Retaliation claims on the rise in employment discrimination cases

The Wall Street Journal reports that retaliation claims in connection with employment discrimination lawsuits are on the rise, according to 2008 statistics released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency responsible for enforcing employment discrimination laws:

Claims including a retaliation charge rose 23% in the year ended Sept. 30, 2008, to 32,690 — more than a third of all claims filed with the agency. Claims that didn’t involve retaliation rose 12% in the same period.

. . . . EEOC officials and employment lawyers cite several reasons for the increase. Management-side attorneys say many complaints come from laid-off workers. Moreover, retaliation is often easier to prove than discrimination, particularly since a 2006 Supreme Court decision adopted a broader definition of retaliation than some courts had used.

“Retaliation is really the No. 1 risk for employers today,” says Joseph Beachboard, a management-side lawyer at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC. He says the number of lawsuits handled by his firm that include a retaliation claim jumped 21% so far this year, compared with last year.

For the complete article by WSJ reporter Cari Tuna:

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