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Employment Discrimination Defense

Fort Lauderdale Employment Defense Lawyers

Discrimination claims are an unfortunate reality in today’s business world. While discrimination in the workplace should not be tolerated, the reality is that many of these claims could be avoided if employers were more diligent. Perhaps more than ever, business owners should be proactive in ensuring that all employees are being treated fairly and that any discrimination or harassment complaints are handled swiftly.  A knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale employment defense lawyer can be a tremendous resource when it comes to navigating the anti-discrimination landscape.

The attorneys at Olive Judd have the skill and experience you need to handle discrimination claims and limit your claims in the future. If you would like to discuss how we can help you, call us at (954) 334-2250 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our top employment lawyers.  

How Discrimination Cases Arise

You might think that only employers who intentionally engage in discrimination will face discrimination claims. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many discrimination cases are the result of unintentional conduct. Here are some common scenarios that can lead to a discrimination claim: 

  • Company policies or practices that have a disparate impact on members of a protected class
  • Failure to respond to or address complaints concerning harassment or discrimination
  • Failure to properly document disciplinary actions, performance issues, or reasons for termination
  • Poorly formulated job descriptions or hiring criteria
  • Disorganized books and financial records resulting in compensation issues

Again, these are situations that tend to develop unintentionally but can quickly result in a discrimination claim. A knowledgeable employment discrimination attorney can review your business practices and help develop sound policies and procedures that prevent discrimination from occurring. In addition, your lawyer can provide legal guidance when you are presented with a difficult situation that you fear may result in a discrimination claim. 

Discrimination Under Federal Law

Employment law is complicated and any particular issue could involve various state, federal, and local anti-discrimination laws. Most state and local laws mirror federal discrimination laws, but in certain instances, they can be more restrictive for employers. Federal law, however, contains the basic concepts of employment discrimination laws. Some of the primary federal laws involved in discrimination cases are as follows: 

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Equal Pay Act
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

To broadly summarize these statutes, they prohibit any discrimination against employees on the following bases: 

  • Race 
  • National origin
  • Color
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Citizenship status
  • Pregnancy

Most employers already understand that they cannot discriminate against their employees for any of the reasons noted above. However, it is easier to come into conflict with federal anti-discrimination laws that you might think. 

Discrimination Under Florida Law

In addition to federal law, employers must comply with state and local discrimination laws as well. In addition to the classes listed above, Florida law prohibits discriminating against an employee on the basis of marital status or if they have HIV or sickle cell anemia. 

Under current federal and Florida state law, it is not illegal to discriminate against someone due to sexual orientation or gender identity. However, there are many counties and cities throughout Florida that do prohibit discrimination for these reasons. In order to protect yourself against all possible discrimination claims, we recommend that you consult with an employment discrimination lawyer who practices in the jurisdiction where your business is located or operates.

What to Do if You Have Been Accused of Employment Discrimination

If you have been accused of discrimination, you need to take immediate action. Don’t wait until a lawsuit or formal complaint is filed. You should try to gather the facts surrounding the claim and any documentation that exists. If possible, interview the other employees involved to get their version of events. 

It is also critical that you contact an employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible, specifically one who specializes in defending businesses against discrimination claims. Your lawyer can help you gather the facts and guide you through the steps that need to be taken. From there, they can advise you of any immediate action you can take to correct the situation and possibly resolve the claim without further action. If litigation is inevitable, they can immediately start reviewing your case and developing your defense strategy. 

The Potential Consequences of a Discrimination Claim

A discrimination claim can be incredibly stressful and can absorb a great deal of time, money, and other resources. If your company is found to have engaged in discrimination, you could be fined, required to implement onerous policies and training protocols, or be required to pay substantial monetary damages to the complainant. In addition, and perhaps even more worrisome, the mere accusation of discrimination could do significant harm to your company’s reputation and profitability. 

How a Fort Lauderdale Employment Defense Lawyer Can Help

Our firm is positioned to help your business prevent and defend against discrimination claims. We routinely assist our clients in the following ways:

  • Develop anti-discrimination training materials to sensitize company personnel to potential discrimination issues
  • Develop and implement complaint procedures designed to promptly and uniformly address any allegations of discrimination or harassment
  • Draft anti-discrimination policies to be distributed throughout the company
  • Review and amend hiring, disciplinary, and termination policies to ensure all employees are given equal treatment

Of course, no policy or procedure will be perfect or eliminate every possible claim. Our employment discrimination team also has extensive litigation experience. We defend our clients against discrimination claims in both federal and state courts, as well as before governmental agencies such as the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) and the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR).  

Reach Out to a Fort Lauderdale Employment Defense Lawyer at Olive Judd

Don’t leave your business’ future to chance – let us help you address any discrimination concerns you may have. We help our clients find custom solutions that meet their business needs. Call us at (954) 334-2250 or send us an email to schedule a consultation with one of our employment defense lawyers today.