Workplace discrimination lawsuits present South Carolina businesses with a variety of challenges. Is your business facing an allegation of workplace discrimination based on age, sex, race, or any other protected characteristic? In that case, employers should act quickly with an experienced attorney to determine the necessary defensive measures.
The South Carolina employment attorneys at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, represent employers of all sizes in workplace discrimination cases. If your company faces workplace discrimination allegations, we can help you mitigate your risks. Contact Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about how we can defend you.
Types of Employment Discrimination Cases We Handle
The attorneys at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, have experience representing South Carolina businesses in a wide range of discrimination cases. Our law firm has a proven track record of representing businesses accused of sexual harassment, discrimination based on religion, sex, and race, and equal pay and retaliation claims.
When you work with Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, you can rest assured that our attorneys will provide your business with strategic advice on unique issues that can arise in workplace discrimination cases. We use our experience in civil cases brought by the EEOC to develop effective legal approaches for claims brought by individual claimants or class action lawsuits. We stay on top of all legal developments to provide our business clients with innovative legal defenses. We handle the following types of employment discrimination cases:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Discrimination based on sex, race, national origin, religion, age, disability, or pregnancy
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Prohibits discriminating against an employee for taking job-protected leave for medical or family reasons
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): prohibits discrimination based on disability
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA): prohibits discrimination against employees or potential employees age 40 or more
Defenses to Workplace Discrimination Allegations in South Carolina
There are several legal defenses you can make when facing a discrimination lawsuit. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to use the following defenses:
- Impermissible delay in notification
- Breach of contract
- Legally-compliant seniority system
- Employee job performance
- Bona fide occupational qualification
Impermissible Delay in Notification
Generally, employees must provide notice to their employers to assert a workplace discrimination claim. The employee needs to provide notice within a timeframe that gives the employer a reasonable opportunity to remedy the alleged discrimination. When employees don’t provide timely notice of their discrimination claim, employers can assert the impermissible delay defense.
Termination Based on Poor Job Performance
Employers have a right to take adverse employment action against an employee when the action is based on the employee’s job performance. For example, when an employee continues to show up late or fails to meet deadlines regularly, employers have the right to terminate that employee’s employment. South Carolina is an at-will employment state, so as long as an employer isn’t firing an employee based on his or her membership in a protected class or in violation of the employment contract, the termination of employment can be for any reason.
South Carolina businesses must keep documentation of their employees’ performance reviews, warnings, reprimands, and attendance rates. Should an employee file a discrimination claim against your business, having this documentation can help you show that the employee was terminated because of his or her poor job performance, not because of unlawful discrimination.
Protect Yourself from Discrimination Claims with Strong Employee Handbooks
Another way to protect your business from discrimination claims is to have a detailed, clear, and strong employee handbook. When written properly, employee handbooks set forth a clear set of guidelines for all employees to follow. The attorneys at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, can help you ensure that your employee handbook complies with South Carolina laws, including mandated disclaimers required by South Carolina statutes. We can also ensure that your handbook complies with federal anti-discrimination laws.
Without a strong employee handbook, you may put yourself in the position of unknowingly creating an employment contract or other promises that you did not intend to make. When you use an employee handbook and an employee violates that handbook, it will be easier to show that you fired the employee or took other adverse action based on the employee’s violation of your policies. Creating a strong employee handbook can help you prevent litigation over employment claims and set clear expectations for your employees.
Create Clear Employment Agreements
When an employer and an employee have signed an employment agreement, the employer can terminate the employee based on contractual violations. However, employers can’t terminate employees’ contracts because of discriminatory purposes.
Even if terminating an employee’s employment is technically justified under the contract, the main decision to terminate cannot be based on discrimination. The employee or former employee may still have a valid claim against the employer. Working with an attorney to draft thorough, legally valid employment contracts can help protect your business from baseless discrimination claims.
Resolving Discrimination Claims with Mediation and Arbitration
When you meet with Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, we will conduct an analysis of your case by learning more about the facts that led to the alleged discrimination. We’ll collect important documents and interview witnesses to develop an effective strategy. Many South Carolina businesses do not want to pursue litigation.
We always develop legal strategies with our client’s input and try to settle cases cost-effectively and as early as possible. Many disputes can be mediated, arbitrated, or negotiated before they get to trial. However, not all employment discrimination lawsuits can be settled out of court, and we treat each case accordingly. Our trial-ready attorneys have experience in multiple courtroom settings, from South Carolina courts to federal courts. When necessary, we advocate on behalf of our clients.
Discuss Your Case with a South Carolina Employment Attorney
When you work with Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, we will carefully evaluate your case and begin developing an effective legal strategy. Our skilled negotiators will begin negotiating the best outcome in your case. When necessary, our trial-ready attorneys are prepared to represent you in court. Contact Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, today to schedule your free initial consultation.