In 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) resolved more than 99,109 workplace discrimination claims— securing more than $398 million from employers in the private and public sectors as a result.
Discrimination lawsuits can be extremely time-consuming and expensive for employers, and can result in a loss of employee morale and/or reputation within the community. This isn’t something you want to learn the hard way.
Want to know where your biggest risks lie? Of course you do.
Top Causes of Discrimination Claims
According to the EEOC, these were the top 10 reasons for workplace discrimination claims in fiscal year 2017:
- Retaliation—41,097 (48.8% of all charges filed)
- Race—28,528 (33.9%)
- Disability—26,838 (31.9%)
- Sex—25,605 (30.4%)
- Age—18,376 (21.8%)
- National origin—8,299 (9.8%)
- Religion—3,436 (4.1%)
- Color—3,240 (3.8%)
- Equal Pay Act—996 (1.2%)
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act—206 (0.2%)
You may notice these percentages add up to more than 100 percent. That’s because some lawsuits were filed alleging multiple reasons for discrimination. Yikes.
What Can You Do?
Employers can (and should!) take the following steps to protect themselves from retaliation and other discrimination claims:
- Audit your processes and practices to uncover any problematic situations.
- Create a clear anti-retaliation policy that includes specific examples of what management can and cannot do when disciplining or terminating employees.
- Provide training to management and employees on anti-retaliation and other discrimination policies.
- Implement a user-friendly internal complaint procedure for employees.
- Uphold a standard of workplace civility, which can reduce retaliatory behaviors.
Don’t wait until there’s an incident to protect yourself from painful, expensive lawsuits. Invest the time and resources you need to build a workplace that’s free from discrimination— and discrimination claims.
Not only will you reduce your liability risk, you’ll create a diverse and inviting culture that attracts all kinds of great talent– and makes them want to stay.
Need a better ROI on your corporate employee benefits? At Sonus Benefits, we’re not interested in just finding you a policy for this year. We provide strategic employee benefits and human resource management services to help you build a better future. Get in touch with Sonus to find out what working with a true employee benefits consultant feels like.