Best Practices for Preventing Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace
If you’ve ever seen a company fall apart from within after mishandling harassment and discrimination claims, you know just how important it is to avoid these problems within your own company. A company that fails to educate employees on what is and is not acceptable, doesn’t follow through on enforcement of company policies, or silences victims is unlikely to last long. The Southern California employment advising attorneys at the Law Offices of Robin D. Perry help companies like yours navigate these complex issues.
Both harassment and discrimination are addressed at a federal level. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines harassment as unwelcome behavior that is based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, genetic information, disability, and older age. Discrimination is a broader term that refers to differential treatment based on one of the categories listed above.
Wondering how you can protect your company from discrimination and harassment lawsuits? Choose the Law Offices of Robin D. Perry & Associates, a cornerstone in the local community. Our team has navigated complex cases on behalf of corporate clients, giving us the experience needed to help your business achieve its goals. Call us at 562-216-2944 to set up a consultation with our team right away.
Workplace Culture of Respect and Inclusivity
You can lay the groundwork for a safe and welcoming workplace by encouraging a culture of respect and inclusivity. Positive peer pressure remains one of the most effective ways to influence employees. Consider an employee prone to making racist, sexist, or homophobic comments. In Workplace A, the people around them laugh awkwardly, are silently complicit, or even join in. In Workplace B, a comment like that is met with silence, shocked looks, and an immediate callout from a fellow employee. In Workplace B, people who engage in harassment and discrimination will quickly either right their ways or look elsewhere for employment.
It starts on day one with clearly communicated policies regarding discrimination and harassment. Employers must emphasize their commitment to a safe and discrimination-free workplace for all employees.
Education and Training
Training, both upon hiring and throughout an employee’s tenure, ensures that employees stay abreast of what the company expects of them. Training sessions should focus on the laws regarding discrimination and harassment, as well as current best practices that employees are expected to uphold. There are advocacy groups throughout the region that make it easy for employers to keep employees informed and involved.
Effective Reporting System
No matter how hard you try to create a culture of respect and acceptance, you will eventually have an employee that violates your policies and creates an unsafe or unwelcoming work environment for other employees. When this happens, you want your employees—both victims and observers—to feel safe coming to you and reporting what happened. Establish a reporting system that allows employees to choose a reporting channel that suits their level of comfort. Some may prefer anonymity, but you should emphasize that those who are not anonymous will still be protected from retaliation or other negative outcomes as a result of their report.
You may wish to outsource the investigation of reports to a trusted third party. If the wrongdoer is a friend of a manager or executive, employees must know that their status will not keep them from being held responsible.
Fair and Consistent Enforcement of Policies
When employees trust you enough to report illegal or unethical behavior, you must repay that trust with fair enforcement of your anti-harassment policies. Penalties must be the same, whether the perpetrator is a new hire with no pull in the company, a top performer that brings in a lot of money, or an executive. If policies are enforced sporadically or only when it’s convenient for the company, you put it at risk of a lawsuit.
Ensure That Your Employment Practices Meet Your Needs With A Employment Advising Lawyer at Law Offices of Robin D. Perry & Associates
Working with an employment advising attorney is one of the easiest ways to protect your company from lawsuits. We can help you create policies and procedures that keep employees safe and limit your liability. Get started now by scheduling a consultation, during which we’ll learn more about your business and your long-term goals. Call us at 562-216-2944 or send us a message online to set up a time to talk.
Attorney Robin D. Perry has been part of the Long Beach Community for over 25 years handling business litigation, employment litigation and advising, criminal defense, personal injury and code enforcement defense for businesses.