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Audit demographics to spot problems before anyone sues

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Hiring,HR Management,Human Resources

Sometimes it’s hard to spot employment discrimination problems even when they’re right under your nose. Consider, for example, age discrimination.

Audit your hiring and firing records for the past few years. If the people your organization has let go are older on average than those you have hired or retained, chances are there is an age discrimination claim lurking in your HR records.

Advice: Perform a regular audit to help spot such problems before they turn into lawsuits.

Have someone in HR take responsibility for crunching the demographic data on your employees to identify any discriminatory patterns. Disparities could be warning signs of a potential discrimination claim.

On the other hand, if your audit reveals a balanced workforce that matches the demographic characteristics from which you draw employees, chances are all is well.

Recent case: Michael Hammer lost his FedEx courier job after 23 years of service because of alleged record falsification. He was 48 years old.

Hammer sued, alleging age discrimination. He based his suit on a few age-related comments he had heard.

The employer argued that it had fired a younger worker for similar conduct. Plus, employment records showed that the workforce had not become significantly younger. In fact, there were 19 couriers older than Hammer, 46 more between the ages of 40 and 47 and two exactly his age. The court dismissed his case. (Hammer v. FedEx, No. 07-Civ-1445, ED NY, 2008)

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