According to a new analysis by Lex Machina and reported on by Law360, workers filed 2,700 fewer federal complaints or lawsuits through the first three quarters of 2020. The report notes that the drop-off has been particularly apparent in the second and third quarters.
Some types of suits, such as harassment, saw greater decreases than others, such as fair labor practices, that saw less drastic dips. Both these facts match up with the vastly different post-Covid workplace set-ups. It’s more difficult, for example, for sexual harassment to occur over Zoom, although obviously not impossible. Conversely, accommodation claims, such as the ones we have been highlighting in our FFCRA weekly roundups, have increased.
The report confirms much of what we at Berke-Weiss Law have experienced anecdotally, with workers perceiving the diminished returns of attempting to lodge a complaint against a failing business, for example. Additionally, many employers are using Covid-19 as a defense against potential complaints, deterring workers from bringing suits. This is compounded by the federal regulatory quagmire with OSHA largely vacating its responsibilities to outline and enforce comprehensive worker protections under Covid.