Workplace discrimination can take myriad forms, with varying levels of effects upon employees. Legal suits with discrimination claims, however, can have their own impact upon a business. The simplest way to avoid discrimination suits is to have training and policies in place which eliminate the chance of workplace discrimination before it occurs.
However, sometimes training and policies fail, and sometimes workers falsely accuse their current or former employer of discrimination. Employers must navigate the social and legal minefield which results from a discrimination suit.
Discrimination Claims Data
Statistics concerning the subject of discrimination filings can shed light on the most common forms of workplace discrimination and inform employers’ policies and training. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that during the fiscal year 2020, more than 24,000 workers filed claims alleging disability discrimination, more than any other type of discrimination. The same Commission reported that in FY 2020 more than 22,000 charges due to allegations of racial discrimination, followed by sex-based discrimination (more than 21,000). Roughly a third of all discrimination suits filed in the FY 2020 contained at least a racial discrimination claim, a sex-based discrimination claim, or a disability discrimination claim.
Impact of a Discrimination Suit
Even if a discrimination suit is completely fabricated, discrimination cases
can adversely impact a business in many ways, such as straining relationships, harming employee morale, and negatively skewing public opinion. It is important to carefully manage the internal and external perception of any discrimination suit. However, it is also important for a business to investigate the alleged factual bases for the complaint and determine whether additional action is required, whether it is termination of an employee who engaged in discriminatory action or the improvement of internal anti-discrimination policies. As the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.