If you’re a business owner in Connecticut, you know how devastating a discrimination lawsuit can be. Significant court damages hang in the balance, but that’s only the beginning. Your company’s reputation and community standing could go down the drain. This translates to lost business, lost profits, and serious threats to your company’s viability.
The good news, however, is that there are ways to defend your company against a discrimination lawsuit. It starts with retaining a Connecticut business lawyer who is experienced in such matters.
Understanding the Legal Meaning of Discrimination
The word “discrimination” has a complex definition that not everyone is familiar with. The word covers, of course, obvious and intentional examples of unfair treatment. For example, a manager using a racial slur against an employee. Or refusing to hire someone because of his or her gender. But these are by no means the only forms of workplace discrimination.
Generally, it is illegal to treat an employee as inferior based on prohibited characteristics. Those include features like race and sex, along with others. Depending on whether state or federal law is involved, there may be more specific protections afforded your employees. A Connecticut business lawyer can explain more about who is covered under the law.
A company can be held liable for creating or allowing a discriminatory work environment. For instance, if the employer is aware of discrimination but does nothing to stop it, this could support a claim. So, too, could policies that seem fair on the surface but have a discriminatory effect.
Similarly, employers cannot harass employees based on protected characteristics. It’s also against the law to retaliate or threaten employees for reporting workplace discrimination.
These and other discriminatory actions, if proven, could lead to a civil lawsuit against your business.
What to Do to Protect Your Company
Your business should, at a minimum, enact and enforce workplace policies that prohibit discrimination. The rules need to be clear and applicable to everyone, from owners to employees and contractors. All individuals in your company must know the types of behavior that won’t be tolerated.
A good policy will include adequate complaint procedures. These are the mechanisms by which employees can file internal claims and compel the company to act. Complaint procedures include documentation requirements and clarify the investigative steps. Employees have to know that complaints will be taken seriously by the company. A solid complaint procedure will accomplish this.
Finally, workplace training and (as needed) retraining can protect your business. Employees will learn how to avoid engaging in discriminatory conduct. They will also be instructed how to spot and properly report such behavior when they observe it in others. When your workers know what discrimination is, and the consequences of it, it’s much less likely to occur.
A Knowledgeable Connecticut Business Lawyer Can Help
One of the best ways to protect your company is to hire a Connecticut business lawyer early. Doing this before problems arise can prevent them in the first place. Your lawyer will know what is considered “discrimination” in the jurisdiction in which your company operates. That means knowing the relevant federal, state, and local laws and ordinances. Depending on which city you are in, there may be more strict rules concerning discrimination. Your lawyer will know which ones apply to you.
Your attorney can also help your company draft strong and enforceable anti-discrimination policies. These rules must be written in a way that they are effective and do their job. In this way, your business will be better protected against possible lawsuits. Even if your company is sued, having a policy can potentially offer some defense. We’re prepared to help with your policies and procedures.
Get The Help Your Business Needs
Whether you’re looking to reduce the risk of a discrimination lawsuit or defend against one, we can help. Aeton Law Partners assists Connecticut businesses in protecting their bottom line. Reach out to us today to learn how we can serve you.