Steps to Take with Your Client to Prevent FRD Claims

STEP 1: Make your client aware of the growing number of FRD cases that are being brought, plaintiffs’ nearly 50% success rate, and recent verdict amounts.
A good source for this information is WLL’s report “Litigating the Maternal Wall”. Taking a little time and spending a little money now to prevent claims can save a lot of time and money in the future.
STEP 2: Review your client’s handbook for policies that may give rise to FRD claims.
Pay particular attention to: attendance; leave; evaluation; discipline; promotion; and compensation (with an emphasis on incentive pay, if applicable).
STEP 3: Provide training for your client’s HR professionals, managers, and supervisors.
At a minimum, training should cover the types of biases that cause FRD, common factual situations that give rise to FRD claims, and potential legal liability. WorkLife Law can work with you to create and/or present trainings of this sort for a reasonable fee.
STEP 4: Set up a complaint and investigation procedure for your client.
FRD claims come in so many varieties that it may be difficult for HR professionals and management to always recognize them, but training and checklists can help.
STEP 5: Encourage your client to adopt a policy that it will not discriminate based on family responsibilities (or include FRD in its existing anti-discrimination policy).
This not only sets the tone for the company, but gives the company an opportunity to educate all its management and employees. Importantly, although WorkLife Law is not aware of any company that has defended against a claim for punitive damages in an FRD case on the basis that it has a policy against FRD, trains its employees on preventing FRD, and has a procedure in place for prompt and thorough investigations, that defense may well be successful in the future.

Best Practices

Best practices for avoiding family responsibilities discrimination, and retaining talented employees with caregiving responsibilities. Add a work-life component to your company’s existing diversity program. Biases against caregivers, the all or nothing schedules, and poorly administered workplace flexibility policies are all factors that lead to attrition among employees with caregiving responsibilities. View a list of best practices.

Teleconferences and Briefings

From time to time, the attorneys at WorkLife Law provide teleconferences and in-person briefings about trends in FRD litigation for management attorneys. We also provide presentations to various bar groups. To get information about upcoming teleconferences and briefings, please send an email to Info(at)worklifelaw(dot)org.

WLL’s Employer Alerts

If you would like to receive occasional email alerts about recent cases, articles about FRD, and best practices tips for preventing FRD, please send your name and email address to EmployerAlerts@worklifelaw.org.
Current Alerts for Employers.