Litigation & EEOC claims

Let’s face it, litigation is a fact we all have to deal with.  And, if you are a business owner, chances are even greater that at some point in your career you will be directly impacted.  Lora Manternach, Benefits Administrator for StaffScapes, Inc. recently attended a legal updates seminar presented by Fisher & Phillips, LLP.  Here’s a few key statistics that they shared that you need to know:
  
1.    Lawsuits are up almost 400% over the past 20 years
2.    Most common target for lawsuits is private employers with 5-100 employees
3.    In federal court, 67% of all awards exceed $100,000 with the average compensatory damages awarded at almost $500,000
One large area of litigation centers around EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) claims.  As expected, filings have increased and in fact set a record high of 95,402 in 2008.  This marked a 15.2 % increase from the year before.  The response is that the EEOC has become more aggressive aided by a $23 million dollar budget increase.  After hiring an additional 300 employees, the EEOC has collected $274 million, filed 290 “merit” lawsuits, focused additional attention to class actions and systemic violations and worked to change enforcement policies.
What’s the best way to mitigate potential claims?  We recommend establishing policies and procedures and/or making sure current handbooks are up to date.  Keeping consistent is key in how you deal with daily operational situations.  For further assistance, please contact StaffScapes, Inc. at 303-466-7864 or info@StaffScapes.com.