In 2010, EEOC reported that overall claim filings had increased, rising from 93,277 to a high of 99,992. But one charge in particular topped the charts: for the first time ever, retaliation claims surpassed race discrimination in the number of filings. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention – retaliation claims have been on the rise since a Supreme Court ruling in 2006. Allen Smith of SHRM discusses the EEOC report in greater detail in his article Retaliation Surpasses Race Discrimination as Most Common Charge. (Subscriptions required, or see the EEOC press release.)
Many legal observers attribute this increase to a variety of factors. Smith reports:
“The agency attributed the rise to multiple factors, including economic conditions, increased diversity and demographic shifts in the labor force, employees’ greater awareness of the law, improvements in the EEOC’s intake practices and customer service, and greater accessibility to the public.”
Legal observers suggest that there is a lower bar for retaliation claims and that juries seem sympathetic. In an excellent article that first appeared in 2005, Robert M. Shea and Mark H. Burak noted the increase and discussed Why Retaliation Claims Are on the Rise and What Employers Can Do About It.
As with many issues, preventive measures are generally less costly in dollars, time, angst, and people power than defensive actions. We’ve gathered some tips from the experts on steps you can take to minimize the risk of retaliation claims.
Epstein Becker & Green: How to Stop a Retaliation Claim in Its Tracks
NOLO: Preventing Retaliation Claims by Employees
HR World: Preventing Retaliation Claims
HR Morning: How HR can stop retaliation claims in their tracks