simpler, more basic and fundamental management approaches—and a better explanation of the benefits they currently have.

Be thoughtful — find out what motivates your employees! This simple investment will ensure improved worker retention, enhanced overall morale, and increased company loyalty. And isn’t that what you really want?

Action Steps
What can you do as an employer right now to keep your best employees? Consider asking them. That’s right. Simply spending time with employees in focus groups and roundtable discussions can help you to help them by making basic changes to ensure you keep your greatest asset happy and encouraged.

One more thing…What’s the Top Reason People Quit?

This 2017 Inc. magazine article reveals that the primary reason employees quit is:

People leave managers, not companies.

 Marcel Schwantes, while researching the topic of turnover, found that 50% of employees left their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.”

Keep in mind that as a new generation of workers comes of age, the issue of turnover will continue to grow. Many employees now look at their lives differently than workers did 20 and 30 years ago. Most value relationships above all else, and when a manager starts stealing their joy, they won’t hesitate to look for work elsewhere.

The workplace ladder is simply not as important to young workers today as in prior generations. Many are talented and capable, but will invariably choose a desirable manager over monetary or organizational rewards.

If you are concerned about retaining talented employees while also saving time and money in hiring and training costs, remember these top 4 reasons and the new trend that makes talented people quit. It could make keeping the great people you need a lot easier than you thought.

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Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. Follow Mark on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

 

HR and Employment Law News


No matter where you work, Higher Education, Business, Ministry, Nonprofit work or a church, today’s workplace is changing almost daily. Now more than ever staying abreast to changes in Human Resources related issues is very important to you and your organization.

Thank you for visiting HR and Employment Law News provided by In HIS Name HR. We’re helping professionals navigate the HR legal landscape of the world of work. From the Affordable Care Act to changes in payroll compliance state by state, we bring you the most relevant stories affecting today’s workplaces.
So check out our weekly highlights on new workplace legislation, recent employment lawsuits and other important news for today’s human resources.

Here are our recent stories:

HR and Employment Law News

  • Up to Labor to test confidence: Cormann 22 Oct 2018 06:43 The Land Newspaper A senior Morrison government minister has challenged Labor to put up or shut up over the soon-to-be hung parliament. Independent MP Kerryn Phelps has maintained her lead as counting continues in the Sydney seat of Wentworth, vacated by Malcolm Turnbull …
  • Analysis: The full employment myth and why our youth are missing out 22 Oct 2018 05:40 Radio Australia Updated October 22, 2018 07:50:05 Talk about luck. What are the chances of a sudden plunge in the jobless numbers right before a crucial by-election? On Thursday, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison went into overdrive in a desperate attempt to stave off …
  • <strong>Steuben, Allegany labor markets steady</strong> 22 Oct 2018 04:24 Evening Tribune Steuben County’s relatively stable labor market gained 800 public sector jobs in September, helping increase the county’s overall non-farm positions from 38,100 in August to 38,500 in September, state labor officials said late last week. In Allegany …
How We Became Number One On Google In HIS Name HR

How We Became Number One on Google


Social Media and Search Engine Optimization

This blog post is out of the ordinary. We are human resource experts not marketing or social media experts by any means. We have been asked way too many times and have had to explain in painstaking detail the same question:

How did In HIS Name HR climb to the top slot in Google’s search response to the query for “Christian Human Resources?”

Having been peppered with this question from a wide array of sources, we decided to answer it here, and share our methodology.

Social media can be confusing to many people, but in reality it is very simple. Social media programs are nothing more than tools that allow like-minded people to communicate. What is critical to remember is that not all people use all programs. Therefore, to reach a large and diverse group of people, you need to reach them where they are, instead of hoping they’ll somehow stumble across you.

Many people make the mistake of only using Facebook, or Twitter, when they attempt to market their voice to the world. But what about all those people who use other social media programs instead, those who are not on Facebook or Twitter? If you rely only on those two platforms, you are essentially missing out on millions of potential people who won’t hear your message.

What you want to do is essentially send your same message out through all the various social media programs. However, you will need to tailor the way in which your message is sent out to accommodate the differing requirements or constraints of each social media platform.

To start, make sure what you present fits your voice—that is, how you want people to perceive you and your services. It is a combination of your mission, vision and values. Your voice can also be defined as a “niche” that you are working to create for your organization.

In just 6 short years we have been able to develop a strong social media audience.

We now have:

Over 21,000 followers on Twitter

Facebook Business Page now exceeds 3,100

Over 5,700 connections on LinkedIn

And our latest social media platform Instagram, now exceeds 2,000 plus followers

 

How Bad Human Resource Practices Cost You Millions

How Bad Human Resource Practices Cost You Millions


Many potential clients seek a silver bullet when it comes to the hiring process. They want to set up electronic application systems and implement pre-employment testing to objectively and efficiently screen applicants so they can hire the best candidates.

They want to optimize the process, to speed the days to hire-up. They want candidates fast. They want a paperless process and a filtering system to eliminate candidates that don’t match their requirements.

