As an employer, you are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on factors like ethnicity, sex, disability, age, and more. When an employee feels there has been some type of discrimination, they may file a complaint, known as a Charge of Discrimination, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Even if the claims prove to have no merit, it can still affect your business.
If you’ve had an employee file an EEOC discrimination claim, you need to contact a Florida employment-law attorney as soon as possible. Here is a look at some of the ways EEOC claims can negatively affect your business.
Disrupts Business Productivity
Whether or not the EEOC claim is valid, you will still be forced to spend time and money dealing with it. Once the claim is filed, you will receive notice and will need to prepare a statement of position. This is where you would tell your side of the story, then wait for the follow up request to supply related documentation and any other relevant information, usually personnel files and copies of your human resources policies. In limited cases, an EEOC representative may even want to visit the worksite, which can be disruptive. Employees may need to be made available for interviews as well.
Even if you opt to resolve the claim early on without costly litigation, you are still looking at a number of legal expenses. Some EEOC claims resolve through mediation, and there may be an option for you to resolve the matter without admitting liability, and the agreement may be able to stay confidential. Even if the case resolves early, there may be an expense to having policies and procedures changed and updated, as well as compensating employees who complained.
Potential for Penalties
Employers may be penalized through the process, as they have to provide relief for the employees who were discriminated against. This could include back pay, reinstatement, and perhaps even promoting them. It will depend on what the nature of the complaint is.
There is a risk that if the case goes to trial, you could be ordered to pay the employee’s legal costs and expenses. If you lose at trial, the court has the discretion to award compensatory and even punitive damages in some cases. Damages are capped based on how many employees you have.
Retaining a Florida Employment Law Firm
If an employee has filed a discrimination claim against your business, it’s important you speak with an attorney right away. It’s recommended you retain a business litigation attorney who has experience with employment law and EEOC claims. At Pincus & Currier LLP, we have years of experience helping small and medium-sized businesses with their labor and employment law matters, including defending against EEOC claims and drafting positioning statements.
We also have experience with representation in administrative proceedings before the EEOC, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). Contact our convenient West Palm Beach office at 561-868-1340 to schedule a consultation and let us help with all your employment law needs.