HR mistakes cost more than small businesses can afford
This 8-part blog series highlights a few of the many laws that apply to all businesses or to those with 11+, 15+, 20+, or 50+ employees. We also provide best practice tips to help small businesses avoid costly mistakes. Many of our examples also apply to non-profit agencies and the public sector.
TIP 3: Discrimination -Let Us Educate, so You Don’t Discriminate
Discrimination laws can create the most expensive situations for employers. The major law that relates to these situations is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It says employers shall not discriminate against employees relating to an employment decision such as hiring, promotion, pay, assignments, etc. The categories of discrimination include race, color, national origin (ethnicity), sex, and religion. This same law encompasses sexual harassment (because it is a form of sex discrimination).
How could discrimination happen? Here are some examples of things that have resulted in discrimination lawsuits:
- An employer said, “We don’t hire young women because they leave to have babies.”
- “We don’t hire your kind,” said by another employer. (“Kind” could reference religion, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.)
- Or this situation: A woman is not promoted, and no women are in supervisory positions, because of a cultural bias that they are not strong enough to make tough decisions.
All of these cases, if proven, could result in lawsuits costing an employer from the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. The handling process for these types of complaints is different in each state but can be filed with the Federal EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Note: In Kentucky, an employee can go straight to an attorney and then to court, costing even more due to lawyer fees.
In 2018, the EEOC handled 76,418 cases of discrimination resulting in $505 million in fines and penalties (including 24,655 sex discrimination and 24,600 race discrimination cases). It is vitally important to have the right kind of insurance policies to protect your company (such as general liability insurance, etc.).
Even when cases are not won, they cost money. Employers often turn around and retaliate against an employee for making a claim, thus resulting in retaliation lawsuits. In 2018, there were 39,469 retaliation cases, which made up 51% of all EEOC cases.
As a result of the “Me Too Movement,” there are a lot more sexual harassment lawsuits in the court system. For tips on Sexual Harassment Prevention, click here. For Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies and Training, contact Randi Frank Consulting.
Questions? Contact us today!