Is Your Company A Target for A Discrimination Class Action Suit? Ten Factors to Consider

We have followed a number of large, well-publicized employment discrimination class-action cases, such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, among others.

Most attorneys and HR managers have heard of these kinds of cases, and unless you work in a small company, you must sometimes have bad dreams about such an employment discrimination lawsuit being filed against your company.

I found an article written by plaintiffs’ attorneys, in which they outline the ten major reasons why an employment discrimination class action case may or may not get certified.

If you are an HR manager or corporate counsel, it behooves you to read these points and consider how your organization stacks up against them.

Here are some of the more interesting of the 10 factors, where you may have some control before a discrimination suit is filed:


  • Is there strong centralized, corporate control over local employment decisions? If the answer is YES, it will be easier to certify a case.
  • What is the nature of the corporate structure? Where the structure of the company (e.g., job titles; personnel policies, etc.) varies significantly from unit to unit, it will be harder to certify the class.
  • How are personnel decisions made? If there is much subjectivity, it will be easier to certify the class. Some of the factors to consider here are whether there is appropriate training for managers; whether decisions are reviewed at higher levels; whether the company monitors these decisions for disparate impact; and are there clear, written policies for managers in making those decisions.
  • Is there a very strong corporate culture? If the answer is YES, then it may be easier for the plaintiffs to show that common employment practices were put in place throughout the entire organization.

Read more here for the ten factors that make or break a discrimination class action suit; it may well save you a lot of problems down the road!

Photo credit: Quasimondo via flickr
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