There is a quiet and ongoing revolution in the workplace. This revolution involves the rise of legal disputes between employees protected under employment law and their employers. Several issues--the increasing diversity of the work force, new laws creating new workplace rights enforceable by litigation, the significant strengthening of existing discrimination laws by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, state employment laws and legal remedies, the rise of an employment discrimination plaintiff's bar, and the willingness of employees to sue their employer--have exposed almost all employers to an increasing volume of litigation related to workplace conduct or the human resource decisions made on an almost daily basis.
While many employment practices and human resource decisions are not challenged by even the most litigious employees, workplace-related litigation is exploding. This is evident from a cursory review of statistics on the filing of sexual harassment lawsuits--just one portion of the mosaic of employment law litigation. From 1991 to 1993, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) experienced a near doubling of the number of charges filed alleging sexual harassment. From 1992 to 1993 awards from judges and juries in these cases increased 98 percent, to a record $25.2 million. 1
This litigation is not expected to subside in the short run and may become a common occurrence in the future. Given the economic and