EEOC Backlog Swells. What Does This Mean for Your Case In the EEOC?

Posted by on Feb 4, 2009 in Age Discrimination, Caregiver Discrimination, Disability Discrimination, Gender Discrimination, National Origin Discrimination, Pregnancy Discrimination, Racial Discrimination, Religion Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination

By: Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
It isn’t a newsflash to those of us who regularly deal with the EEOC: the federal agency charged with protecting Americans from discrimination is overworked, with a tremendous backlog of cases. The Washington Post reported Monday that because of increased claims and decrease in staff, the case backlog is now at 73,951 – up 35 % from a backlog of 54,970 a year ago.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/02/AR2009020202452.html
This means that more and more cases are languishing in the EEOC. That’s a problem when it comes to getting to the truth behind a claim, because witnesses move away or forget what happened. In this climate, it is essential for both employees and employers to obtain independent legal counsel to move a case along, to secure witness statements, to conduct investigations, and — most importantly — to frame the issues for an overworked investigator.

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$1.55 Million Settlement in Case of Religious Discrimination and National Origin Discrimination

Posted by on Jan 8, 2009 in National Origin Discrimination, Racial Discrimination, Religion Discrimination

By: Tiffanie Benfer, Esq.
Last week, Merrill Lynch agreed to pay $1.55 million to settle a case of discrimination brought by an Iranian Muslim employee who alleged that he was passed over for promotion and then fired because of his religion and national origin. The complaint alleged that the employee was told that he would not be allowed on the trading floor “because you are from a country which has a high risk factor and a threat.” Not surprisingly, Merrill Lynch denied the accusations.
What accounts for this relatively large settlement? From the publicly available information, it appears that managers at Merrill Lynch were blatant in expressing their bigotry. Bigotry that is expressed in more subtle ways is equally illegal, but may be more difficult to prove. Another important factor is that the Plaintiff in this case was a highly compensated professional. When a highly paid employee is fired, the potential for damages grows.

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