How to Protect Your Company From a Discrimination Class Action

Recent class action decisions (see Employers Face Changing Class Action Landscape), including the 9th Circuit ruling certifying the largest class ever in Dukes v Wal-Mart and the record-setting federal jury punitive damage award in a discrimination case in Velez v Novartis put in-house counsel on notice of the high price of employment class actions. Employment law experts say the best defense against a discrimination class action is a strong offense.

"The best remedy is effective prevention," through continuous training on equal employment and harassment issues, says Barbara Hoey, a shareholder at Littler Mendelson. She adds that companies sometimes err in thinking that if they have conducted training once, it is enough.

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Mary Swanton

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