What To Do If Your Chicago Business Was Accused of Sex Discrimination
Discrimination and harassment have been hot topics in the workplace in recent years, especially since the #MeToo movement became popular. Since then, many employers have faced sex discrimination claims from employees.
Being accused of any type of discrimination can be a frustrating situation for an employer. It can ruin their relationship with the employee. It can harm their reputation. It can land them in legal trouble and force them to pay fines and other penalties.
In short, there’s a lot at stake with a discrimination lawsuit, and employers must take them seriously. They’re not a joke. Not defending themselves properly or ignoring the claim altogether can lead to serious repercussions.
You need to defend yourself in the best way possible so you get the best possible outcome. See how Schaumburg employment discrimination defense lawyers can help.
What is Sex Discrimination?
First of all, as an employer, you should be aware of what sex discrimination is so you can avoid it in the first place. Sex discrimination involves treating an employee or even a job applicant unfavorably due to the person’s gender, including their gender identity (including transgender status), sexual orientation, or pregnancy.
Discrimination is not allowed in terms of various elements of employment, such as hiring, pay, training, promotions, layoffs, firing, and training. Harassment can be sexual in nature, but it does not have to be. and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex, including the person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy.
The victim and the harasser can be of either sex. It is still considered sexual harassment whether both are of the same sex or different sex.
Why You Need to Take Quick Action
When an employer finds out they have a claim against them for sex discrimination, they need to take prompt action. The actions an employer takes afterward can be helpful in reducing liability, limiting damage to the company’s reputation, and even improving employee relations.
This means you need to start the defense process as soon as possible. The CEOs and other higher-ups in the company should coordinate any strategies with the human resources and legal departments to ensure there is no miscommunication.
The Next Steps for the Employer
A sex discrimination lawsuit is a serious legal issue that can cause your company a lot of harm if not handled properly. Here are the next steps you should take.
- Get a lawyer. Don’t think you can handle the situation on your own. There are complex laws involved in Chicago discrimination cases, so you need to know how to respond appropriately. One wrong move can be detrimental to the company and can result in a costly lawsuit, among other damages. There’s a lot at stake, and you don’t want to take a risk, so seek legal help from a competent employment law attorney as soon as possible.
- Be respectful. While you may be upset about the allegations, you owe it to the complaining employee to investigate the situation thoroughly. Therefore, you need to be calm and respectful during this time. Employees may be concerned about losing their job and other forms of retaliation. Acting angry and discriminating against the employee further will only make matters worse. Show understanding and concern for the employee. Even if you doubt the allegations are true, taking the concern seriously goes a long way in showing respect and this will undoubtedly help your side of the case.
- Investigate the complaint. Even if you think there is no truth to the complaint, you need to investigate it thoroughly. You should start the process as soon as you can to show the complaining employee that you are taking the matter seriously. Ideally, you should have the company’s legal team or an independent lawyer take the appropriate steps to determine what happened and assess the situation. This includes interviewing everyone involved, reviewing any emails, texts, and other communications, and reviewing the personnel files of those involved. The process should be conducted fairly by a qualified investigator.
- Gather evidence. The best defense is good evidence. If an applicant or employee is claiming that they did not get a job or was passed over for a promotion due to discrimination, show evidence that this is false. For example, was the poor performance a factor? Show evidence of performance reports and annual reviews showing this. Did you fail to hire a person because of what was in their background check? Have a copy of it readily available to show investigators. It’s always good to have some sort of paper trail to back up your claims.
- Cooperate with other agencies. In a sex discrimination claim, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) may get involved. So might other state and government agencies. Make sure your company cooperates and coordinates a response with your legal counsel.
- Take appropriate action. Once you have researched the complaint, it’s time to take the next steps. These steps will depend on the outcome of the case. Was there sex discrimination? If it has been determined that a policy or law was violated, you will need to discipline the wrongdoer accordingly. If the incident was minor, then a warning or special training on the matter might be sufficient. In some cases, proper discipline may mean putting them on unpaid leave. In extreme cases, termination may be warranted. You may also want to consider other measures, such as allowing the victim to take paid time off as needed or altering work assignments so that the victim and harasser do not work together.
Contact Schaumburg Employment Discrimination Defense Lawyers
While a lot of sex discrimination does happen in the workplace, a lot of claims are unfounded. They may have been brought about by disgruntled applicants and employees who may have been passed over for a job or disciplined for poor work performance.
As an employer, you need to fight these claims. The Schaumburg employment discrimination defense attorneys at North Suburban Legal Services can assess your claim and help you gather the evidence you need to fight your claim. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (312) 909-6089.