Employee lawsuits are distracting, expensive, and mostly avoidable. Jury Verdicts Research 2007 edition of “Employment Practices Liability, Jury Award Trends, and Statistics” highlights some employment statistics and trends that you should know:

Employee lawsuits have risen 400% in the past 20 years to the currently level of 6.5 claims per 1,000 employees annually

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The most common targets for Federal discrimination claims are private employers with between 15 and 100 employees (41.5%); second are private companies with an excess of 500 employees (23.9%); and third are private companies with between 100 and 500 employees (18%)
In any employment case filed in federal court, there is a 16% chance the award will exceed $1 million and a 67% chance that the award will exceed $100,000; attorney fees are not included
The average compensatory award in all federal court employment cases was $493,534 and reflects a 45% increase since 2000; a compensatory award does not include punitive damages or attorney fees
In State courts, compensatory awards are up 39% while wrongful termination claims are up 260%
If an employment lawsuit goes to trial, plaintiffs are more likely to win 67% of cases in State court and 63% in federal court
The cost to settle an employment lawsuit has grown significantly over the last 5 years, from an average of $130,476 in 2001 to $310,845 in 2006
These general statistics are sobering and are cause for concern to ALL organizations. Compounding these are recent changes in Federal and State laws that affect almost all organizations. In a litigious employment environment that seems to increasingly favor employees, risk-minimizing organizations MUST understand the recent changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations. Employers should take immediate steps to assure they are in compliance with new laws to protect themselves from future liability.

What Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 2009 Changes do I Need to Understand?

The ADA requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from employment-related opportunities. It prohibits discrimination in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other privileges of employment. It further requires employers to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, unless it results in undue hardship to the employer.