NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Employee Rights Suits Hinder Small Business

October 24, 1996

Small business firms must maneuver delicately through a jungle of government regulations, arbitration, diversity outreach programs, real and potential lawsuits and myriad training initiatives aimed at protecting employee rights and keeping workers happy.

Big businesses usually have the financial resources to cope with the deluge, but for small businesses fighting such agencies as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is an expensive up-hill battle.

  • At the end of last year, the EEOC had a total of 190,043 new and pending complaint cases from individuals who said they were discriminated against either by an employer or potential employer.
  • Apart from EEOC cases, the number of employment-related civil rights lawsuits in U.S. district courts rose from 8,370 in 1991 to 19,059 in 1995 -- an increase of 128 percent.
  • Even the EEOC was sued by one of its own attorneys and ordered to pay him $364,000 in back pay, bonuses and leave, as well as $355,000 in legal fees.

Small businesses must revamp employment applications to satisfy the EEOC, build wheelchair ramps to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and pay increased clerical expenses to comply with such federal mandates as the 1993 American Family and Medical Leave Act. Employers say the list of regulations is all but endless -- mourning earlier days when the business of business was to produce goods.

Source: Bob Johnson (Birmington, Alabama, Post-Herald), "Rights Battlefield in the Workplace," Washington Times, October 24, 1996.


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