Why is Federal Employment Discrimination law a quagmire for employers?

Yesterday’s post addressed the critical question of whether your business is covered by Federal Employment Law. Today, I am going to give you reasons why it is so critical.

A quagmire is defined on dictionary.com as a situation from which extrication is very difficult: “a quagmire of financial indebtedness.”

Employers faced with federal discrimination claims from employees are in quagmire in that they cannot extract themselves without tremendous costs and difficulty. Why is this? Let me go over a few reasons.

Even the most perfect employment termination is subject to being questioned.
Even when an employer carries out a text-book termination of an employee, there is risk simply because the system allows complaint with little evidence. The bar for filing a complaint of employment discrimination with a state or Federal agency is low: typically, if a person satisfies even a couple of elements of the claim, the complaint will be investigated. For example, two basic elements of an age discrimination claim is that an employee be (a) over 40 years old; and (b) had their employment terminated. Can you think of anyone that might meet that description? Probably millions of people do.

There is virtually no chance of “victory” even if the employer actually wins the case.
The costs of defending an employment discrimination claim are mind-blowing – although your mileage will vary by case, $75,000.00 to $100,000.00 in attorney fees and costs is not uncommon. What makes the costs even more difficult to bear is that the employer who WINS the case has virtually no chance of recovering its attorney fees and costs from the former employee.

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."