Employees who sue for discrimination have to come up with some evidence before the case can advance beyond the initial stages—and before it gets progressively more expensive for employers paying the legal bill.
Employers that fight back right away with statistics showing there was no discrimination can save big bucks in the long run.
Recent case: Fernando Ornelas, who is over age 40, was fired from his production job for taking a longer break than he was entitled to.
He sued, claiming the real reason for his firing was age discrimination.
But the company offered evidence that the average age of plant employees was over 40. It could also show that every other employee it had fired for the same reason was under age 40.
The court said that was enough to prove no discrimination had occurred. (Ornelas v. Nestle, No. E047531, Court of Appeal of California, 4th Appellate Division, 2009)
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- Categorize reasons why you impose employee discipline
- Little incidents can become harassment over time
- When firing follows harassment, watch out! You could be facing a retaliation lawsuit
- Promote harmony, prevent hostile environment by adding civility policy to your handbook