A recent analysis of lawsuit filings and Equal Opportunity Employment Commission complaints has revealed that bias and discrimination cases have increased during the recession. Between 2007 and 2011, complaints of discrimination increased by about 17,000. There were also about 10,000 more retaliation complaints.
Employment law experts say that the increase could be due to several factors. One significant factor is that a new job has become harder to find. Employees who are wrongfully terminated, retaliated against, or discriminated against are less willing to leave their current job despite poor working conditions or a hostile environment.
"You can't just say 'good riddance, I don't want to work for a discriminator anyway,'" said the research director for the Montana Budget and Policy Center."A job is so much more valuable when the labor market is tight."
The increase in lawsuits suggests that despite the tough job market, employees are still not willing to put up with poor working conditions. Employers may make the mistake of believing that they have the upper hand in this economic environment, but the reality is that many people know they have a right to equal treatment and are enforcing that right against employers.
Employment discrimination and bias can take many forms. As we discussed in our last post, unequal pay for the same job is one way that employers discriminate. Employees are entitled to be treated with respect and to be given the same job opportunities, pay, and job advancement possibilities as other employees, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or age. Individuals who think they have been discriminated against on an illegal basis may want to contact an attorney to find out what remedies are available.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Recession saw jump in bias complaints," Ann Belser, April 1, 2012.