Handling Employee Discrimination Claims March 1st, 2011
Discrimination, whether based on race, sex, religion, or any other facet, can be dangerous territory for employers to tread through. Discrimination claims can be filed against employees’ actions as well as managers or other in-house counsel. It is extremely important to handle claims like these without emotion. This is necessary in order to make well thought-out, informed decisions. Especially if you are an employer, it is critical to make sure all the bases are covered.
The Most Important Steps to Take Rodney G. Moore, a shareholder of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, stated that the most important first step to take is “within 24 hours, if the complaint names you personally, bring in a trusted adviser to help you make initial decisions, including the decision of retaining counsel.” Having an existing relationship with someone you trust in this kind of situation can be very helpful, but this is not always feasible for everyone. Find someone who can best address your needs and someone you can trust. These types of people specialize in handling discrimination cases and have much more experience than you do-let them take charge because in the end it will be the smartest and safest measure to take.
Religious Case Studies Racial and religious discrimination are a couple the most common claims that surface at the workplace. More recently, there has been a growing amount of tension with Muslims in the United States. 2010’s number of discrimination claims, although not yet calculated, is expected to surge pass other years and set yet another record. In August 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “sued JBS Swift, a meatpacking company, on behalf of 160 Somali immigrants, saying supervisors and workers cursed them for being Muslim; thrown blood, meat and bones at them; and interrupted their prayer books…on September 1st, 2010, the commission filed a case against Abercrombie & Fitch, the fashionable clothing retailer, accusing it of discrimination for refusing to hire an 18-year-old Muslim because she was wearing a head scarf,” reported the New York Times. Cases like these are getting companies into a lot of trouble. Whether or not all of the allegations are correct, employers need to take extreme precautions in responding to claims like these.
Another story emerged in the New York Times from Phoenix, Arizona, where the “Four Points by Sheraton hotel management had allegedly illegally permitted a hostile work environment in which workers called an Iraqi immigrant a “camel jockey,” mocked him with Arab ululations and taunted him over news items about captured terrorists.”
Whether discrimination claims are based on religion race, or for any other reasons, they are not to be taken lightly. To best handle these types of situations (for both employees and employers), it is imperative to not respond immediately and emotionally. Carefully evaluate the circumstance before jumping straight to conclusions.
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