Category Archives: Litigation Issues

Bogus Lawsuits, Quirky Question # 34

Quirky Question # 34:

We continue to confront periodically lawsuits from former employees that are utterly frivolous.  Some of the claims make you shake your head in disbelief.  We’d like to file malicious prosecution lawsuits against the individuals who file these bogus claims. Are there any downsides to this approach?  Could someone argue that the lawsuits we are contemplating are “retaliatory?” Answer→

Superficial Responses to Charges of Discrimination, Quirky Question # 24

Quirky Question # 24:

We run a large food service company, with more than 100,000 employees.  Notwithstanding our best efforts to train our store managers regarding federal and state employment laws, we invariably have problems that result in claims of discrimination being filed with the EEOC or parallel state agencies.  In our experience, these federal and state agencies do not seem to be very even-handed.  No matter how compelling the reasons for our actions, we find these agencies unsympathetic to the evidence we advance in explanation for our decisions.  Given this experience, we have been trying to reduce our costs by minimizing the time we expend responding to the Charges of Discrimination.  We quickly gather relevant information and submit a superficial response.  The agencies are likely to support the employee anyway so our feeling is that this approach won’t make a difference in the agency determination.  We will, however, save money.  Do you have any concerns with this approach? Answer→

Age Discrimination and the OWBPA, Quirky Question # 22

Quirky Question # 22:

Our company decided to close one of its two manufacturing facilities in Minnesota.  In deciding which facility to close, we considered factors such as the relative productivity of the facilities and the age and condition of the buildings and equipment.

The employees of our closed facility will receive separation benefits in exchange for signing a release of claims.  We are aware that to obtain a valid release under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) requires us to provide disclosures to the terminated employees.  We understand that our disclosures must describe (among other things) the affected decisional unit – that is, the “group or class” of employees from which the termination decisions were made.

Since we terminated everyone at the closed facility, in our disclosures we defined the “decisional unit” as the manufacturing facility that we closed.  We provided the terminated employees the job titles and ages of everyone who worked at that facility.   I keep hearing about problems with ADEA releases.  Given the facts described above, do we have anything to worry about or have we complied with OWBPA? Answer→