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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Do Not Settle Frivolous Lawsuits Out of Court

Many companies settle wrongful terminationlawsuits out of court even when they know the claims are false. This policy is usually followed to avoid the hardships of litigation, potentially large financial damages that may be awarded and negative publicity.

Employers that adhere to this policy communicate to employees that they are open to unjustified lawsuits, and will not always stand up for principles and what is right. This in turn will encourage other employees to sue the company in the future solely for financial gain.

There is a high potential for abuse by fraudulent IT employees to file for wrongful terminationwithout reasonable cause. EEOC statistics for the year 1998 indicate that 70 percent of racial discrimination charges and 61 percent of age discrimination charges had no reasonable cause. Some employees have a history of filing unsubstantiated lawsuits against their employers and will go so far as to forge incriminating documents as evidence to serve their purpose.

It is prevalent in today’s society for such unscrupulous activities. So much so, that the Federal government is now intent on reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits through several statutes including the Class Action Fairness Act that would prevent attorneys from attempting to have their lawsuits heard by a specific judge or jury that would benefit their position and maximize the awards received by their clients.

Employers should, therefore, go through all the legal steps required when they know they are being unduly accused and the lawsuit is without merit. A little pain now will reduce the number of future frivolous lawsuits filed against the employer when IT employees are aware that the employer will defend themselves to the full extent of the law.

The Nowhere Case

The Wave Magazine reported a case where Jonathan Russell went to work and began firing a weapon at the other employees. After wreaking carnage in the workplace, he proceeded to a local police station and started a firefight with the police. Russell then committed suicide with his firearm.

The mother of the deceased sued for workers’ benefits with the claim that the murders and suicide committed by her son were work-related events. She described his demise as “Death by gunfire while on company clock (time).” This lawsuit obviously went nowhere, but it wasted employer and tax-payer money to have it thrown out.

The above book excerpt is from:

You're Fired! Firing Computer Professionals

The IT manager Guide for Terminating "With Cause"

ISBN 0-9744486-4-8

Robert Papaj

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