Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Do you know? Employment litigation expected to increase in 2010

The international law firm Fulbright & Jaworski has released its Fifth Annual Litigation Trends Survey and Highlights (available in full [PDF], or as an executive summary). The survey of 251 U.S. corporate law departments reveals some interesting trends that suggest that businesses of all sizes should increase their litigation coffers in the coming year.

  • Labor and employment lawsuits are the most common type of litigation facing U.S. companies.

  • More than half of in-house counsel surveyed felt that the pace of new lawsuits will at least remain stable, and 34% expect an increase in the coming year.

  • With employment cases take up the largest portion of corporate dockets.

  • Wage and hour lawsuits have the greatest spike in new filings. 19% of U.S. companies cited an increase in wage and hour cases in the past year.

  • Moreover, nearly one-third of U.S. companies report an increase in multi-plaintiff or class action age and hour cases.

  • Retailers appear to have the most exposure in the wage and hour arena: one-third of retail firms saw an increase in wage-and-hour litigation.

  • After wage and hour, companies saw significant increases in five other areas of workplace litigation: discrimination suits, privacy claims, ERISA, disability claims, and age discrimination.

  • Companies reported that race discrimination cases have the highest financial exposure, followed by sex discrimination; wage and hour, age discrimination, harassment, retaliation, disability discrimination, non-compete disputes, and FMLA violations.

What does all this data mean for your business? Your legal budgets will likely increase next year. The question you need to answer is whether you want those funds to pay to defend lawsuits, or to proactively audit your internal personnel and employment practices to limit your litigation costs?

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or jth@kjk.com.