3 Tips for Harassment Investigations

Investigating complaints of inappropriate workplace conduct is a difficult challenge for any number of reasons. But conducting an immediate and thorough investigation is critical to both preventing lawsuits and to avoiding liability should a lawsuit arise. Human-resource professionals often ask for tips in handling this challenge. Here are three.male female sign_3

First, don’t be shy. An investigation of workplace harassment is not the time to be timid. Ask the tough questions and be direct. Don’t mince words or dance around the questions. Consider writing out the questions that you need answers to and actually check them off your list. If you don’t ask a straight question, you’ll never get a straight answer. Continue reading

Taking the Mystery Out of Bad Hiring Practices

Want some free anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training? Well, have I got a deal for you! Mystery Diners is a reality show on the Food Network. The show’s concept involves a father-daughter team who pretend to be employees and/or customers at a target restaurant in order to help the owner uncover the “leaks in the dam” so to speak.

An episode that aired last week, called, “Managing Disaster,” could be used as a workplace best-practices training video. In short, you could use the video to train employees that any of the conduct by the restaurant’s manager should be considered prohibited conduct in your workplace. Continue reading

The Invisible Gorilla’s Lesson for HR Pros

Any human-resource professional who conducts internal investigations of employee complaints (i.e., discrimination, harassment, bullying) would be well advised to read the new book, The Invisible Gorilla.  The book is written by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, the two minds who collaborated on a famous psychological experiment for which they were awarded the Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology.  Continue reading

Preparing for the Brain Drain by Hiring Right

social-media-communityBy as early as 2010, the Baby Boomers will leave the workforce en masse.  As the “reliable” generation heads towards retirement, employers will be faced with a substantial need for new recruits.  And those employers who have the foresight to plan ahead know that recruiting starts now.  Otherwise, there will be nothing but college grads and retirees.  To prevent the “brain drain,” the need for mid-level managers must be factored into hiring and recruiting decisions now.  Continue reading

Perdue Farms Settles Failure-to-Hire Lawsuit and Laments Failure to Document

Good documentation practices during the hiring process can help employers avoid a failure-to-hire claim.  And that’s a good thing, considering that failure-to-hire claims are costly. Just ask Perdue.  The poultry company has agreed to a pay out of more than $800k perduelogoto settle a claim of disparate impact arising from what the DOL concluded to be systematic discrimination against non-Hispanic job applicants.  Continue reading

5 Steps Away From a Failure-to-Hire Lawsuit

Pregnancy Discrimination, Maternal Profiling, Family Responsibilities Discrimination (FRD), and Mother’s Day.  A natural combination.  You can add one more to that list.  Off-limit interview questions.

When I teach seminars about best hiring practices, I usually get at least a few dirty looks when I talk about interview questions that should be avoided.  Employers and HR professionals often comment that interviews should be conversational to put the candidate at ease so the interviewer can get to know the “real” candidate.  Not a good idea. Continue reading

Just In Time for Mother’s Day: Maternal Profiling Special

mom-with-two-kidsMaternal Profiling (a subset of Family Responsibilities Discrimination, “FRD”), is employment discrimination against a woman who has, or will have, children.  Firing a newly pregnant employee. Interview questions designed to elicit details about child-care arrangements.  Just in time for Mother’s Day, here are some key points for employers about this type of workplace discrimination. Continue reading