Defense strategies for employers facing discrimination claims

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2021 | Liability Defense |

Allegations of workplace discrimination can be detrimental to employee morale and overall productivity. When a New York employer faces a claim that they or one of their workers has committed a workplace infraction in violation of a state or federal anti-discrimination law, the employer may face a long and costly legal battle to clear its name of its alleged wrongdoing. They should know, however, that workplace discrimination claims can be met with defense options and strategies to mitigate and eliminate detrimental legal challenges.

There are no guarantees under the law, and New York employers that are currently facing discrimination claims should know that they can choose to work with discrimination defense attorneys to help them fight their cases. This post suggests several defense strategies that may work for employers, but it is important that readers remember that this post offers no legal advice. All defense plans should be suited to individual discrimination cases and tailored to meet the needs of individual employers.

Alleged discrimination while on the job

Some claims of discrimination arise when a worker claims they are being treated differently and detrimentally because of their inclusion in a protected class. They may sue their employer to have their allegedly discriminatory treatment altered or for compensation for their allegedly disparate treatment. One way that employers can prevent these claims from advancing is by ensuring that their employment contracts and policies address workplace conditions and cover situations that may lead to discrimination claims.

For example, a worker may claim that their requests for time off are denied because they are part of a protected racial, religious, or age class. However, an employer who has allowed itself discretion to make business-based decisions for time off requests may have a strong and documented position to take if a discretion clause is built into the employee’s contract or employee handbook. Employers can defend their business actions as legitimate when they prepare for possible claims before they become legal issues.

Alleged discrimination in terminations

Many discrimination claims are made when employees are terminated from their positions. A worker may allege that they were fired because of their race rather than for legitimate grounds for termination. As mentioned, employers can protect themselves proactively from such claims by building in termination clauses to their contracts and policies which may later serve as defense evidence in discrimination claims.

Another way that an employer can defend a discrimination in termination claim is through evidence placed in the employee’s personnel file. Often an employee is terminated after a pattern or history of wrongful behavior or unacceptable work quality. It is often possible for an employer to use the information documented in the employee’s personnel file as evidence to demonstrate the legitimacy of a termination and overcome claims of discrimination.

Allegations of discrimination at work are overwhelming and damaging to lawful New York businesses. They can be costly and inflict reputational harm on entities that are doing their best to treat their employees fairly and with respect. When allegations of discrimination at work arise, businesses can turn to defense attorneys to help them fight to protect their interests.


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