The EEOC and state agencies typically require organizations that settle discrimination claims to find ways of stopping further problems. Courts usually do the same when they accept a settlement, especially if the case involves more than one employee.
If you’ve agreed to settle a discrimination claim, here are some steps that prove you’re serious about maintaining a discrimination-free workplace. Taking these steps can short-circuit efforts to hold you in contempt of court for not doing enough to prevent further problems.
- Develop a brochure or poster explaining employee rights and where to go with discrimination-related questions or problems.
- Produce internal statistics showing that you treat all employees fairly.
- Place someone in charge of making sure the changes work.
Recent case: A group of Latino police officers sued New York City, alleging the police department had not done enough to remedy discrimination under an earlier settlement.
The officers claimed they were unfairly disciplined and that nothing had changed.
The city explained all the efforts it had undertaken to make changes. It provided internal statistics on discipline, which showed distinctions based on race. The court said the city was doing what the settlement required it to do and could not be held in contempt. (Latino Officers, et al., v. City of NY, et al., No. 07-5293, 2nd Cir., 2009)
Final note: Don’t be shy about letting the agency or court know what you have been doing. Even if they don’t ask, show them how things have changed.
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