Information for Employers
Knowing what is discrimination is valuable information for employer defense. The most easily understood type of employer discrimination in the workplace is “disparate treatment.” As an employer, you can find yourself defending a lawsuit just because you (your company) treated some people less favorably than others because of their race, color, national origin, religion, or sex (gender discrimination).
Employment defense attorneys then have to ensure that the employee cannot show evidence of discriminatory motive. The caveat is that when determining what litigation motive is inferred from factual differences in treatment.
When defending a case based upon what is discrimination in the workplace, courts understand the direct evidence is rarely available because as a sophisticated employer will conceal any true motivations to discriminate. See information about Failure to Train Discrimination Defense.
How is an Employment Discrimination Lawsuit Analyzed?
When there is no direct evidence of employer discrimination, defense lawyers typically assess cases in the following manner:
- Plaintiff (employee) must meet the required legal elements – often referred to as a “prima facie case.”
- Employer must then articulate a non-discriminatory reason for the adverse action;
- The employee must then prove that the employer’s articulated reason for the adverse action was pretextual.
This is commonly referred to as the McDonnell Douglas test. As employer discrimination defense attorneys, we understand that the test is an evidentiary standard and NOT a pleading requirement. Using the test simply creates an inference of unlawful acts.
When this happens, you as the employer must rebut the assumption of discrimination. You cannot stay silent or produce no evidence to extinguish the presumption. Failure to meet this can create a substantial judgment against you.
Types of Employment Discrimination
What is discrimination and age violations in the workplace? Age discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.
National Origin Discrimination
Discrimination and national origin violations in the workplace? National origin discrimination involves treating people (applicants or employees) unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because ofethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they are not).
- National origin discrimination also can involve treating people unfavorably because they are married to (or associated with) a person of a particular national origin or because of their connection with an ethnic organization or group.
- Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflicted the discrimination are the same national origin.
Discrimination and race violations in the workplace? Race discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features). Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.
Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs.
How to Defend Against Employment Discrimination?
The first course of action is to ensure that you have required policies in place. Without them, employers are ‘sitting ducks’ for discrimination lawsuits. Ensure that your supervisors are trained. Many employer lawsuits arise through the actions, or inactions, of supervisors and management. You want to minimize exposure to lack of training. Find more about responding to EEOC complaints with a position statement.
Always ensure that you have postings throughout the workplace. This advises employees of their rights and can sometimes shift the burden to them to see if they gave the employer the opportunity to resolve the problem.
If you need additional assistance with employer discrimination defense, call our Denver Colorado Discrimination Defense lawyers at 1-866-601-5518.