Jackson Lewis, a leading employment law firm, recently published the results of its Annual Workplace Law Survey. Throughout 2002 the firm polled hundreds of human resource executives from a broad range of businesses and found:
Employee lawsuits are declining. In 2002, 49% of those polled said they were sued by an employee during the past year. There has been a steady decline in workplace lawsuits since a peak in 1995, when 62% answering a similar survey said they were sued.
Racial discrimination is the most common claim from plaintiffs. In the 2002 survey, 50% of those who were sued said it was for racial discrimination, followed by wrongful discharge (46%) and gender discrimination (42%).
More companies have diversity programs. This year, 37% of those surveyed said there was a diversity program at their company, up from 29% the year before.
Sexual harassment incidents are receding. 43% of the respondents revealed they had no complaints of sexual harassment at their companies in 2002. This is a significant drop from 1995 when virtually everyone polled -- some 95% -- said they handled a sexual harassment issue.
Co-worker dating policies are rare. The majority of those polled -- 87% -- said they did not have a policy regulating co-worker dating at their company.
Business casual dressing is on the wane. In 2002, 67% of those surveyed said they permit dress-down days at least once a week. While still the majority, it is a significant decline from 75% the year before.
The economic downturn is taking its toll. One-third of those polled said that job security was the most critical workplace issue facing the nation.
The fear of terrorism abates. In 2002, only 20% cited threats of terrorism as the country's most critical workplace concern. This is a sharp decline from the fall of 2001, when 50% of those polled said it was the nation's most critical workplace concern.
FMLA has little effect on absenteeism or requests for leaves. The majority of those polled -- 68% -- said the federal Family and Medical Leave Act had no impact on absenteeism at their company. Fifty-one percent said the Act has not changed the amount of leave requests they receive.
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