Employment Litigation: What You Need To Know

Employment Litigation

When an employee files a lawsuit against their employer for reasons about their employment or work-related activities, such as worker’s compensation, insurance benefits, pensions, scheduling conflicts, overtime, harassment, or discrimination, the case is known as employment litigation. An unemployed person may also file it if they feel their rejection was unfairly justified.

Terminations may give rise to employment litigation if there is discrimination based on race, gender, or other protected classifications. To guard against employment lawsuits, employers should set up a procedure for proper termination and disciplinary action, as well as establish written expectations.

Employment Litigation: What is It?

A lawsuit relating to work-related matters or activities (including work-related extracurriculars like parties) filed by an employee against their employer is known as employment litigation.

Litigation is defined as “the process of making or defending a claim in court” by the Oxford Dictionary. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the primary venue for employment litigation (EEOC). To avoid money, effort, and bad press, most businesses choose to settle out of court, meaning that most charges never go to trial.

The Reasons for Employment Litigation

Even if someone has merely applied to work at the company, they are still able to file a charge against it. States and reasons differ in the quantity of charges they receive.

Every spring, the EEOC updates its enforcement statistics, which provide information on the quantity and nature of discrimination accusations that are brought both nationally and state-by-state. These figures are also available online, as are the EEOC litigation statistics (in which the agency brings a lawsuit on behalf of an individual or group of individuals).

The EEOC reports that in 2021, there were charges in 39 states (Vermont) and 6,508 states (Texas). The spring of 2023 will see an update to the 2022 data. These are a few of the most frequent causes of employment lawsuits.

EEO Laws: Retaliation, Discrimination, Harassment, etc.

The acronym for equal employment opportunity is EEO. These rules forbid particular forms of discrimination against employees in particular sorts of jobs. These laws are something that all HR workers need to learn about.

Two entities under the Department of Labor (DOL) oversee and implement EEO laws.
You can study up on them. Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are the three most frequently reported violations of EEO statutes.

Employment or Workplace Discrimination:

When someone is treated differently at work because of a protected class—such as race, color, national origin, age, handicap, gender reassignment, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marriage, or pregnancy—it is considered workplace discrimination. To stop discrimination, HR professionals need to be aware of these protected classifications.

Harassment:

The Age Discrimination in Job Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 all prohibit harassment as a form of job discrimination. It may take the form of verbal, physical, or visual abuse, and if it gets out of control at work, it may qualify as harassment. According to the EEOC, the average settlement for harassment cases is $50,000, however, the case’s management and intensity can differ.

Retaliation:

When an employer fires or otherwise penalizes a worker for participating in protected activity, this is known as adverse action. Opposition and participation are two categories of protected activity.

While participation is taking part in investigations or utilizing legal rights related to employment, opposition entails reporting instances of discrimination or harassment.

Retaliation claims are the most common type of whistleblower protection, making up over 60% of all claims submitted between 2017 and 2020. These protections are available to five federal entities.

How Businesses Should Address Employment Litigation

Sometimes a lawsuit still occurs, even after you’ve taken every precaution to prevent it. You are informed that a charge has been filed or that you have received service of documents. How do you proceed?

Step 1: Go Over the Paperwork.

You must be aware of the situation you are in. Do they intend to take you to court? Are you facing legal action? Is it an administration fee? What is the accusation against you? You must be very specific about what to search for.

If there are any deadlines, make sure to put them on your calendar and provide enough time for your response. If you don’t follow the directions or satisfy the deadlines, the court will proceed without your involvement.

Step 2: Put the Case on Hold

When you make sure nothing is thrown away, you place a lawsuit on hold. Get in touch with your IT staff to stop any potential auto-deletion for any parties involved. Make contact with anyone you believe may have paperwork or information, and advise them to start gathering what they have, even if they don’t think it’s significant, and not to delete anything.

Step 3: Give Your Employment Law Counsel a Call

Inform them right away, even if it’s only to let them know. If the matter does end up in court, they can assist you in navigating the procedure or at the very least keep you informed.

Step 4: Give Your Liability Insurance for Employment Practices a Call

Does your business have an insurance policy covering employment practices liability? This covers damages and defense expenditures for the different employment-related disputes.

This covers allegations of wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination. It wouldn’t hurt to consider obtaining an EPLI if you don’t already have one. Ensure that you notify them.

Step 5: Conciliation

If the EEOC sends you a notice of administrative charge, you should continue to proceed with step 1 and assure yourself that you will attend the mediation. Mediators mediate 90% of administrative charges. Take all of your notes and supporting paperwork, and make sure you accompany a decision-maker from the organization.

A few labor and employment-related Supreme Court cases are listed below:

  • Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006)
  • IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez (2005)
  • Smith v. City of Jackson (2005)

FAQs:

What does the term “employment” signify in terms of company law?

An employee is a person who works for an employer and is subject to their direction and control. Employers have the authority to determine what tasks their employees must perform while working for them, either through an explicit or implicit contract of hiring.

Dispute employment: what is it?

An official dispute about the rights of the employee, typically between the employer and employee: Our attorneys have represented both employers and employees in court in a variety of employment-related cases.

What alternative words would you use to describe a job termination?

Axed, canned, let go, laid off, dismissed, terminated, and given a pink slip.

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