If you are responsible for hiring or managing employees, you know it is critical to treat each employee fairly. In fact, the law requires it, and you are wise to know how the laws related to equal employment opportunities affect your industry.
Nevertheless, you cannot always know when an employee may claim that you or others in your company have been abusive or discriminatory. A claim of discrimination, harassment or retaliation can be a devastating blow to your business, and you would be wise to take every precaution to protect yourself and your company from such allegations.
Prevention is a more effective way
Dealing with a discrimination claim is more than just a headache. It means you must reschedule your time for the investigation into the accusations and redirect your resources to dealing with the results of that investigation. You can expect your company to lose money, especially if the claims are damaging to its reputation. You may also experience a drop in employee morale and perhaps turnover that means more time diverted from productivity to rebuild your staff.
The most effective way to prevent this snowball effect of damages is to create a work environment that does not tolerate discrimination, harassment or retaliation of any kind. This can include the following steps and others:
- Having a clear and accessible policy that outlines the steps of discipline and the consequences of unacceptable behavior
- Establishing a system by which employees can submit complaints of mistreatment and the process the company will use to deal with each complaint
- Reacting quickly and consistently to employee complaints of mistreatment
- Creating a method for employees to appeal any decisions they disagree with to reduce the opportunities for retaliation
- Holding training sessions for managers to ensure everyone understands what you expect of them and their treatment of employees and employee complaints
- Reviewing policies against discrimination and harassment frequently with employees and managers
- Remaining alert to any signs that an employee is suffering from harassment or discriminatory practices
While these steps may help you create a fair and cooperative environment, they do not guarantee your company will avoid accusations of discrimination, retaliation or harassment. Litigation for workplace misconduct can be costly, and not just financially. Having a skilled Colorado attorney at your side to confront these issues may improve your chances of reaching a more positive outcome, whether through alternative dispute resolution or in the courtroom.