Attracting and retaining the best and most talented employees is usually a top priority for California employers.
However, there may come a time when you are accused of discrimination in your hiring or firing processes, and you should be prepared to defend yourself.
There are various types of discrimination that employees could assert against you, including age, gender or race.
There are some common defenses to a claim of discrimination that might apply to your situation.
One of the most often-used defenses is a non-discriminatory motive. This defense is typically used when an employee has been fired and claims the firing was due to discrimination.
A non-discriminatory motive means you had other, legitimate reasons for firing the employee.
If you can show that they were habitually late, or had a poor-performance rating on their last few reviews, you can prove that this was the reason for their termination, as opposed to discrimination.
Business necessity or business purpose is another defense. You may have instituted a rule or policy that unintentionally had a disparate impact on a certain group of employees.
For example, your job could require that employees be able to lift a certain amount of pounds to successfully perform their tasks. This rule could negatively affect female employees, who might be more likely to be unable to lift this much weight.
However, if you can show that this rule is necessary to accomplish your business goals, you may be able to beat a claim of discrimination.
Discrimination requires intent
Intent is a key element in most discrimination claims. The employee must prove that your intent was to discriminate, and these are some examples of defenses to discrimination showing a lack of that intent.
It is important to mount a strong defense to a discrimination claim, since even an accusation of discrimination can cause your business significant damage, from financial losses to ruining your reputation. Employment attorneys have the knowledge and resources to help you.