The Integrity News
Vol. XIV No. 6
"objective risk management services"
June 24, 2005
Our clients are telling us that they are finding more
applicants who have sued their former employers in
Federal court. Plaintiff's lawyers file those lawsuits
in Federal courts because typically the claim in a suit
is that Federal employment law has been violated.
In the June 21, 2005 issue of Workforce Management,
(WfM) you find that at the SHRM Conference, "a host
of lawyers and experts address (the) reasons behind the
recent upsurge in employment lawsuits".
"The increasing litigiousness of American society can
be felt acutely in the workplace, with employment lawsuits
increasing by more than 2,000% over the past two
decades." "One of the things that companies expect
from their HR staffs is to keep them out of court."
"You now have a major emphasis on claims prevention."
The article in WfM says that there are a number of
reasons for the recent increase in the number of
"Collective action is becoming easier to take."
"The Sarbanes-Oxley Act fosters whistle-blowing."
"Workers are less reticent to talk about sex in the
workplace because the subject pervades the media."
"Fierce competition in the global economy has forced
layoffs and changes to performance expectations
that are roiling employees."
"The Civil Rights Act of 1991 allows both compensatory
and punitive damages, as well as jury trials, for cases
of alleged workplace discrimination."
"Once juries were involved, the potential for multi-
million dollar verdicts escalated."
All this has led a prominent labor law attorney to comment
that "Your winning lottery ticket tends to be your lawsuit
against your employer."
There are numerous motivations for employee lawsuits.
"An angry worker whose job has been outsourced to
India lashes out by suing her company." "A group of
employees takes legal action to win overtime pay."
"A worker encourages his female colleague to enter
a contest (that has sexual overtones) that they hear on
the radio while working in the office, and she files suit
against their employer."
In addition, in the May, 2005 issue of Executive Legal
Adviser, is the article "Disparate-Impact Dangers --
Scrutinize Policies That Disadvantage Older Workers."
In that article, it is pointed out that "the U.S. Supreme
Court held on March 30, 2005, that Federal law
recognizes claims of age discrimination even in the
absence of discriminatory intent." "The court concluded
that employees may sue their employers for age
discrimination under a disparate-impact theory, when
a facially neutral employment practice has an un-
intended adverse effect on older workers. The ruling
opens the door for age discrimination claims challenging
pay and benefit practices, performance standards,
severance policies, and other practices that, while age
neutral on their face, may have unintended correlations
with an employee's age."
The article further emphasizes that "Until the courts
establish a consistent 'reasonable-factors-other-than-age'
standard, employers shouldn't take the potential for
disparate impact age discrimination claims lightly."
And so what are employers seeing ? More lawsuits
are being filed in Federal courts alleging the violation
of Federal employment law.
And what are employers doing about it ? Among other
things, they are checking to see if an applicant has a
history of suing former employers.
To discuss checking civil litigation histories as part of
your background checking program call
The Integrity Center, Inc.
at (972) 484-6140. All
the tools you need to protect your company are right
on your Client Interface. Helping you with
your Risk Management and HR Automation is what we do.