The hospitality industry requires employees to work well together to provide guests with the best experience possible. For this to happen, hotels must treat their employees right by abiding by all federal and state employment regulations.
Employees who feel they have been mistreated by their employer due to a protected characteristic may file a discrimination claim against their employer to recover back pay and other damages. However, not all claims warrant damages. Employers and their attorneys may come up with a defense strategy to protect themselves against these claims.
Common defenses against discrimination claims
If you have been accused of discriminating against an employee, you may use any of the following defense strategies. Keep in mind that none of these defenses are one size fits all. Your attorney will tailor the strategy to fit the facts of your case.
Legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for termination or adverse action.
The employee filing suit against you will focus on proving that you took a negative employment action against them solely based on one or more of their protected characteristics (e.g., age, gender, religion, or race). Your job will be to prove that there were legal reasons to take action against them that were unrelated to these characteristics. Poor performance, insubordination, or excessive absences are all legal reasons to take action against an employee.
Valid business purpose
If a policy on its face seems discriminatory, a business can defend themselves by proving that the policy has a valid business purpose and that there is no less discriminatory way to achieve that purpose.
Lack of knowledge
Most employers have policies in place that establish the process required to report discrimination in the workplace. If an employee fails to follow that process, the employer may argue that it was unaware of the alleged discrimination.
Defending against an employment discrimination claim can be difficult for hospitality industry businesses without the help of an experienced attorney. Consider speaking with an attorney to discuss possible defenses if your company has been named as the defendant in a discrimination suit.