Unfortunately, not being sure of what you’re doing, and working with unwise counsel, is a minefield you do not want to find yourself in and the results could be downright explosive.

I recently did some preliminary research on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cases that have headlined in the past several months, painting a damaging picture of some very prominent companies. The cases revolved around such factors as:

  • Pre-employment testing
  • Unlawful employment application questions
  • Disability discrimination

In actuality, many organizations, even those with the best intentions, ask questions that can inadvertently result in disparate treatment across a broad spectrum of minority candidates. Organizations also rely on invalid forms of pre-employment testing as a screening tool, ones they may not aware might disqualify minority candidates at a higher rate than non-minorities.

 

Read The Entire Article Here: Christian Leadership Alliance Guest Post  

 

Why Pre-Employment Testing May Cost You Millions


Is your organization unknowingly violating federal and state employment laws? If so, you’re not alone. Many unsuspecting professionals in both profit and nonprofit organizations manage via flawed human resource practices.

Why is being compliant with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws through proper HR practices important? Read the following cases to understand how organizations that thought they were doing things right discovered the hard way that they were not.

Large Company Cases

Target to pay $2.8M to upper-level applicants in EEOC settlement

Tests for upper-level jobs screened out blacks, Asians and women, EEOC says.

Target Corp. has agreed to pay $2.8 million to thousands of rejected job candidates for upper-level positions because tests they were given disproportionately screened out applicants based on their race or gender.

The payout was announced Monday by the Minneapolis Area Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and will be disbursed among more than 3,000 people, said Julie Schmid, acting director for the agency in Minneapolis. Source

BMW to Pay $1.6 Million and Offer Jobs to Settle Federal Race Discrimination Lawsuit

GREENVILLE, S.C. – The U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina today entered a consent decree ordering BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC (BMW) to pay $1.6 million and provide job opportunities to alleged victims of race discrimination as part of the resolution of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The lawsuit, filed by EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, alleged that BMW excluded African-American logistics workers from employment at a disproportionate rate when the company’s new logistics contractor applied BMW’s criminal conviction records guidelines to incumbent logistics employees. Source

United Airlines to Pay over $1 Million To Settle Disability Lawsuit

Supreme Court Lets Stand 7th Circuit Ruling That Reassignment Is Reasonable Accommodation

In a case that garnered nationwide attention, air transportation giant United Airlines Inc. has agreed to pay more than $1 million and implement changes to settle a federal disability lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that United’s competitive transfer policy violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship for the employer. By requiring workers with disabilities to compete for vacant positions for which they were qualified and which they needed in order to continue working, the company’s practice frequently prevented employees with disabilities from continuing employment with United, the EEOC said.  Source

Small to Medium Sized Company Cases

Stack Bros. to Pay $140,000 to Settle EEOC Age Discrimination and Retaliation Suit

Employees Were Fired at Superior, Wis., Firm for Turning 62, Federal Agency Charged

MADISON, Wis. – Stack Bros. Mechanical Contractors, Inc. of Superior, Wis., a major heating and plumbing contractor in northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota, will pay $140,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to EEOC’s suit, Stack Bros. discrim­inated against Randy Virta and Karen Kolodzeske by firing them when they turned 62 in 2014. Stack Bros. also retaliated against Kolodzeske for resisting its plans to fire her, EEOC alleged.

According to Julianne Bowman, director of the EEOC’s Chicago District, which includes Wisconsin, the agency’s pre-lawsuit investigation revealed that both Virta and Kolodzeske repeatedly warned Stack Bros.’ owner that his plan to fire them when they turned 62 was illegal. However, the owner refused to relent, and, after firing Virta, retaliated against Kolodzeske for her complaints by denying her a raise, suspending her without pay for two days and creating a hostile work environment while waiting for her to turn 62. Virta and Kolodzeske had worked for Stack Bros. for 16 and 25 years, respectively. Source

Texas Oil Field Services Company Pays $30,000 to Settle EEOC Retaliation Suit

Only Female Roustabout Fired for Reporting Sexual Harassment, Agency Charged

DALLAS – An Iraan, Texas oil field construction and services company will pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle a retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Pecos Division (4:14-CV-00073-DAE), charged that Garrison Contractors, Inc. fired its only female roustabout, Elma Garza, after she reported being sexually harassed on the job.

Hired by the company in January 2012 as a dump truck driver, Garza spent most of her employment as the company’s only female oil field worker. In this roustabout position, Garza worked side by side with her male co-workers fixing oil and gas leaks, digging ditches and cleaning heavy equipment. EEOC said that during her employment, Garza was subjected to lewd comments about female organs and sex. EEOC contends that when Garza reported the unwanted conduct, the company retaliated against her by terminating her.

