A recent article by Allen Smith, a legal editor for the trade group Society for Human Resources Management, reports a 23% increase in cases at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as of December 17, 2013. The report accounts for this increase as a result of expanded technology usage connecting field offices of the EEOC to prevent duplication of efforts.
The EEOC covers employer activities that effect recruiting, hiring, discrimination of all kinds, retaliatory practices, systemic harassment - pretty much all areas of employment that covers fair treatment in hiring, working, paying, treatment, career growth, etc.
In my experience, I have heard and witnessed co-agency audits. By this I mean the Department of Labor coming in with the IRS or a Workers' Comp audit just after an ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) audit. You see, these regulatory bodies, thanks to technology, share information. They have been very successful in the assumption that if you find one violation or a complaint was made about one issue, there are probably other regulations that are not being adhered to. As a result, these agencies pull in a great deal of income in fines.
This is an expensive proposition for the employer - not just in time or the fine for the original complaint and the award to the plaintiff - but multiple fines for other out of compliance issues and legal fees that multiply with the amount of issues requiring attention, whether in or out of compliance.
Situations come up every day that are followed by a claim filed with the EEOC. An applicant for a job opening doesn't get the job and is convinced it was because they were not the same color, religion or sex as the other people they see at the place of business they are applying to, or a terrible assistant who thinks her work is superior but has been passed over for a promotion because she is from a particular ethnic background or an older worker who is let go because she can't be relied upon but thinks her employer doesn't want to pay her what she feels she is worth.
In many of these cases, crazy wins. They may not win their case - but in the meantime they have refocused your attention away from the core of your business, had you employ legal assistance, interrupted the work place with the presence of auditors and numerous management meetings and most of all - changed the atmosphere of the workplace to one of uncertainty and suspicion for your employees.
Not paying attention to the regulations employers are supposed to is bad on SO many levels.
Yes, this is a free country but it is a civilized one for the most part and with that freedom and civilization are laws and regulations we all need to follow. You are running a company in this wonderful country not a kingdom in the independent country of (insert your name here).