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Expertise - Best Employment Lawyers in Santa Clara 2021
Expertise - Best Employment Lawyers in Santa Clara 2022

How to Handle Discrimination Claims

The FEHA makes it unlawful for employers with at least five employees to discriminate against employees or job applicants because of a protected characteristic. Protected characteristics include race, color, age, religion, national origin, sex, and gender. Laws barring discrimination apply to various business practices, including advertisements, interviews, hiring, promoting, terminating, and working conditions. As an employer, you should do your best to prevent workplace discrimination. However, even if you do your best to prevent workplace discrimination, discrimination claims can still arise.

If you are an employer facing discrimination claims, you may feel anxious. However, despite how you feel, you need to follow a careful strategy for dealing with the claims. Failure to do so can increase the likelihood of a lawsuit, worsen employee relations, or even put you out of business. Below are some basic rules to follow if you are facing discrimination claims;

Take the Claims Seriously

The worst thing you can do after a current or former employee or a job applicant lodges a discrimination claim against you or your company is to ignore the accusation. The situation is already bad because your business is facing allegations of discrimination. Dismissing claims of discrimination will only worsen the situation. If you do not take the matter seriously, you will not be able to take the next steps toward reducing the likelihood of a lawsuit, improving employee relations, and ensuring you are not put out of business.

Conduct an Investigation

After an employee or job applicant lodges a discrimination claim against you or your company, conduct an investigation. Even if the situation appears straightforward, conduct some initial research before ruling that an investigation is unnecessary.

If, for example, the accusations are extreme, the accuser has made the complaint public, or the accuser is a high-ranking official, you might want to bring in outside help.

Treat the Complainant With Respect

If you treat the complainant with respect, it may prevent them from escalating the issue to court or a government agency.

Do Not Become Angry at the Complainant

The fact that you now have to deal with discrimination in your business can make you angry. However, it is best not to get angry at the employee or job applicant. If you show your anger, you might be accused of unlawful retaliation (see the point below). Also, if you show anger, you may negatively affect the other workers' morale, which may, in turn, adversely affect productivity.

Do Not Retaliate Against the Complainant

Retaliation is when you punish an employee or job applicant for asserting their right to be free from employment discrimination. It's against the law to retaliate against someone for complaining about discrimination. Do not retaliate against the complainant, even in subtle ways like changing the complainant's shift hours or work area.

Follow Established Procedures

Finally, if, for example, you have an employee handbook that covers discrimination, follow the handbook. Do not bend the rules because you may be accused of unfair treatment if you do so.

Retain the Legal Services of an Experienced San Jose Business Law and Civil Litigation Attorney

If you are an employer facing discrimination claims and need the help of an attorney, contact an experienced Silicon Valley business law and civil litigation attorney at SAC Attorneys LLP. We can help you develop a robust defense strategy that can help you fight the claims.

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