Retaliation for reporting sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  Source

EEOC Sues Seymour Midwest for Age Discrimination

Agency Alleges Company Rejected an Applicant Older than Its Ideal Age

INDIANAPOLIS — Seymour Midwest, a Warsaw, Indiana, hand tool manufacturing company, violated federal law when it rejected a 58-year-old executive upon learning that he was older than the company’s ideal age range of 45-52, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to EEOC’s suit, Seymour Midwest selected Steve Maril, from a pool of applicants for its senior vice president of sales position, to participate in an initial, email-based interview. In addition to questions about Maril’s experience and willingness to relocate, the company asked whether Maril was within its ideal age range of 45-52. When Seymour Midwest learned that Maril was older than its ideal age range, the company refused to hire him.  Source 

Church and Nonprofit Cases

EEOC Sues United Bible Fellowship Ministries for Pregnancy Discrimination

Organization’s Policy Requiring Pregnant Employees to Resign Is Discriminatory, Federal Agency Charges

HOUSTON – United Bible Fellowship Ministries, Inc., an organization that provides faith-based, community social services, violated federal law when it forced female employees out of their jobs because of their pregnancies, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Shamira Johnson worked as a resource technician, providing home care assistance to disabled individuals. Her duties included housecleaning, light laundering, administering medication, cooking and assisting with personal hygiene and grooming. United Bible terminated Johnson and other pregnant employees according to its “Pregnancy in the Workplace Policy” which required pregnant women in direct client-care positions to stop working during their pregnancy and reapply for a vacant job once they were no longer pregnant. Johnson did not return to work at United Bible after her pregnancy. The policy also unlawfully required applicants to disclose their pregnancy when applying for employment.  Source

Inconsistencies in Termination Decision Wipe out Employer’s Victory

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently erased the victory of the Good Samaritan Ministries in an employee termination case, Ledbetter v. Good Samaritan Ministries, et al., — F.3d —- (7th Cir. Feb. 6, 2015), sending the case back to the trial court for further litigation.

The employee, Linzie Ledbetter (male), worked in a homeless shelter and food pantry. After a shelter resident complained about Ledbetter’s alleged threat to evict her, Ledbetter’s supervisors met with him and warned him that such behavior could result in disciplinary action, including termination. As a result, Ledbetter filed an EEOC charge—and later, a federal lawsuit—claiming race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Shortly thereafter, Ledbetter filed a second EEOC charge for race discrimination and was subsequently warned again about his behavior toward the shelter residents and toward his co-workers. The day after his supervisors learned of the second EEOC charge, they fired Ledbetter, prompting a third EEOC charge and another lawsuit for retaliation.

In the trial court, Good Samaritan Ministries and its supervisors argued that Ledbetter’s termination was not prompted by the second EEOC charge, because they had decided to fire him five days before they even knew of the charge. The trial court agreed with their argument and granted summary judgment in their favor.  Source

King’s Way Baptist Church Sued By EEOC for Retaliation

Kindergarten Teacher at Church’s Christian School Fired for Complaining About Sexual Harassment by Pastor, Federal Agency Charges

ATLANTA – The King’s Way Baptist Church, Inc. of Douglasville, Ga., violated federal law when it fired a kindergarten teacher at its King’s Way Christian School for reporting sexual harassment by its chief executive officer / pastor, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed recently.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, the pastor repeatedly subjected the teacher to sexual harassment by touching her inappropriately and made veiled threats to her if she should complain. When the teacher complained about the harassment, rather than taking measures to prevent any further harassment, King’s Way fired her.

These actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from firing, demoting, harassing or otherwise retaliating against employees because they complained to their employer about discrimination on the job. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. The King’s Way Baptist Church, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-03816) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the former teacher, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent future discrimination.  Source

Miscellaneous Cases Of Interest

Employers Beware: EEOC Stepping Up Disability Discrimination Enforcement

On the heels of that news, 10 of the 22 lawsuits filed or settlements reached by the EEOC in May included allegations of disability discrimination. That’s a .455 batting average for the ADA, which is none too shabby in anyone’s book. Some of the issues addressed by the EEOC in the past month include:

A $72,500 settlement with an Akron, Ohio, medical transportation services company, which fired an EMT-paramedic with multiple sclerosis instead of providing additional leave as a reasonable accommodation.

A $110,000 settlement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company, which medically disqualified a track maintenance worker because of degenerative disc disease without doing an individualized assessment of whether he could perform the essential functions of his job.

A $90,000 settlement with a Tennessee nursing home facility, which terminated an HIV-positive nurse.

An $18,000 settlement with an Alabama athletic apparel retailer, which fired a legally blind sales clerk (who lost his full use of his sight while serving in the Army) without any consideration of whether an accommodation, such as a magnifying glass or a new computer monitor, might be reasonable.  Source

 

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At In HIS Name HR LLC our primary role is to assist the client to identify needs, develop an action plan and facilitate change to enhance the success of your organization. Our management, human resource, and training services are designed to improve quality, safety, productivity, efficiency, and communication while improving employee morale.

With our vast experiences spanning many industries we will create the HR programs that will drive excellence. Contact us today. You will be glad you did.

Don’t be left unprepared.  Contact us today.  You will be glad you did. 

 Contact Us In HIS Name HR LLC