Discrimination – What Don’t Employers Get?
It seems like almost every day there is a newspaper or magazine article about another discrimination case going to court or one that has recently settled. The courts are burdened with a huge number of discrimination cases. You have to wonder – what don’t employers get?
Spelling It Out
‘Any aspect of employment’ covers hiring and firing, compensation, assignments, or classification of employees, transfer, promotion, layoff or recall, job advertisement, recruitment, testing, use of company facilities, training and apprenticeship programs, fringe benefits, pay, retirement plans, disability leave, or other terms of employment.
It also includes:
harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age;
retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices;
employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities; and
denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability.
Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group, pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions. It includes a recently enacted law with regard to military families.
State laws can add other protected classes. Basically, everyone is in a protected class except the white male between the age of 18 and 40 and there are even some exceptions here.
Chart A (bottom of article) shows a few examples of some of the discrimination cases recently settled in our court system. The costs are mind-boggling and can put a small business out of business.
Is it the attitudes of employers that get them in trouble? Is it that they don’t understand the law? Or maybe they don’t have the staff to keep them apprised of the law? Laws and regulations are constantly changing and if an employer does not have staff dedicated to human resources, it can be overwhelming. Many cases can be avoided if an employer takes the right steps.
What are those steps?
If you have a problem with an employee, do your homework. They have personnel on staff to advise employers of the laws and of their rights. They can quote you chapter and verse and guide you through the process, avoiding unnecessary lawsuits and potentially large sums of money, as noted above. This service is free.
An employer taking advantage of this free service may avoid having to incur unnecessary costs and unwanted negative publicity. In these economically troubled times employers need to take advantage of whatever sources are available to assist their business.
Take advantage of some of the free services offered. This can be a big help and can potentially not only save an employer (especially a small business) money, but also keep bad publicity from your doorstep.
An employer can also contact an employment solicitor for advice. Make sure to find a reputable specialist in labor law as not all lawyers are thoroughly familiar with that field.
Company / Discrimination / Cost to Employer
03.30.09 Newspaper / Sexual / £300,000
03.27.09 Photo Processing Plant / Age / £272,000
03.25.09 Surgical Center / Sexual / £290,000
03.24.09 Civilian employer / USERRA / £118,000
03.19.09 Airline / Disability / £850,000