Both harassment and discrimination have legal consequences. They are wrong and should not be something present in your workplace or experienced by your employees. There are many things you can do as an employer to ensure that these improper behaviors do not find their way into your work environment. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), one of the most effective ways to fight harassment and discrimination in the workplace is to utilize preventative methods. It may be easier to discuss such methods than to actually put them into practice, but a friendly workplace can be accomplished with determination and cooperation.
What Can Employers Do to Establish a Welcoming Environment?
One great thing for you to do is to establish a policy that is both anti-harassment and anti-discrimination. Make sure this policy complies with the state and federal laws involved. Inform your employees of the policy, and remember that you must also abide by it and enforce it regularly. All people within the organization must be involved in the policies and practices. Make sure to clearly inform all of your managerial staff and supervisors that they are strictly required to report any sexual harassment or discrimination complaints to you immediately. Additionally, they must share with you any information they may have on discrimination or harassment actions that are taking place.
Education is an exceptional tool in helping to prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Another method to use is taking the time to invest in diversity awareness and training. In many cases, people discriminate and harass others because of ignorance. When employees learn how to properly respect people of other races, genders or cultures, it may be less likely that they will engage in behaviors that put others down.
If complaints do arise, it is absolutely crucial that you take them seriously no matter how small they are. It is your duty as an employer to immediately investigate discrimination and harassment complaints so that the issue can be resolved quickly and your employees can feel comfortable. If your business is extremely busy or other reasons, you may choose to designate a specific managerial employee to be the one who receives any complaints in the workplace. Inform your employees that that individual is who they should go to if a problem occurs.
When a discrimination or harassment claim is being investigated, it is important that you document your efforts. In your written records, you should include individuals’ names and the basics of the conversations you had with them. If someone provides you with a written statement about the matter at hand, keep a copy. To keep things organized, store your investigation information in a designated file.
When it comes to the employees who are victims of harassment or discrimination, if they decide to seek state or federal help from an employee or human rights agency, do not discourage them. They have a right to do so, and if you attempt to prevent them from doing so, you face possible legal consequences.
What to Tell Your Employees
Your employees’ cooperation with your anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies is essential to make matters run smoothly. Tell your employees to review your policies and follow them. Remind them to also report any discriminatory behaviors as soon as possible and that they sooner you know about it, the faster you will be able to provide your assistance in stopping it.
It is also important that your employees understand very well that both opposite-sex harassment and same-sex harassment are illegal. This means that there are legal consequences if woman harasses a woman or a man harasses a man.
You are in charge of creating a company culture that protects employees. If you work to establish a fair work environment where all different types of people are accepted and treated with respect, discrimination and harassment problems will be less likely.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.