Survey Reveals Labor & Employment Law Claims are Most Common in 2011

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Fulbright & Jaworski has released its 8th Annual Litigation Trends Survey Report. This year, 405 companies participated. General counsels, heads of litigation, and other senior ranking law department personnel provided some pretty interesting data about their experiences in 2011, and their predictions for 2012.

As in past years, there are some gems to be found in this report, but a few of the numbers really stand out.

Nearly 89% of respondents believe that legal disputes will either stay the same or increase in 2012. And of those individuals expecting to see an increase, 30% say that stricter regulation is to blame.

So what issues are they most concerned about?

Labor & Employment Continues to Top the Charts

  • 46% of respondents said that labor and employment law claims were the most common claims they faced in 2011.

In terms of specific claim types:

  • 44% of respondents reported an increase in multi-plaintiff wage and hour claims
  • 34% saw an increase in discrimination claims
  • 12% saw an increase in retaliation

Predictions for 2012: U.S. respondents think that the following claims will show the greatest increase next year:

  • 34% say wage and hour claims
  • 30% say discrimination claims
  • 21% say retaliation claims

Retaliation & Whistleblowers Cannot Be Ignored

2011 saw the re-emergence of the whistleblower. With new laws going into effect and expansions of existing protections, retaliation claims continue to be an area of growing concern and risk for employers.  According to the Fulbright survey:

  • 22% (nearly 1 in 5) organizations said they had been subject to at least one whistleblower allegation in the past 12 months (resulting in internal investigations, regulatory investigations or 3rd party proceedings).
  • Predictions for 2012: 25% of respondents expect whistleblower allegations to increase during 2012.

Planning for 2012

2012 is nearly upon us. And most of us are in planning mode, looking to determine our 2012 projects and priorities.   Whether you are an HR, compliance, ethics or legal professional, ask yourself:

  • Is my organization prepared to face these risks?
  • How can I help my organization prevent these claims?
  • Have I helped my organization establish key legal defenses to these claims?
  • How am I planning to improve my internal compliance program next year?

ELT can help. Our proven and highly-effective online compliance training courses address your most pressing ethics and legal challenges.  With products dedicated to managing the risks associated with wage and hour, discrimination, harassment and whistleblowing and retaliation, our courses are engineered to help you build a culture of compliance, and at the same time, protect your organization and its bottom line.


What do you have to say? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join a discussion group on Compliance Next.


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