Avoiding Costly Litigation and Unwanted Attention

It was recently announced in a press release that large and well-known California-based tech company is being sued for employment discrimination. This suit is purported to be a class action that will represent those former employers of the company who were laid-off (allegedly) because of their age. Currently the case includes only four ex-employees, but could grow into a larger number over time.

This is a common situation companies find themselves in when going in a new direction or seeking to remake an image. In many cases a company is overtaken with new management who have a new vision of what the company should be. Unfortunately for the many long term employees who are part of the old company, their services are no longer wanted.

This is one part of a never ending cycle of how business is and has been done. But another part of that process too often includes post employment litigation over the lay-offs. In this case the company wanted a newer, younger image, which led to older employees filing an ageism lawsuit claiming they were discriminated against because of age.

Types of Illegal Employment Discrimination

Every employment decision a manager makes involves some sort of discrimination. As a manager decides which person in a pool of candidates should get a job, he will discriminate based on the candidate’s’ work experience, schooling, and other aspects of the applicants. But there are protected characteristics and aspects of a pool of candidates a manage may not use to discriminate in hiring.

Federal law protects people looking for a job by making it illegal for an employer to discriminate against someone because of that person’s

  • race;
  • color;
  • religion;
  • sex;
  • national origin;
  • age; or,
  • genetic information.

Fortunately we live in a society where not only is it illegal to discriminate against someone on these basis, but it is also largely socially unacceptable. But as anyone running a company knows, where there is a law there is a high likelihood of a lawsuit being filed based on that law. And discrimination laws are no exception to this general rule. Facing such a suit in addition to remaking a company’s image can wreak havoc on a transition and cause negative implications for the new company’s image.

So, what can companies do to prevent or win these kinds of employment discrimination suits? That is where the counsel and planning of a great legal team can make all the difference. Of course, even with planning and execution lawsuits can be filed by disgruntled employees, but having a plan in place and a record of complying with the law can reduce litigation costs and put the brakes on any suit that is filed. That is the essence of what good legal counsel is all about.

If your company is in the middle of a transition towards a different look and future, first have a plan in place to prevent unwanted costs down the road. Contact our professionals at the Royse Law Firm and our employment practice group will work with you to plan your company’s transition.

Roger Royse
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