Discrimination lawsuits can be time-consuming and expensive. It is imperative for employers to audit their practices so they can uncover problem situations and practices before they lead to expensive litigation. Employers can help avoid discrimination claims by offering compliance training, being direct and honest when implementing disciplinary procedures, contesting meritless charges, implementing user-friendly internal complaint procedures and seeking legal advice before little problems become big ones.
Check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor, which helps employers determine which federal nondiscrimination laws apply to their business: www.dol.gov/elaws/odep.htm.
In general, an individual within a protected classification must not be treated less favorably than others outside of the protected classification in regard to hiring decisions or employment conditions. An employment decision made because of an employee’s protected classification may lead to a discrimination lawsuit where the employee is entitled to a jury trial and where both compensatory and punitive damages are available.