Month: January 2017

CHAOS AT THE WATER COOLER: Preventing Workplace Political Chatter from Getting Out of Control

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There is no doubt that we are living in politically charged times.  Seemingly everyone has a strong opinion on the outcome of the recent Presidential election, the duty of professional athletes to stand during the National Anthem or a myriad of other issues involving race, sex or religion.  Consequently, workplace discussions are becoming heated and employers may be faced with the dilemma of policing conversations before they get out of control.  In a nation that prides itself on the First Amendment right to free speech, what can employers do to manage the risk of private beliefs colliding with office harmony? Read On

A Cautionary Tale: The Steep Price Of Poorly Conducted Workplace Investigations

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There is not an employer in the world who looks forward to conducting a workplace investigation.  The very need for an investigation signals a significant problem such as claims of workplace discrimination, harassment or injury.  It is a human inclination to sweep problems under the rug.  It is in your organization’s best interests, however, to be proactive in the face of a complaint.  Importantly, a properly-conducted investigation can provide the organization with an affirmative defense to a hostile work environment claim.  Conversely, the failure to properly investigate can bring Plaintiffs’ attorneys sniffing around your door.  

Let’s use examples of how two contrasting organizations might respond to the same set of facts: Read On

The Customer is Not Always Right

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What we can learn from the recent $250,000 sexual harassment verdict against Costco

Much to the surprise of many court-watchers, a federal jury in Illinois recently entered a verdict awarding $250,000 in compensatory damages to a former employee of Costco who sued the retail giant for sexual harassment.  This result was surprising because the employee never alleged she was harassed by a co-worker or manager.  Rather, her entire case was premised on sexual harassment from a store customer! Read On