Home General How Can Employers Prepare for Discrimination Lawsuits?

How Can Employers Prepare for Discrimination Lawsuits?

by Olufisayo
workplace discrimination lawsuit

Getting hit with a workplace discrimination lawsuit is one of every business’s worst nightmares. Not only can they cost a lot of money, but they can also do irreparable damage to your company’s public image.

Whether such allegations are serious or spurious, being accused of discriminatory practices can feel like a personal failure beyond the hope of a positive outcome. By following the advice below, however, you can give your business the best possible chance of survival and exoneration.

Be more proactive

The best way to prepare for a discrimination lawsuit is to avoid being on the receiving end of one to begin with. While there is no full-proof way to protect your business from such things, you can greatly reduce their likelihood by actively fostering diversity and discouraging discriminatory practices.

Before you can build your strength, it’s important to evaluate your weaknesses. Hire a firm offering adverse impact analysis and statistical consultancy services to get an idea of how your company’s demographics measure up to others in the market and where your shortcomings are.

Once you know what areas need improvement, you can begin creating a safer work environment. Publicly implement a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. Train management to implement that policy and to recognize signs of employee interactions that could negatively escalate. Finally, make sure to communicate to your employees that their safety is valued, and stress that any improper conduct should be reported immediately.

Document everything

One of the best ways any business can shield itself from accusations of wrongdoing is to keep as thorough a paper trail as possible. Doing this can play a vital role in challenging allegations of discrimination.

For instance, a former employee might claim their employment was wrongfully terminated for discriminatory reasons.

However, if you can show that there were other documented reasons for their termination, such as continued disruptive behavior despite written warnings, it might be enough to invalidate the allegations. More generally, keeping extensive documentation of business practices (including formal complaints, HR records, hiring demographics, etc.) is a good way of backing up your own claims.

Proving innocence or disputing accusations becomes that much easier when you have evidence to support you. For this reason, make sure to emphasize the importance of keeping accurate documentation to all members of your management staff. Save everything. Throw nothing away. You never know what you might someday need.

Know your rights

When a workplace discrimination charge is filed against your company, it is required that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission informs you within ten days. From there, the EEOC may choose to investigate the charges, in which case you will be expected to provide whatever documentation the investigator requests.

If you have concerns about the scope of the documentation requested, you have the right to raise those concerns with the investigator, who may then modify the request.

During the investigation, you also have the right to dispute the allegations against your company. The EEOC investigator can work with you to help you determine what kind of evidence you need to show that the allegations are incorrect or that they fail to constitute unlawful discrimination.

Finally, in most instances, employers have the right to voluntarily choose one of three alternative ways of resolving discrimination charges: mediation, settlement, or conciliation. These can save your business a lot of time, money, and public relations headaches that would otherwise result from a lengthier litigation process.

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