One thing often overlooked in conducting workplace investigations is reporting back to the complaining party at the end of the investigation. I have seen many cases where the employer conducted a thorough investigation and took prompt remediation action but never communicated to the employee that it had done so.  From the employee’s perspective, he or she

The U.S. Supreme Court adopted an objective test for determining an employee’s Title VII “supervisory status” in Vance v. Ball State University. The question in Vance was what level of authority must an individual have to qualify as a “supervisor” for purposes of Title VII vicarious liability. This is an important issue because the employee’s status

In an issue of first impression in this Fifth Circuit, the Court held that a volunteer firefighter making a Title VII claim of sexual harassment is not an “employee” for purposes of the statute and therefore had no legal claim.

The case arose from a suit filed by a former firefighter for the Livingston Parish

Prevailing plaintiffs in employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation cases can recover attorney’s fees their attorney’s incur in prosecuting those claims.  In many instances the attorney’s fees sought can exceed the monetary relief the plaintiff obtains and can act as a serious impediment to prompt settlement. 

Since most of these cases are done on a contingency

Yesterday I hosted a webinar on Investigating Employee Complaints in the 21st Century:  Comprehensive Investigations of Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment and Misconduct.  There was a great turnout and many good questions posed from the participants.  If you missed the presentation, you can watch the archive here.

I am actively seeking suggestions for interesting human resource or

A new Fifth Circuit case reveals the consequence that can occur when an employer and its managers fail to take harassment complaints seriously; fail to promptly and thoroughly investigate the complaints; and reach conclusions following the investigation that just plain wrong.   In Cherry v. Shaw Coastal Inc., a male employee (Cherry) complained that his immediate

I have already written about the Herman Cain story and won’t opine further on it here except to say, I have no idea who is telling the truth in the he-said-she-said (and she-said; and she said) story.  The headlines do remind me about what little rights the accused harasser has when, as Herman Cain claims, a false complaint of harassment has been made.   And before you start sending me the hate mail over this HSO, read the remainder of this post.


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Prompt and thorough investigations of complaints of harassment and discrimination can provide solid legal defenses to employee lawsuits.  Even where there may not be a technical, legal defense (e.g., supervisory harassment resulting in an adverse employment action), investigating employee complaints of inappropriate behavior can paint the employer in a favorable light and is just a good

This week the Fifth Circuit held that a cause of action exists for hostile work environment under the ADEA –the first such express holding in the Circuit.  In Dediol v. Best Chevrolet, the plaintiff filed a hostile work environment and constructive discharge claim against the employer.

During the brief two months of employment, Dediol