Harassment & Discrimination


In a workplace setting, treating people differently can be problematic. When an employee perceives that he or she has been treated less favorably than peers, it can create resentment and distraction in the workplace. Often, employees do not understand every element of a peer’s work product, employment agreements, salary, or expectations, so their assessment of differential treatment can be flawed; however, employers should never assume that the employee’s perception of disparate treatment is unjustified without first understanding the details of his or her concern.

Types of Discrimination Claims

When claims of discriminatory treatment in the workplace are based on protected categories, an employer has a legal duty to investigate those claims in a neutral, unbiased, and independent manner. The analysis of whether a claim of differential treatment requires investigation is incredibly complicated. This can only be determined after a sophisticated interaction with the reporting employee that details the indications of unequal treatment, as well as the suspected motivation for such treatment. After the initial claims are understood, an expert should make an assessment regarding the implication of illegal discrimination and the necessity of a formal investigation.

Claims of discrimination based on any of the following attributes require an immediate formal investigation by a neutral, unbiased, and experienced investigator:

  • sex
  • race
  • disability
  • religion
  • family status
  • age
  • compensation
  • genetics
  • national origin
  • military status
  • sexual orientation
  • health conditions

Why You Need a Discrimination Attorney

It can be dangerous for an inexperienced employer to take any action without consulting an expert as employers may inadvertently reduce the quality of a future investigation or act in a way that is perceived as retaliating against a victim. Although some of these claims arise more frequently than others, Natalie has successfully investigated each of these allegation types.

Additionally, many employers believe it is important that all similarly situated employees be treated equally because of their company values or because they recognize the negative consequences of treating employees differently. For example, some employers have policies to treat employees with similar tenure the same, regardless of previous experiences. Other employers are dedicated to treating employees within the same job class similarly regardless of educational background. Although the law does not require a formal investigation into non-protected classes like these, perceptive employers regularly investigate these matters to maintain the overall health of their workplace.

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Employees often report harassment to their employers without actually using the word “harassment.” Reporting employees may seem irrational, flamboyant, or overly sensitive when they make their initial reports; however, this does not diminish the seriousness of the allegation. Employers often regard complaints as the musings of an emotional employee without realizing that the employee became reactive as a consequence of behaviors the employers are tolerating within the workplace. Employees often become sensitive and make poor decisions when they perceive that they have been victims of harassment for a period of time. Even if one particular employee’s reaction seems disproportionate to a workplace circumstance, a proper investigation will determine the existence and severity of the conditions affecting all employees in that environment.

The Fine Line Between Harassment & Just Rude

Although it is not illegal for an employee to be a jerk, it is illegal to harass employees based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Furthermore, employees dealing with harassment are not performing at their most efficient and are often coping by seeking out support and input from peers in a manner that further decreases productivity and increases rumors. It is entirely possible that employees accused of harassment are behaving appropriately, but it is in the best interest of the accused employee and the employer to thoroughly investigate the causes of the perceived harassment within each workplace.

A proper harassment investigation provides the information that an employer can use to address areas of liability and remediate ineffective interpersonal dynamics. Natalie understands that the facts are never straightforward in a harassment investigation, and it is difficult to determine the reasonableness of any particular allegation. Natalie’s procedure is to collect all the relevant information from all the relevant individuals to determine if harassment is more likely than not to have occurred. Harassment allegations, in particular, are so likely to inflame the emotions of the involved parties that it is necessary to engage the services of an expert, like Natalie, who can solicit genuine responses from involved parties and decipher defendable, situation-specific conclusions that enable employers to build up their organizations.

Discrimination & Harassment Attorney in Austin, TX

If you have a circumstance where an employee has reported or alleged that they are being harassed or discriminated against at work, reach out to Lynch Law Firm, PLLC to determine the appropriateness of hiring Natalie to conduct a neutral and unbiased investigation into those concerns. Schedule a consultation today.