The sooner you resolve lawsuits, the better. That’s why it’s important to anticipate problems and plan for them.
Take, for example, employee records. If you can easily produce statistical information on the race, sex, age or other protected characteristics of your employees, you often can persuade an attorney fishing for a lawsuit that the waters are empty.
In order to get a retaliation lawsuit beyond its initial stages, an attorney has to show that his client:
- Engaged in a protected activity, such as filing an EEOC or state discrimination complaint.
- Suffered an adverse employment action.
- Met the employer’s legitimate expectations.
- Was treated less favorably than similarly situated employees who did not engage in the protected activity.
The attorney must prove all these elements.
You can easily disprove the last two with good records. Job descriptions and
kind of information to an attorney, the case will probably end before it begins. A judge probably will do the same.
Recent case: Christopher Graham, who works as a wireless technician, filed an EEOC complaint in 2003. He later claimed that his employer micromanaged him by checking on his work daily and that it was retaliation. But Graham couldn’t point to other employees who weren’t micromanaged. The case was dismissed. (Graham v. AT&T Mobility, No. 06-3020, 7th Cir., 2007)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- 10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review
- Even small changes to employees' schedules can equal retaliation
- Play it straight: When employee's complaints become irrational, stick with sound procedures
- Records retention: What to keep, what to toss
- Bias, retaliation settlement strips club of $95,000