Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Learning From the Enemy - Plaintiffs' Class Action Employment Lawyers' Tips for Employers

Joseph M. Sellers and Julie Reiser, lawyers in the D.C. office of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll outline their credentials for their article, Companies in the Crosshairs, in Legal Times:
While we have many years of experience representing victims of employment discrimination, we do not generally give legal advice to employers. But we have served as lead or class counsel in more than 30 of these cases, including the Wal-Mart and Boeing cases, and we can offer clues to the workplace practices that cause particular employers to become the subject of careful investigation and, in some cases, the target of litigation.
You need to read the article to get the details, but here are the factors these lawyers look at in evaluating whether or not to file a suit as a class action:
1. A repeated pattern of individual complaints.
2. Failure to afford employees equal opportunity to compete for job openings.
3. Failure to guide managers in the exercise of discretionary employment decisions.
4. Failure to ensure that the factors on which employment decisions are based are job-related.
5. Failure to monitor individual manager decisions and failure to audit work-force data to detect patterns of discrimination.
6. Failure to respond promptly and effectively to employee complaints.
7. Epithets and bigoted humor in the workplace.
All good tips, but I have bolded two that I would particularly emphasize. Really just common sense things, but as most lawyers who practice on both sides of the employment law docket will admit, if common sense was present in abundance, there would be a lot less need for our kind.

Surely all plaintiffs' lawyers are not "enemies." After all, we don't consider all defense lawyers on the "dark side."
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