When it Comes to Discrimination Claims, Don’t Get Mad….OR Even.

2011 was not a pretty year for many city parks and public areas — unless, of course, you like the sight of make-shift kitchens, tents and protest signs. The influx of “Occupy” protestors revealed a growing distrust for corporations. That lack of faith in business leaders seems to be reflected in the rising number of retaliation claims against all types of employers.

Did you know that retaliation claims are now the most common type of claim filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — even surpassing race discrimination claims?

The line is clearly drawn by the EEOC. According to their website, it is “illegal to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise ‘retaliate’ against people (applicants or employees) because they filed a charge of discrimination, because they complained to their employer or other covered entity about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in an employment discrimination proceeding (such as an investigation or lawsuit).”

Other important points to remember:

  • This protection applies to an employee or applicant even if the charge of discrimination is later determined to be unfounded.
  • This protection applies to all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Given the significant rise in retaliation claims, extra care should be taken when dealing with employees who have leveled claims, participated in investigations, or simply voiced allegations of possible discrimination. The best way to mitigate risk begins with carefully crafted policies and proper training. Supervisors and managers must be very familiar with the company’s complaint procedures and be trained to carefully walk through every step of the process. Above all, employers should take every complaint seriously — even those that may seem frivolous.

Be sure to check your state’s labor and employment website for additional required State labor posters; or contact ECRM’s Human Resource Consultants for more information.

Click here to download the “EEOC is the Law” Federal Labor Poster.

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