Unless you've recently returned from a trip to the moon, you have undoubtedly heard of the Supreme Court ruling in the Wal-Mart v. Dukes discrimination class action lawsuit. The lawsuit, one of the largest discrimination suits in history, represented over 1.5 million women who claimed that had been discriminated against. The Supreme Court turned down the lawsuit, stating they lacked a cohesive claim to bind them together as a class action. This landmark decision addresses several important issues relating to all class action lawsuits, and provides important insights towards implementing human resources best-practices.
The case clearly impacts the way employers address human resources practices, and other HR policies and procedures. Even if a company has recently updated its employee manual and management practices, they should once again review these policies in light of the Supreme Court decision.
Below are seven important take-aways that employers should consider implementing to comply with EEOC anti-discrimination policies. Putting these actions into place will help to protect them against future class actions, as well as other discrimination related lawsuits.
- Carefully review pay and promotion policies to determine whether or not they could be misconstrued as favoring one class over another.
- Eliminate all subjective decision-making processes by clearly linking promotions, demotions, raises or bonuses to objective goals and job performance.
- Ensure that all managers who are tasked with performance appraisals are properly trained on the relevant labor laws, proper employment practices and appropriate decision making processes.
- For those employees who have been turned down the possibility of a promotion, or who were denied a raise, consider implementing an appeal process.
- Investigate, and implement, other corporate policies with the purpose of increasing diversity in the workplace, and preventing discriminatory practices.
- Continue to train and communicate corporate policies to the staff, particularly in the areas addressing anti-discrimination practices, career growth opportunities, and the ability to access further education.
- Take employee complaints seriously, document your response and follow up, and be sure to address each issue on its own individual merits.