Avoid retaliation lawsuits with these 4 best practices.

For 13 consecutive years, the most common EEOC charge has been retaliation. In fiscal year 2022, the commission fielded 37,898 retaliation complaints, and retaliation was cited in a full 52% of EEOC claims.Retaliation charges rarely stand alone. They almost always accompany claims that allege some form of discrimination, too. So, for example, what starts as a sex-discrimination or harassment lawsuit can easily morph into a much bigger retaliation suit.And guess what: Even when employers beat an underlying bias lawsuit, they often lose on retaliation. Attorneys know that. Whenever an employee asks about filing a discrimination or harassment lawsuit, a smart lawyer will always probe for an excuse to tack on a retaliation claim.That's why employers continue to pay an extraordinarily high price for retaliation. The EEOC recovered $220.1 million for victims of retaliation in FY 2022.How retaliation often occursOrganizations rarely retaliate; individual bosses often do. Many retaliation claims grow out of bad workplace relationships, the kind in which supervisors often describe the employee as "difficult" or a "pain in the neck." You'll no doubt recognize the typical description: "He can't get along--it's always something!"Retaliation claims can be particularly costly once they get into the legal process. What's worse, retaliation claims can stick even when the employee's underlying complaint-discrimination, for example--proves to be unfounded. That can make it particularly difficult to coach and counsel supervisors who are in the middle of workplace relationships gone bad.Here are four recommendations that can help prevent retaliation claims in the first place and--acknowledging that no system can prevent all such claims--at least help the organization establish and prove possible defenses to claims of retaliation that do arise.1. Make sure retaliation is on the workplace mapEnsure that supervisors, managers and executives understand the impact of workplace complaints and other protected activities employees may engage in. Train employees about their retaliation rights, and encourage them to bring any such complaints to HR's attention so experts like you can respond.Make it clear that your organization prohibits anyone from retaliating against an employee who either reports suspected illegal activity or exercises their legally protected rights (such as filing for FMLA leave or workers' comp benefits). Incorporate your commitment to a retaliation-free workplace...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT