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Upswing In Employment Lawsuits Predicted

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, December 30, 2008 3:42 PM EST
Category: In The Workplace
Tags: Employment Law, Wrongful Termination, Job Discrimination, Title VII

More employees are filing employment lawsuits, lawyers say. 



IMAGE SOURCE: iStockphoto/ defeated employee/ author: jhorrocks



As the economy gets worse with no end in sight, expect a rise in wrongful termination lawsuits, labor lawyers predict.  

Attorneys specializing in employment law (including some IB members), speaking to Newsday, say they haven’t been this busy since the 1980s. Many clients are employers looking to reduce their staff while avoiding litigation.

“Unfortunately, we’re doing a lot of that lately. Nobody is immune,” says Jay. P. Krupin at Epstein Becker Green’s Washington office.

Corporate clients want to avoid invoking Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Employers may shy away from terminating those in the protected class who might later have the grounds to sue.

Jan Chapman is suing Dell Inc., the computer maker.  Lured from her job in Houston to move to Austin, Texas with her husband, they bought a house at the height of real estate bubble. Seven months later, Dell laid off Chapman, age 59, ending a 25-year career with positive performance evaluations.

Chapman and three other top female managers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Dell. They allege age and sex discrimination, even though the company terminated 8,000 employees last year.

That lawsuit is filed in federal court in San Francisco, but typical following the massive layoffs sweeping the country.   

Employers are so fearful that one Los Angeles insurance brokerage has noted a 32-percent increase in the sale of employment practices liability insurance, according to this story.

Employers are required to give an employee at least 60 days notice of a plant closing that eliminates 50 or more jobs, or before mass layoffs of 500 employees or more than one-third of the workforce. 

When turning to arbitration to settle differences between employers and employees, a study shows state courts are vacating many arbitration awards for employees but not employers.  #

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