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Employers Brace for EEOC 'Red Zone' Lawsuits

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By Andrew Lu on August 09, 2012 6:46 AM

It is August and we are now entering the "Red Zone" period for EEOC lawsuits against employers.

The federal government's fiscal calendar ends at the end of September and these final two months have been described as the Red Zone as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cranks into overdrive.

Last year, 175 of the agency's 261 discrimination lawsuits were filed during the Red Zone, with the busiest day coming the very last day of the fiscal year, reports Corporate Counsel. Analysts expect a similar trend this year.

So how do you avoid being targeted by the EEOC in the Red Zone?

Unfortunately, there is very little you can do this late in the game. Typically, an employer has months to address a discrimination complaint before it reaches the EEOC and results in a lawsuit being filed. And as the EEOC only cherry picks the very best cases to file a lawsuit, being sued by the EEOC is very bad news.

However, employers should take heed and know there are many steps they can take to avoid a lawsuit in the first place.

Generally, employers can take preventative measures by training employees on discrimination and harassment, and having an anti-discrimination policy in place. When a complaint does arise, employers should take them very seriously and investigate and possibly discipline offenders.

If a complaint is filed or an employee threatens a lawsuit, employers should involve their human resource and legal staff immediately. Smaller employers who do not have such resources should contact an employment attorney as soon as possible.

Employers targeted by a discrimination lawsuit face a hard road fighting the EEOC. Fortunately, most employers can avoid such a lawsuit long before the Red Zone.

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