Date: August 24, 2021
Following TELG’s trial against AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Human Resources Executive spoke with TELG principal Anita Chambers about recent legal trends. Multiple claims in a case are a common occurrence, Anita explained, and our case representing a former AstraZeneca employee is one such example.
“There is definitely retaliation in the workplace, and employers need to be very vigilant about it.”
Anita Mazumdar Chambers
Can HR get ahead of rising whistleblowing, ageism complaints?
When a federal jury in Portland, Ore., recently awarded Suzanne Ivie $2.4 million in damages over her firing from AstraZeneca, it marked the convergence of two legal trends that are catching the attention of HR departments. Her mixed verdict on whistleblower and age-discrimination claims mirrors developments across the workplace and portends more litigation on multiple battlefronts in coming years as the workforce ages and society grows increasingly litigious.
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“An employee often does have multiple claims,” explains Anita Chambers, a principal of The Employment Law Group, which represented Ivie in her lawsuit against AstraZeneca. “There is definitely retaliation in the workplace, and employers need to be very vigilant about it.”
In fact, retaliation claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have more than doubled over the past two decades, soaring from 22.6% of all claims in fiscal year 1997 to nearly 56% of all claims in 2020. Age-discrimination claims during that time have edged up slightly from 19.6% to 21%, the EEOC reports.