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Employers Continue to Face Discrimination Suits

There’s been a lot of noise in the news about the rise in wage-and-hour disputes against employers, In fact, we recently wrote a blog about the spike in these types of lawsuits. But these aren’t the only suits facing employers. Discrimination suits are also garnering a lot of attention, with significant exposure and costs for employers and their businesses.

Two recent cases: Two executives sued New Jersey-based Wentworth Group, Wentworth Property Management, and a high-ranking company official for discrimination against them because they’re Hispanic. The two executives alleged that the company created a hostile work environment, retaliated against them for objecting to the alleged discrimination, failed to promote them, and for infliction of emotional distress. The jury awarded the executives $2.6 million in compensatory damages and $85,000 in punitive damages.

In another case, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) recently sued teen clothing retailer dELiA*s for employment discrimination at its store in Lehigh Valley Mall in Pennsylvania. The EEOC claims that the retailer forced one pregnant woman to take a leave of absence and fired another pregnant woman for complaining about discrimination. The suit is ongoing.

You may think as an employer you have a discrimination zone-free workplace. But it’s a wise idea to review the laws and your employment practices and policies. Be sure you know and understand the discrimination laws and be sure you’re not in violation. Have your no-tolerance discrimination policy in writing in your employee handbook.  Ensure your employees read the policy and sign a document stating that they fully understand the policy. Provide diversity training with a detailed description of what is not permitted and strategies and solutions for a tolerant, diverse workforce.

Additionally, set out a clear procedure for filing discrimination complaints and what steps will be taken to handle the situation.

Axis Insurance Services offers Employment Practices coverage to employers against claims made by employees involving: discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, breach of contract, failure to promote, negligence evaluation, and deprivation of career opportunity.

 

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Blogged on: October 13, 2011 by Mike Smith
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