It’s a fact of life: Unhappy applicants, employees and former employees tend to sue. There’s not much you can do about that.
However, you can be prepared to react quickly as soon as you learn of a lawsuit. The faster you respond, the more likely a judge will dismiss the suit. Barring that, at least you will be in a strong position to defend yourself.
The key is having complete documentation of all employment decisions. Make sure you can quickly gather the relevant information. That includes, policies, applications, job postings and announcements, disciplinary histories, notes and interview records. Getting it all together will help your attorney respond quickly to a lawsuit.
Recent case: Elaine Moorman worked for Walmart for about two years as a cashier. She quit one day after being scheduled to work eight straight days.
Then she sued, alleging a long list of grievances. She said she had been discriminated against based on her age, her supposed disability and her sex. For good measure, she threw in an allegation of sexual harassment.
But Walmart had a full file of records ready to present in court. Moorman couldn’t counter Walmart’s claim that she was treated no differently than any other employee. She lost her case. (Moorman v. Wal-Mart Stores, No. 10-CV-405, SD IL, 2011)
Final note: This is yet another case in which the employee acted as her own attorney. When that happens, it usually means the employee couldn’t find an attorney willing to take the case. Don’t be complacent about defending against such pro se cases. Handle them with the same serious approach you would take with other claims.
- Don't let petty grievances cost you sleep: They seldom cause discrimination liability
- When serial harasser strikes, you can't just move victims
- Good cause to act? Don't wait to terminate
- Don't sweat perfection when investigative honesty is enough
- Now he tells us he's disabled! Must we still accommodate with a flexible schedule?