Employers need to be extra vigilant in reviewing their hiring and firing policies in preparation for the year ahead. Lawsuits and agency charges are on the rise due to increased government initiatives including:
- The Obama administration has declared the enforcement of workplace laws a high priority.
- Workplace discrimination claims jumped 15% in 2008, the single biggest year-to-year jump in EEOC history.
- The EEOC and the Department of Labor are using hefty increases for enforcement activities in 2010.
- The EEOC plans to grow its staff by 300 employees including investigators, attorneys and mediators.
- Systemic discrimination, which is more difficult and expensive to defend, is a primary focus.
We recommend an annual review of hiring and firing policies. This can be part of an HR self-audit, which is a relatively inexpensive way to avoid potentially staggering costs. Sindy and Allison West, our colleague on the west coast, are speaking in a Webinar on Thursday, November 19th, at 2:00 eastern time: HR Self-Audits: Spot and Fix HR Practices That Lead to Lawsuits. Sindy and Allison will lay out a blueprint for hitting the most important areas of vulnerability and conducting a rock-solid audit. The 60-minute session will cover:
- How to review particular areas of vulnerability, ranging from:
- anti-discrimination policies
- hiring and firing procedures
- compensation plans
- wage-and-hour policies
- documentation practices
- A step-by-step guide of what a solid audit should include;
- Developing a comprehensive audit strategy, including gaining executive buy-in;
- Best practices in documenting the audit results; and
- Next steps once the results are in.
Employers who are diligent in reviewing and training will avoid claims and maintain a more efficient and productive workplace.