The EEOC released statistics in January showing a record number of Charges of Discrimination filed by private sector employees in 2011. Although some EEOC Charges contain multiple types of claims, the 99, 947 total charges filed consisted of: 35.4%  race discrimination, 25.8%  disability discrimination, 23.5%  age discrimination, 11.8%  national origin discrimination, 4.2%    religious discrimination, 2.8%    color based discrimination, 0.9%    pay discrimination. Of this total number of charges, 37.4% involved claims of employer retaliation. Retaliation continues to be the most commonly brought claim against employers. Religious discrimination claims saw the greatest percentage increase. The monetary recoveries by the EEOC for disability related claims increased the most. Litigants received $27.1 million and EEOC administrative proceedings led to $103.4 million for claimants. This should give employers some idea of which types of charges are the most frequently filed and the most costly to resolve. This information can help the prudent employer focus its…       Read More

With the rapid rise of social networking through internet sites such as Facebook and Myspace, more and more people are placing personal and private information on the web. At Hall Booth Smith & Slover, we perform internet inquiries of popular social networking sites and public records databases on every claimant upon receipt of a new file. In Workers’ Compensation cases, claimant’s oft en will post pictures of themselves, or make comments about their activities. When what the claimant posts on the internet is inconsistent with their allegations or testimony, that can provide employers and insurers with tremendous leverage to limit exposure or negotiate favorable settlements. Social networking sites are a critical repository of information that should not be overlooked when defending claims. Unfortunately, attorney’s are somewhat handcuffed in their ability to access the information that may be available on a person’s site. Privacy settings oft en restrict access only to…       Read More

The Center for Immigration Studies estimates about five percent of workers in the U.S. are illegal immigrants. In some industries, such as food service and construction, it’s much higher – 18 percent for construction. While IRCA, the Immigration Reform and Control Act, does not prohibit an illegal immigrant from seeking employment, it does prohibit an employer from knowingly employing undocumented workers in the United States. The best way for an employer to avoid hiring an undocumented worker is to always properly and carefully verify a job applicant’s documents before hiring, through the Form I-9. The I-9 is designed to verify an employee’s authorization to work, and the failure to properly complete I-9s could result in federal fines and governmental audits. Over the last decade, questions have arisen as to whether an injured undocumented worker that manages to slip onto a payroll should be allowed to receive workers’ compensation benefits, if…       Read More

Have you ever received a lawsuit that contained such baseless employment law claims that you wanted to lash out?  Many employers have, but most employers do not file counterclaims, and here is why:  the Plaintiff was awarded almost $250,000.00 in attorneys’ fees and expenses last month by a Georgia Federal Court.  The Plaintiff had filed a gender and pregnancy discrimination case against her former employer after it eliminated her position while she was on maternity leave.  The employer, believing that it had done absolutely nothing wrong, filed counterclaims against the Plaintiff.  After receiving the counterclaims, the Plaintiff then added a retaliation claim to her lawsuit.  Three of the Defendant’s counterclaims were eliminated on summary judgment, and the employer voluntarily dismissed the remaining two counterclaims.  At trial, the Plaintiff lost on her gender and pregnancy discrimination claims.  However, the jury found that the employer retaliated against the Plaintiff by filing counterclaims. …       Read More

            On December 28, 2011, Governor Deal approved the recommendations of the Water Supply Task Force (WSTF) headed by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA).  The purpose of the Governor’s Water Supply Program is to assist local governments in developing new sources of water supply adequate to meet future water needs.  Governor Deal announced the commitment of $300 million over four years for reservoir and water supply development.  Including nearly $46 million authorized in this year’s budget and the $28.5 million currently held by GEFA and the Georgia Reservoir and Water Supply Fund.             The WSTF’s recommendations allow GEFA, which by its terms is only permitted to loan money to local governments, to modify its loan program to (1) lengthen the amortization period from the current twenty years up to forty years; (2) defer repayment through capitalized and construction interest up to the time when all loan funds have been…       Read More