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What constitutes employment discrimination?

There are a number of ways that a business may become entangled in a costly discrimination lawsuit. Companies in Florida and across the state are subject to federal laws that protect certain demographics. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is illegal under employment law to discriminate against someone based on the following factors:

  •        Age
  •        Sex
  •        Disability or pregnancy
  •        Race, ethnicity or national origin
  •        Genetic information
  •        Religion

While many people are aware that treating someone unfavorably based on these factors is prohibited, it is important to identify what kinds of behavior may spark a lawsuit. The EEOC notes that an employer cannot discriminate in any aspect of employment, such as pay, promotions, trainings, hiring and firing.

Further, harassment is also a serious issue that can tie up a company in costly litigation. Harassment can include making crude jokes, sharing offensive pictures and insulting, intimidating or assaulting a co-worker.

According to a report from FedSmith.com, companies now are paying more money than ever to resolve employer liability claims. In 2012, agencies had to pay $54.9 million in monetary benefits to employees alleging discrimination through the EEOC process. This tops the previous high of $53.4 million in 2005.

Settling such complaints can be costly, which is why businesses should remain vigilant in training and educating employees. Should an issue arise, consulting with reliable legal representation as soon as possible can mitigate the risk of further damage.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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