2 Tips To Avoid Discrimination Lawsuits Against Your Business
Discrimination lawsuits from employees or third parties can damage your brand and waste the time and money you would otherwise use to improve your business. Here are two major things you can do to avoid such lawsuits.
1. Put Discrimination Prevention Measures into Place
The best way to avoid discrimination lawsuits is for you and your employees to avoid discrimination at all costs. The following tips will help you do just that.
Understand the Legal Meaning of Discrimination
You cannot avoid what you don’t understand, so the first thing is to understand what the government means by discrimination, especially within the context of your industry. You should also know that discrimination can be lawful or unlawful, and the government is only against unlawful discrimination.
For example, property owners can reject tenant applications from dog owners without violating discrimination laws. The rejection constitutes lawful discrimination as long as the property owner rejects all applications from dog owners. However, a property owner who only rejects applications from dog owners of a certain religion commits unlawful discrimination.
Educate Your Workforce
The legal principle of respondeat superior holds employers liable for their employee’s actions. For example, if your employees are guilty of discrimination, their victims may hold you legally liable. Respondeat superior holds you responsible if your employees committed a discriminatory act on the job.
As such, you should educate your workforce on discrimination laws; they should understand discrimination and learn how to avoid it. Use seminars and workshops for the training. Make the training mandatory for everyone.
Institute an Anti-Discrimination Policy
Every business should have an anti-discriminatory policy that governs its internal and external operations. Here are helpful tips for such a policy:
- Make it concise and clear
- Cite examples of discriminatory behavior
- Explain how employees can report discrimination
Get a lawyer to write the policy, or at least proof it, to ensure it covers relevant federal and local laws.
2. Deal With All Complaints Appropriately
Preventing discrimination is a good start, but it might not prevent all discrimination lawsuits. Some of your employees might still commit discrimination. Disgruntled employees and aggrieved clients or partners might see discrimination even in cases where it doesn’t apply. The following tips may help prevent such claims from progressing to lawsuits.
Investigate and Document All Complaints
Don’t dismiss discrimination accusations even if you think they lack merit. Investigate all complaints, so you have full information and can make an informed decision. Your investigations may include interviewing accusers and perpetrators, reviewing applicable laws and policies, and even using private investigators.
Document every step of the procedure. That way, you won’t end up with a case of she said, he said. For example, correspond with the parties involved via email instead, videotape the conversations (with consent), and have everyone sign the relevant documents.
Corporate With Government Agencies
Cooperate with government agencies investigating you, your business, or your employees. Don’t hide or destroy evidence, and don’t play games. Otherwise, the investigators might think you are hiding something. An accuser who thinks you are hiding something or not taking them seriously is more likely to file a lawsuit than another who is satisfied with the process.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods tend to be quiet, inexpensive, and fast, especially compared to lawsuits. You can try mediation, where a neutral third party guides negations and helps you reach a consensus with the accuser. Another option is arbitration, where a neutral third party listens to both sides and issues a judgment.
Mohajerian A Professional Law Corporation is a multi-practice law firm with extensive experience. We understand what it takes to build a brand and can use our legal experience to protect your business. Contact us for representation and guidance with all matters concerning discrimination accusations.