Employment Discrimination Lawsuits: “The Cost Of Doing Business?”

A local TV investigation “recently uncovered dozens of employment discrimination lawsuits filed against metro school districts over the last 10 years, including more than 45 against Kansas City Public Schools. … While the current laws help bring important justice to some cases, the amount of lawsuits has a big impact on taxpayers and classrooms in the state.”

“It’s just a cost of doing business and it’s a very high cost of doing business in Missouri,” said an attorney who often represents the school system.

“So what does this have to do with me?”

Lesson No. 1 for employers:  It may be the “cost of doing business,” but boy, can the costs be high – just for simply defending the cases!  Better to do what we always preach in our preachy lawyerly way: avoid problems by practicing prophylactic law.  You know, maintaining updated employee policies and handbooks, a zero tolerance policy towards workplace harassment, training for both managers and employees, and a top down respect in the workplace – among many other things.

Lesson No. 2 for employers: The article noted that Missouri’s laws are much more employee-friendly than federal law when it comes to discrimination claims.  Don’t take that as being unique to Missouri:  New York – state and city, to cite only two examples – have similarly employee-friendly laws. Maybe your does too.  Don’t take any chances; its your money!

Lesson No. 3 for employers: “Legal fees often involve thousands of dollars being spent on a single case, when that money would otherwise would go towards education,” said the article.

Wouldn’t you rather have that money in your pocket or plowed back into your business?

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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]