Non-discrimination training is a crucial part of any business operation. Even when the business's leaders are committed to fairness, certain employees' discriminatory behavior can lead to costly employment law disputes.
Colorado supermarket chain King Soopers recently settled one such case with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The company was sued by a mentally challenged employee who was repeatedly bullied by his supervisors. According to the lawsuit, a head clerk and a service manager routinely taunted the man because of his learning disability. The EEOC alleges that the man was ultimately fired because of his disability.
King Soopers settled the case for $80,000. It also agreed to provide additional training to its managers and supervisors on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It said the training would focus on how to effectively interact with employees with special needs.
The EEOC commended King Soopers for its willingness to resolve the issue and for its commitment to a discrimination-free workplace.
Non-discrimination isn't just a legal and ethical requirement - it's also an important business strategy. Employment discrimination lawsuits can cost companies tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars. They also hurt a company's public reputation, causing the fallout from the workplace discrimination claim to last long after the lawsuit is resolved.
Employment litigation is one of those areas where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Businesses can help protect against employment discrimination lawsuits by drafting strict non-discrimination policies and making sure all employees receive proper non-discrimination training.
By letting employees know that employment discrimination is never tolerated, businesses can avoid costly and potentially damaging employment discrimination lawsuits.
Source: Jobmouse, "Supermarket Chain to Pay $80,000 for Supervisor Who Bullied Learning-Disabled Employee," Anneline Waldman, Dec. 14, 2011