Nov. 21, 2018

Policies, Training, Enforcement Help Avoid Workplace Discrimination Claims

While alleged sexual harassment cases are prevalent in the news, employers need to be aware that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is serious about enforcing all types of workplace misconduct and know what steps to take to limit their exposure.

In a span of about five weeks, the EEOC recently issued six bulletins related to actions or settlements reached in matters of workplace discrimination involving sexual harassment and retaliation, background check policies and discrimination based on pregnancy, disability and gender.

These cases send a clear message that the EEOC continues to pursue practices unlawful under Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They also highlighted why employers from Fortune 500 to small companies are fair game for enforcement actions.

Whether under Title 7 or similar laws, like the Florida Civil Rights Act and local county ordinances, the following points can help limit a company’s exposure and protect an organization from allegations of workplace discrimination:

Establish clear company policies — and empower HR to enforce them. Failure to comply with federal, state and local regulations often stems from lack of proper workplace policies and training. With the assistance of a labor and employment attorney, draft HR policies and present them to current employee, as well as each new employee upon hiring, to read and acknowledge their willingness to follow.

Implement employee, manager and HR department training. Professional training can help answer questions and drive home the rules. Training also can be seen as evidence of the seriousness the employer places on compliance.

Get senior leadership support. Having policies in place, then failing to enforce them, sets the organization up for failure. Senior leaders must back HR, whether the accused is a shop-floor worker or a high-producing sales representative. No one can be immune from investigation or corrective action, including termination.

Open up direct lines of communication. Companies not made aware of possible claims cannot address such situations. Every employee should be encouraged to approach HR with any concerns.

Investigate, document and take corrective action if necessary. Never turn a blind eye, ignore or simply transfer employees from one location or division to another when facing a discrimination claim. Moreover, while EEOC claims must be filed within a year, document every allegation presented by an employee, the investigation, and corrective action taken, if any. The documentation should be in real time as it is not best practice to rebuild notes months later.

Prepare your response. If you receive an EEOC complaint, it is important to promptly identify the documents and individuals needed to respond to the allegations and consult with employment counsel to assist with preparing the response.

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What hurt Detroit? (Hint: It wasn't hard work or capital)

(An op-ed in Fox Business)

It’s said that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality.

So it is both fitting and appropriate that the next round of presidential debates is taking place in Detroit, which has been assaulted with the real-world consequences of two generations of liberal Democratic rhetoric and misrule.

Memo to Democrats: Freedom and Education are Inextricably linked

(An op-ed featured in the Miami Herald)

The Democrats’ two nights of debate blather in Miami were astoundingly lean on two essential subjects — freedom and education. And the debates were especially lean given how the very state where they gathered is proving that freedom and education can work together to cost-effectively deliver real results – including in Miami-Dade County.



When a construction contractor defaults on a loan with its lender, and, at the same time, a surety bond issuer is required to pay on a claim for the construction project, there has been some legal uncertainty as to the entitlement to any retainages at the conclusion of the construction project when the general contractor has entered a bankruptcy proceeding. A bankruptcy judge has issued a very detailed legal opinion on the topic of priorities as to retainage which will likely be widely followed by bankruptcy courts throughout the country which is important and significant for all lenders, trade creditors and suppliers of those in the commercial construction industry and issuers of surety bonds. 

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