A recent survey by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, show that lawsuits against businesses for discrimination have risen dramatically; and are still rising. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported a record breaking number of discrimination charges in 2010.
The Chubb Group’s report revealed that one third of employees they surveyed felt their company is less likely to protect them from various forms of discrimination. More than 30 percent also stated that they felt companies were less likely to protect consumers from id theft or data leaks.
According to an EEOC report, the number of discrimination charges filed last year is the highest they have been since the agency was formed in 1965. The 2010 numbers show an increase of more than seven percent, compared to 2009.
Charges claiming violation of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) saw the greatest increase; up over 17 percent in 2010, compared to the previous year. The ADA had recent changes in its amendments, broadening the term of “disability”, which may have led to the increase in charges filed.
The EEOC report also showed racial discrimination charges were up almost seven percent, while national origin and religion claims were up over 1.5 percent. The court systems have also been more willing to allow class action suits against employers; accounting for the rise in class action type lawsuits.
Some feel the increase in these charges stem from the high amount of workers who were let go or laid off; they are having too much difficulty getting another job, so many of them may be turning to discrimination suits. Companies should always take these charges very seriously and conduct a thorough in-house investigation.
They should report the charges, and the findings of their investigation to their insurer immediately. Businesses should also review employment laws and their discrimination policies and procedures regularly. Companies should also consider the growing liability in cyber threats and data breaches.
This is not just an issue for the IT department. Companies should have procedures in place and a plan for any type of cyber breach that could occur.