Some Simple Steps to Avoiding Discrimination Lawsuits
Discrimination and harassment are ugly words. And because of the nature of the law, even well-meaning and conscientious employers can face allegations of employment discrimination or harassment based on gender, race, age, religion, or disability. These allegations can lead to government investigations and lawsuits that, even if ultimately unsuccessful, can be costly to defend against and can impugn your reputation as an employer.
In 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the federal agency responsible for administering federal laws against employment discrimination, received nearly 100,000 complaints [TBC1] and required employers to pay over 360 million dollars in compensation to employees and applicants. This does not include compensation claimants recovered in private lawsuits in state and federal court and does not account for complaints filed in similar state agencies. With allegations of discrimination being so common, it is important for employers to take proactive steps toward protecting themselves.
One easy step employers can take is to maintain uniform policies regarding hiring, firing, discipline, harassment, and other issues. Following set policies can make management decisions in these areas seem less arbitrary and serve as a defense to allegations that decisions were made based upon discriminatory motives.
While it is impossible to mitigate the risk of discrimination and harassment allegations completely, well-drafted HR policies are good starts. An experienced Washington, D. C. business attorney can help you and your management team draft clear and unambiguous employee policies and reporting procedures for allegations of harassment and help your business avoid costly and damaging allegations of employee discrimination.