Can you criticize an employee without allegations of discrimination?

Given recent rulings by the Supreme Court and several new laws relating to gay marriage and gay rights throughout individual states, employers need to be very careful about how they approach matters with gay employees.

Was it his lifestyle or his performance as an employee?
Recently the pro football team, The Minnesota Vikings, cut punter Chris Kluwe from the team and replaced him. Mr. Kluwe alleges that his coaches and special teams coordinator made anti-gay comments and asked him to ‘tone down’ public statements regarding gay rights causes, while he was on the team.  And after having been cut from the team, Kluwe went so far as to write a highly critical piece about his anti-gay experiences on the team, in an article for a website.

In response to the allegations Kluwe made in his article The Vikings issued a statement saying they take the allegations seriously.  They also say he was released because of his football performance, not something else.

At this stage, no legal action has been taken and it may remain so.  However, in any case where an employee claims any type of serious discrimination, it is reason for concern.
You can be heavily penalized for employment discrimination
Under anti-discrimination laws, an employer who is found liable for employment discrimination can be made to pay damages and provide injunctive relief to the injured party and penalties may include:

•    Back pay (compensation for lost wages due to discrimination)
•    Front pay (money to compensate the employee for future wages)
•    Injunctive relief (reinstatement or promotion)
•    Court costs, and legal fees
•    Out of pocket costs

Depending on the case, the plaintiff may also be entitled to damages for pain and suffering as well as punitive damages.
To avoid litigation,talk to an experienced NY employment law attorney
If an employee has filed a lawsuit or brought a discrimination complaint against you to the EEOC, you should talk to an experienced attorney immediately.  An attorney can explain your legal options and help you determine the best way to proceed.  To discuss discrimination or any other employment matters contact a NY employment defense law attorney today.

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