Disparate Treatment and Impact for Wrongful Termination
Employers may often not realize it, but inconsistency in small-business activities is obvious to employees and others working with the business. Human resources departments need to handle situations professionally with similar treatment for all employees to avoid discrimination under civil rights and other federal discrimination laws covering disabilities and age. A wrongful termination lawsuit and disparate treatment or disparate impact arguments are of concern any time a small business discharges an employee.
To avoid these lawsuits, employers should follow a specific procedure with documentation and a checklist to avoid discrimination complaints in their business.
Treating employees less favorably based on age, religious views, race, sex, disability or national origin is disparate treatment, a form of discrimination under the law in the United States. Actions leading to a wrongful termination lawsuit may give the courts a reason to find for the employee on disparate treatment discrimination. If an employer warns some of its employees before termination and do not warn others, the business shows vulnerability under disparate treatment and discrimination laws. Discrimination applies to race, sex, age, disability or religious beliefs, and Caucasians can allege discrimination and wrongful termination when the employer favors other races. Disparate treatment is the most frequent proof for discrimination claims, reports the Introlaw website.
Disparate Impact occurs when an employer fails to follow the same procedure for all employees, the employee may win a discrimination lawsuit without proving disparate treatment. Disparate impact relates to the hardship created by the discrimination and is often used in age discrimination lawsuits. Disparate impact relates to disparate treatment, and a wrongful termination lawsuit may claim that the impact or hardship created plays a role in the discrimination. A greater impact proven to a specific group such as women or older employees may impact the business as well.
To avoid Wrongful Termination Claims, an employer should do the following:
1. Review state laws on termination, including any payday laws applicable, so that it complies with all dates and rules.
2. It should develop office procedures and a checklist for termination of employees.
3. Use fair dealing with all employees, even if the state is an employment-at-will state.
4. Give notification of infractions and make a record in the personnel file. Have the employee acknowledge receipt of a copy of each notification with a signature and date.
Termination. Give the employee a warning before termination, and record the warning date and information. Have the employee sign documents acknowledging receipt of the warning. Provide the employee with the real reason for termination, based in fact. Do not use excuses trying to make it easy for you or the employee. Make a case for misconduct if it exists. Pay your employee as required by law and offer any help you can. If you intend to oppose an unemployment compensation claim, document the file with dates and actions to take after termination. You have limited time to respond to an unemployment benefits claim.