How can a self-audit help my company?

To avoid potential discrimination-related employment litigation, companies throughout Texas are encouraged to work with an attorney to complete a preventative self-audit.

All it takes is for one disgruntled employee to claim discrimination for a business to find itself on the defense. Especially considering the possible financial repercussions for the employer, the threat of a lawsuit is more than enough of a reason for an employer to reach out to an attorney.

In talking about these financial repercussions, keep in mind the payout is largely dependent on the size of the employer. For example, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a Texas company with between 15 and 100 employees can end up having to pay up to $50,000 in punitive and compensatory damages. A larger employer, with more than 500 employees, is limited to $300,000 in damages. With everything being relative though, payouts for discrimination claims are burdens all employers will want to avoid, from a financial standpoint, as well as a reputational one.

The good news, though, is that there are ways to avoid having to payout a discrimination claim, with the most surefire way being to avoid having the claim in the first place.

At Key Harrington Barnes PC we recommend self-audits for businesses. These audits are preventative in nature, identifying areas of concern for a business. The idea is that by identifying these areas now, businesses can make changes to avoid running into litigation in the future. There are different types of audits. The needs and concerns of the employer will dictate our attorneys' recommendations.

By looking at existing policies, such as those tied to harassment or discrimination, a business can see where there is a need for improvement. Maybe it is time to update the existing policies or training materials. When was the last time all supervisors went through discrimination training? Is it time for them to go through again? These are just some of the many ideas that could surface from a self-audit.

Self-Audits Review All Existing Policies

Employers need to also stay mindful that discrimination can happen throughout the employment process and that someone does not even need to be hired to claim discrimination. These scenarios include:

  • Recruitment
  • Hiring and promotions
  • Pay and employee benefits
  • Discipline and termination
  • Dress code

The recommendation is for an attorney to review any existing personnel policies once every two to three years. A lawyer will not only be up-to-date on any recent relevant law changes, but as attorneys who represent employers in employment litigation matters, we know what to look for to hopefully avoid potential litigation in the future.