Businesses can sometimes face unjustified lawsuits alleging discrimination from a disgruntled former employee who, after the fact, feels that their termination or other treatment in their job was discriminatory. In 2020 alone, workplace discrimination cases yielded over $439 million to employees. While these cases are usually legitimate, many businesses face the issue of illegitimate claims of discrimination. In these cases, your business needs to act quickly and carefully to defend itself against these lawsuits.
What is the EEOC?
The EEOC, or United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is the overseeing agency for discrimination claims. It defines several different aspects that should not be an influencing factor in any aspect of the business, including but not limited to age, race, religion, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation. Because Florida is an at-will employment state, employers can terminate an employee at any time without cause. Employees who want to bring a claim of discrimination against an employer must first file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, and exhaust all administrative remedies before they can file a lawsuit.
When Can an Employee Make a Claim?
Generally speaking, claimants must prove that their termination was due to employment discrimination of a protected class. Discrimination claims can stem from much more than just termination, however. Employees can also claim that they were discriminated against in several different forms, including demotions, refusal of a promotion, differences in pay, not receiving a bonus, or receiving different treatment than other employees. In general, any significant difference in treatment between employees could potentially be seen as a case of discrimination. Thankfully, there is a simple way for your business to defend against unreasonable discrimination claims.
Keep Good Records
The best way to defend against unjustified claims is something your business should already be doing – keeping good records of all of your internal decision-making. Whether it’s a termination, promotion, or a determination of pay, your business should keep clear records of why that decision was made. You should also make sure to have at least one witness to any termination discussions. When it comes time to defend a baseless claim of discrimination, you’ll be prepared with a record of why that decision was made, proving that it was not discriminatory in nature.
Another great way to defend against discrimination claims is to make the decision-making process known to all employees. By creating standardized policies that dictate when and how employees receive raises, bonuses, promotions, and other significant decisions, employees will have a clear definition of the process. You should also ensure to train all of your supervisors and managers on these policies and procedures. With a transparent decision-making process, false claims of discrimination should be much easier to disprove, as long as the guidelines you outlined are properly and consistently followed. Don’t wait until a lawsuit lands at your doorstep to take action – contact TLF Business Lawyers today at (305) 985-4571 and prevent them in the first place.