Most employers work hard to create an atmosphere in which all employees feel welcome, productive and safe. Still, there are situations in which an employee may experience workplace discrimination. In these scenarios, it is up to the employer to act quickly in order to substantiate the employee’s allegations, rectify the situation and prevent it from happening again.
Despite an employer’s best efforts, an employee may still file a workplace discrimination lawsuit. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employment discrimination lawsuits are on the rise—and will probably only go up. What is causing this increase in discrimination suits? It is important for employers to recognize the potential causes in order to take action and deter lawsuits in the future.
Word of mouth
The past few years have seen a growing awareness regarding workplace discrimination. Some of the country's major employment laws were created decades ago—before the workforce became more diverse, and before social media platforms took off. Today, it is easier than ever for employees to spread information about their rights in the workplace.
It seems impossible to open a newspaper, turn on the television or scroll through social media without hearing about the latest discrimination scandal. Hearing about other instances of workplace discrimination may prompt employees who have experienced it themselves to take up a lawsuit. It is also possible that some discrimination lawsuits are motivated by profit. While the majority of discrimination suits are legitimate, there may also be exceptions where a disgruntled employee is hoping for a payout.
In 2016, the most common reason for a workplace discrimination lawsuit was retaliation. If an employee complains about discrimination, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against the complainant in any way. When employers retaliate, it is often in panic or denial—and it usually only exacerbates the situation. Instead of using retaliation, employers who have workplace discrimination issues on their hands should seek advice from an employment lawyer.