Defending Against an Employee’s Discrimination Claim in Suffolk County
What is Discrimination?
Discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favorably than someone else in a similar situation due to one or more of the following factors: their race, gender, disability, age, religion, or sexual orientation. In fact, most employees fall into some protected class which makes discrimination against them illegal by state and federal laws. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in job industries formally dominated by men, such as police and fire departments. For example, an employee’s claim for gender discrimination could stem from her belief that a male colleague was promoted over her, particularly if she believes that she was more qualified, or that she was not treated the same as a male colleague because she did not receive equal pay despite having equal job responsibilities. Oftentimes, a female employee will try to support her claim by using statistics to show that female employees in the workplace are statistically less likely to receive a promotion or are more likely to be disciplined than a male colleague. Conversely, a male employee could believe he has a claim for age discrimination because a younger, less qualified employee was given a promotion over him.
Responding to an Employee’s Discrimination Claim
An employer’s initial response to any claim of discrimination by an employee is essential as it will have a major impact on the defense of the case and could potentially be judged by either a hearing officer at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) or by a judge and jury should the case proceed to trial.
BHPK attorneys are available at all stages of the litigation process to assist employers in navigating the difficult situations that can arise when an employee files a discrimination claim and yet continues to work for the employer. From the outset, we work closely with employers to evaluate each case and determine the merits of the employee’s claim. We also assist in responding to the allegations contained in the complaint and will advise you on how to handle the situation going forward, including how to avoid any retaliation claims that could arise if the employee in question feels they are being disciplined for complaining in the first place. We have successfully defended municipalities against claims brought by female police officers and those working in fire departments — both areas traditionally dominated by men. BHPK attorneys have also successfully defended against numerous unfounded discrimination claims in an effort to deter other employees from filing similarly frivolous lawsuits in the future.