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Good and accurate records key to winning lawsuits early

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in Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

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 performance evaluations shed light on meeting job expectations and statistical information proves whether others were treated more favorably. If you show that
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)

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