Employers who have been accused of workplace discrimination need quick action and a robust legal defense to protect their rights, interests, and reputations. Although plaintiffs and their lawyers will try to cast your company in the worst possible light, there are two sides to every employment discrimination case. You deserve a skillful, customized legal strategy from a law firm that has successfully represented clients in these types of lawsuits. SederLaw is that firm.
Employment Discrimination Cases We Handle
Our law firm has extensive experience defending employers in a wide range of state and federal discrimination cases. We handle discrimination claims that are based on the following:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (race, religion, national origin, and retaliation lawsuits)
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
- The Massachusetts Fair Employment Practices Act
- Numerous other related state and federal statutes
Prospective and current employees are protected by these and other laws, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, and other characteristics. Employment discrimination can happen in many different ways, including:
- Denying an interview based on membership in a protected class (e.g. race)
- Granting employment opportunities to preferred candidates
- Hiring, firing, and promoting employees on the basis of race or other protected categories
- Unequal compensation of employees working the same position
- Refusing to allow equal access to company facilities
- Assigning work duties on the basis of a protected characteristic
- Demoting, disciplining, reducing pay, and other negative treatments
- Denying requested job transfers due to discriminatory treatment
- Assigning unreasonably difficult tasks to try to force an employee to quit
- Isolation of an employee due to discriminatory intent
- Neutral workplace policies that have a discriminatory effect (disparate impact)
- Workplace conduct that creates an intimidating or hostile environment for a protected group
- Retaliating against an employee who reports discrimination
If your organization is facing these or other accusations of employment discrimination, it is imperative that you retain legal counsel. Even if a lawsuit has yet to be filed, taking quick action could avoid potentially costly and damaging consequences.
Our Approach to Defending Employers
We understand the very real threats to your business that come from employment discrimination claims. Even if an accusation is without merit, you could spend significant time, money, and energy defending against it. That’s to say nothing of the potential damages that could be facing your business if a jury believes the allegations are valid. Legitimate or not, employment discrimination lawsuits dampen company morale, divert precious resources away from running your business, and jeopardize your reputation with bad media exposure.
Our firm will put forth a strong defense that is based on the relevant statutes, case law, and facts of the lawsuit. We conduct our own investigation to determine what the facts really are. Included in this phase is what is known as discovery, the formal request for an exchange of relevant documents and other information. Your company will likely receive discovery requests that must be answered or objected to, and our firm will take care of this as well.
We know the various elements that must be proven in court to prevail in an employment discrimination case, so we work to expose any weaknesses in the plaintiff’s claims. Depending on the unique facts of your lawsuit, it may be possible to reach an out-of-court resolution with the plaintiff using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This could save you substantial sums of money and avoid a potentially embarrassing trial.
Possible Defenses Against Employment Discrimination Lawsuits
Every employment discrimination case must be considered on its individual facts. These are a few strategies your lawyer may use to defend against the lawsuit:
The plaintiff cannot prove the necessary elements. Plaintiffs have the burden of establishing the various elements required to demonstrate employment discrimination. We will introduce relevant evidence to refute as many of these elements as possible.
The Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ). The BFOQ, which exists under some but not all anti-discrimination laws, allows an employer to discriminate when it normally would not be allowed to. It is an exception that applies if the discrimination is based on a job requirement that is “reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise.”
The member class is not protected. Employment discrimination occurs when someone is unfairly treated because of their membership in a protected class, like race. Not every employee characteristic is protected, however. Refusing to hire someone on the basis of their political affiliation, for example, is not illegal.
Poor job performance. If an employee was fired, demoted, or received other negative treatment due to actual poor job performance, this offers a powerful defense to the employer. It is a good idea to thoroughly document employee performance issues so you can produce an ample paper trail in the event of a lawsuit.
Size of the employer. In some cases, the size of the employer could be relevant. For instance, federal laws against employment discrimination based on race apply to employers with 15 or more employees. State-based claims in Massachusetts apply to employers with six or more employees.
Breach of contract. If an employee violates the terms of an employment contract, the employer may be legally permitted to terminate the employee. However, this can be a tricky defense. If the termination was actually based on some discriminatory intent rather than a contractual breach, the fired employee could prevail.
Contact Our Worcester Employment Discrimination Defense Lawyer
Are you facing allegations of employment discrimination? Would you like to fully weigh all of your options, such as using ADR to settle the case versus presenting a defense in court? We can guide you through the legal complexities that arise in these matters and work on behalf of your organization’s best interests. Connect with SederLaw’s Labor & Employment Law team today.