Here’s a bit of good news for employers on the losing end of an EEOC determination that an employee’s discrimination complaint has merit: That determination isn’t the final word—and it doesn’t carry much weight in court. The employee won’t be able to use the determination to prove bias.
Don’t let down your guard just because an employee’s discrimination complaint lacks merit. He could still have a legitimate retaliation claim. Simply put, if a supervisor punishes an employee after he complains about discrimination, you can still be found liable even if there was no discrimination in the first place.
If you want a job, you have to apply for it. If you want a promotion, you have to apply for it. If you want to sue an employer for discrimination in hiring or promotions, you probably should have applied, too, right?
Some employees expect the workplace to be a perfect place, free of all strife and disharmony. Too bad that’s an unrealistic standard. Employees have to develop some degree of tolerance for slights and inconveniences. And even if callous supervisors and co-workers treat sensitive souls badly, that doesn’t mean discrimination is to blame.
As soon as employers started equipping employees with email accounts and a list of company email addresses, things started getting complicated. You can punish employees for many email attack campaigns—as long as you first make sure the content doesn’t qualify as concerted or protected activity.
Failing to effectively communicate with your employees isn’t just bad for business. It also can create legal trouble. Here are five of the most common errors that land employers in court. As you’ll see, communication lies at the heart of all of them.
It would be naïve to think your organization’s supervisors would never sexually harass subordinates. Here’s what to do when an employee complains she’s being sexually harassed. Make sure you investigate thoroughly. Don’t approve any discipline recommended by the same supervisor until you have had a chance to verify or disprove the allegations.
Some employees think that if they are pregnant, they can’t be fired. While it’s true that firing someone because they are pregnant is illegal, it doesn’t follow that every discharge involving a mother-to-be is discrimination. Be prepared to show legitimate, nonpregnancy-related reasons for your action and you should survive a lawsuit.
Some employees seem to believe that any complaint they make about their employer is protected activity. Thus, they may assume that any punishment they experience is retaliation worthy of a lawsuit. Fortunately, that’s not necessarily true.
Access Services, a Charlotte-based janitorial services company, must explain to a judge why it failed to make court-ordered payments after it settled an EEOC discrimination lawsuit brought by a former employee.