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Preventing and Handling Workplace Harassment and Discrimination  

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Seminar Summary:

Are you 100% sure your company isn’t headed for a discrimination or harassment lawsuit? (see full course description)


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Training Course Syllabus:

Preventing and Handling Workplace Harassment and Discrimination - Human Resources  / Management Training Seminar

Program Description / Agenda:
How the Courts Are Defining Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation

  • Social purposes of discrimination laws, and the nature of protected classes
  •     Important differences among the laws
  •     Definitions of discrimination, forms of harassment, retaliation
  •     The key distinction between unpleasant and unlawful
  •     The difference between harassment and discrimination — when harassment turns into unlawful discrimination or discrimination is combined with harassment
  • State law implications — additional protected classes and common-law actions against individuals (supervisors and coworkers), not just organizations

Delve Deeper: A Look at the 9 Federal Protected Classes

  • Race discrimination — most often cited, combination charges (race and sex, race and religion, race and national origin, race and color)
  • National origin discrimination combined with religion discrimination cases following September 11
  • How the ADEA differs from Title VII and what that means in practical terms for employers
  • Distinction between sexual harassment and gender discrimination
  • Changes to the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and implications for hiring and compensation/performance management
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) — the surprising difference between the PDA mandates and employer practices creating legal obligations
  • Religion and a lesser reasonable accommodation standard
  • Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA changed the legal landscape
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) — a true preference and not just a level playing field law
  • Genetic information discrimination (GINA) and ADAAA intersections
  • The new discrimination danger areas — family responsibilities discrimination charges (FRD), sexual orientation issues following DOMA’s demise

Unlawful Harassment: If You Think It’s Just Sexual Harassment, You Could Be in Big Trouble Soon

  • Articulating the economic and other impacts of harassment on the victim, the harasser, and the organization
  • Unlawful harassment — following Oncale v. Sundowner
  • Is it just in bad taste or unlawful harassment? The difference between conduct that may be inappropriate (bullying, teasing, jokes) and that which is unlawful
  •     Understand and apply the reasonable person standard to determine whether a hostile work environment exists
  • Two forms of unlawful harassment — compare the differences — Quid pro quo lawsuits
  • Vance v. Ball State: How is a “supervisor” now defined for the purposes of workplace harassment claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
  •     Hostile work environment
  • On notice? Know or should have known: warning signs that something is going wrong!
  • Assess and reduce the risk factors for quid pro quo and hostile work environment sexual harassment
  • The harasser — what to do when
  •     One team member harasses another
  •     Subordinate/manager harassment (reverse)
  •     Peer-manager harassment — or harassment by a very senior manager
  •     Outside third-party harassment: patient, vendor, or customer
  • Virtual harassment — dealing with email, texts, social media, blogs, etc.
  • Addressing special circumstances — consensual relationships/equal employment opportunity jerks/paramour problems

Exploring Retaliation — The Fastest-Growing Segment of EEOC Litigation

  • Legal standard: University of Texas Southern Medical Center v. Nassar Supreme Court case requiring the use of the but-for higher standard to prove retaliation, elimination of the mixed motive theory, impact on 2006 liberal case White v. Burlington Northern Railway
  • Dealing with disciplinary issues of otherwise protected employees
  • Avoiding employee retaliation lawsuits that may result from harassment or discrimination claims

Federal Contractors: Executive Order 11246

  • The difference between anti-discrimination and affirmative action obligations
  • Overview of contractor obligations
  •     Section 503 Rehabilitation Act changes and the impacts on employer responsibilities and hiring goals
  •     Employer hiring responsibilities under Section 4212 of Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA)
  •     Qualified applicant definition — the four-prong test for an individual who answers an online job posting
  • Making the business case (or not) for assuming federal obligations
  • Avoiding an OFCCP audit Creating Solid, Proven, and Legally Sound Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policies and Practices
  • Defining prohibited behaviors: discrimination harassment, retaliation
  • Determining policy scope for multistate employers
  • Provide reporting obligations and complaint mechanisms
  • Make judgment calls about zero-tolerance policies and mandatory reporters
  • Define supervisory (agent) responsibilities

Investigating and Responding to Complaints or When on Notice

  • A complaint vs. notice — how to address the non-complaining victim
  • Understanding the real privacy rules governing investigations (you may be surprised …)
  • Conducting an internal investigation with discretion/no promises of confidentiality
  • Preserving Section 7 NLRA collective action rights
  • Questioning strategies to use when interviewing alleged victims, harassers, and witnesses
  • When to discipline/terminate those found guilty of sexual harassment
  • Addressing inconclusive findings

The Best Practices You Can Implement Today to Help Avoid Litigation

  • Creating a discrimination-free workplace when recruiting, hiring, managing, disciplining, promoting, and firing employees
  • Tips for preventing unconscious employment discrimination documentation: warning, performance appraisal, and other performance management notices
  • Performing a regular analysis of the organization’s HR practices (and understanding the scope of attorney-client privilege)
  • Training supervisors and employees — with or without a legal mandate
  •     Defusing disrespectful or compromising situations before they rise to the level of unlawful
  •     Assertively communicating feelings and putting harassers on notice
  •     What to do if you witness or become a victim of harassing behavior
  •     Using experiential learning: role plays, case studies, and other training situations to increase employee awareness of workplace diversity
  •     Responding appropriately when a complaint has been filed against you
  •     Documentation: applicant flow, promotions flow, and termination flow logs

SPECIAL SECTION: A Step-By-Step Guide to Investigating and Responding to an EEO Charge

  • Procedure chart, legal standard, practical implications (prima facie case, shifting burden of proof, etc.)
  • Responding to an EEO complaint effectively — length of position statement, preventing admissions against interest
  • Instituting a ligation hold
  • Preventing overbroad waivers in settlement agreements
  • Use of EEOC mediation services


Our training seminars offer Continuing Education Credits (based on contact hours) upon completion. Credits are issued by Rockhurst University Continuing Education Center, Inc. according to the guidelines set forth by IACET. Please note that Continuing Education Credit approval is at the discretion of your licensing board; not all seminar topics are approved by all boards. Contact your licensing board or agency for specific information relating to your profession


Seminar Check-In  8:30 AM    Seminar Class 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Seminar Summary:

Are you 100% sure your company isn’t headed for a discrimination or harassment lawsuit? (see full course description)

print this agenda print agenda for the Preventing and Handling Workplace Harassment and Discrimination training seminar

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