Retaliation Charges Show There’s a Wrong Way to Address Harassment Claims: Stat of the Week

There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle a workplace harassment claim.

The right way, as we examined in the Harassment Suite, involves a comprehensive policy, quick action, detailed reporting, objective investigators, and controls in place to protect employees’ privacy.

The wrong way? Allowing or encouraging anyone to retaliate against the individual(s) making the claim. This is wrong not only in the sense that it’s unethical, but also in that it’s a careless legal strategy: retaliation charges are often more difficult to defend against than discrimination charges, and carry significant exposure for defendants.

No wonder retaliation suits have become the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s bread and butter:

That’s right: over the last 20 years, the annual number of retaliation charges filed with the EEOC has more than doubled. Today, these charges represent almost half of all discrimination charges received by the Commission overall.

When you consider that an estimated 75% of employees who have spoken out against workplace mistreatment have faced some form of retaliation, it’s remarkable that the number of claims isn’t even higher.

To learn how to avoid a retaliation charge—or any employment discrimination-related legal action—make sure to catch up with the recording of our Anti-Harassment Initiative Best Practices webinar.