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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

Should your employee handbook prohibit retaliation?

As a business executive, you understand the importance of recruiting and retaining capable employees. Workplace discrimination and sexual harassment undercut these objectives. While you personally would never discriminate against workers or harass employees, you cannot predict how your managers will behave.

Unfortunately, managers often seek retribution against members of their teams who make discrimination or harassment complaints. Retaliation is unlawful, though. To be certain your managers and employees understand this fact, it may be beneficial to prohibit retaliation in your handbook.

Putting employees on notice

Whether your handbook addresses the topic or remains silent, retaliation is problematic. By putting an anti-retaliation provision into your handbook, you set reasonable expectations for your managers and employees to follow. You also tell them about the consequences they face for retaliating.

Providing an investigative framework

Some types of retaliation are difficult to identify. With a broad prohibition in your handbook, you give your organization an investigative framework. That is, you can outline when and how investigators respond to allegations of retaliation. Of course, if you have investigative procedures, you must be certain to follow them to avoid making matters worse.

Finding top talent

According to reporting from CNBC, many industries are experiencing worker shortages. This may mean employees can be more selective about where they choose to work. Because most individuals enjoy working in a safe environment, having an anti-retaliation provision in your company handbook may help you find top talent.

Even though adding something else to your already long handbook may make you shudder, you want employees and applicants to know you take retaliation seriously. Ultimately, with the right language, you help to create an appealing workplace culture.

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