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EEOC stats show discrimination risks in litigation for employers

Q&A with Paul Ross

published in The Oklahoman | February 26, 2016

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued its fiscal year 2015 enforcement and litigation data, which showed the federal agency received nearly 90,000 workplace discrimination charges and recovered more than $525 million from employers in response to those charges. In a Q&A with The Oklahoman, labor and employment attorney Paul Ross discussed the report and what employers should do to avoid an unlawful discrimination charge.

In its report, the EEOC restated its commitment to preventing workplace harassment – also known as a “hostile work environment” – calling it a “national priority” for the agency. In an effort to avoid or at least minimize the threat of an EEOC charge or private lawsuit arising from a harassment claim, employers should providing a meaningful training and education program for its workforce, said Ross. Not only does such a program provide employers with important defenses in the event a claim is filed against them, but it can also prevent wrongful conduct before it happens.

“Technology, such as the JurisIQ online training program developed by McAfee & Taft last year, really has broken down some of the traditional barriers to effective training programs, like cost and efficient distribution,” said Ross. “Employers who go without such training put themselves at a disadvantage in lawsuits.”