By Joy Rhyne Webb, Attorney at Law
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported a record number of discrimination claims filed for fiscal year 2011, with 99,947 reported charges. The Commission also showed a record payout on claims, totaling $364.6 million. If your company has been the defendant in a discrimination suit filed by a current or former employee, you know that whether you win or lose the case, you will have legal expenses and potentially negative publicity.
As a Raleigh employment attorney, I am often contacted by business owners or managers who have just received legal notice of a pending discrimination suit. Many of them are unsure of what steps to take next. Each case is different, but here are some basic steps to take if your company is sued:
- If you do not already have an employment attorney, find one immediately. A business law or general practice firm may or may not have experience in employment law. There is too much at stake for your company not to have skilled legal representation.
- If the employee who filed the suit still works for the firm, do not take any action that could be construed as retaliatory.
- If you have employment practices insurance coverage, notify your insurance carrier of the pending lawsuit.
- Read the claim carefully and compile a list of any questions you may have to ask your employment attorney. He or she will be able to direct your next steps.
- Gather all documents you have regarding the complaining employee, including his or her personnel file, job evaluations and any written reprimands, warnings or performance improvement plans.
If your company has been sued for discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour complaints, or any other employment law issue, you should speak to an employment attorney immediately. To contact a Merritt Webb Raleigh employment attorney, call 1.888.802.3423 today or contact us online.