Apa | Management homework help

Rocio Murillo

February 23, 2016



Source: https://www.chadwestlaw.com/blog/top-ten-ways-employers-can-avoid-


Every so often a story involving a discrimination lawsuit will be featured on news, catching

the public’s attention with its exceptionally large verdict. For example, in the spring of

2015, a Pittsburgh jury returned a $13 million judgment in a case where a woman was the

target of obscene gestures and continually called “Big Girl” by a few of her male

colleagues.[1] In 2014, a 66-year-old man was awarded $26 million by a Los Angeles jury

when he was subjected to a string of false accusations and harassment by co-workers and a

manager, which culminated in his suspension for taking a bell pepper, worth 68 cents, from

the cafeteria.[2] Clearly, discrimination lawsuits can cost companies thousands, if not

millions, of dollars in damages. Commonly, however, companies will ignore potentially

discriminatory activity until they are the defendants in a discrimination suit.

Employees may file discrimination suits on a variety of grounds such as race, age, sex,

disability, or a wide variety of other immutable characteristics. Thus, while the only sure

way to avoid discrimination suits altogether is to close your doors and go out of business,

there are multiple ways that employers can significantly reduce the likelihood of such suits.

The following list provides the ten tips that employers can implement to protect themselves

from employee discrimination lawsuits.

10. Cultivate a workplace intolerant of discrimination or harassment. While the rest of

the tips on this list are more specific in nature, they all circle back to this overarching

concept of cultivating an environment that will not tolerate discrimination. By enforcing the

idea that all forms of harassment is not acceptable via employee handbooks, clear hiring and

firing procedures, and training, companies can solve discrimination conflicts before

litigation ensues.

9. Create (or revise) policy manuals. This is a simple, easy, and rather effective strategy

for preventing discrimination lawsuits. Every company should include within their manuals

a strong anti-discrimination statement and comprehensive anti-harassment policy.

8. Thoroughly train managers and supervisors. Managers and supervisors need to be

educated on what discrimination actually is and be able to recognize the signs of

harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Key personnel should also be trained on how to

properly take complaints and respond appropriately to avoid inflaming tense workplace

conflicts. Those in supervisory roles should fully understand that prevention of

discrimination lawsuits is their responsibility.

7. Educate all employees about workplace discrimination. Training for lower level

employees should define discrimination and emphasize that such behavior will not be

tolerated in the workplace.

6. Be transparent. In addition to being told what is prohibited, general employee training

should also inform employees of their right to a discrimination free workplace and educate

employees on how supervisors should be handling complaints. Transparency in the

complaints process creates a higher level of accountability among supervisors and serves to


5. Hire fairly. Displaying a trend of not hiring a protected class of individuals could lead to

claims of discrimination down the road. Asking about an employment candidate’s age, sex,

disability, religion, race, color, or marital status in an interview can be interpreted as proof

of intent to discriminate.

4. Create a paper trail. In addition to having a clear complaint process, it is important to

document complaints as well as all conversations and investigatory actions involved in

assessing the complaint. Further, even in scenarios where supervisors do not expect

discrimination allegations, possibly because the employee’s behavior clearly warrants

termination, it is important to document the process to squash any later allegations by the

terminated, disgruntled employee.

3. Discipline employees carefully. Be sure to know all the facts and have hard evidence

before pursuing disciplinary action against employees. In cases of serious disciplinary

action where there is a high likelihood an employee may allege discrimination, consider

consulting legal counsel before taking any final action.

2. Take employee complaints seriously. While the daily grind of the workplace and

difficult employees may tempt those in management roles to blow off complaints, such

apathy will often serve to enhance workplace conflicts. Making employees feel heard can

ease tension and prevent the disgruntled employee from pursuing legal action.

1. Learn how to fire well. One scenario that often leads to discrimination suits is a poorly

planned or badly executed termination. In a well-executed termination, the employee should

leave knowing why they were fired and why they, the employee, and the company are better

off. Sometimes, failing to provide the truth as to why an employee was terminated can lead

to speculation and allegations of discrimination.[3]

Cultivating a culture intolerant of discrimination can save companies big bucks by

preventing expensive litigation. To that end, companies should not wait until they are the

targets of a discrimination lawsuit before deciding to take anti-discrimination policies

seriously. By implementing these simple guidelines, employers can get ahead of potential

discrimination actions and diffuse workplace conflict before litigation ensues.

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