Naperville Business Lawyer on Effective Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policies
While most businesses have anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies in place, many still face harassment or discrimination lawsuits because they fail to enforce those policies. More often than not, these are for repeat incidents that have, for one reason or another, gone unresolved. However, a recent report from the Bureau of National Affairs suggests that there are more single incident cases today than there were just mere years ago, and that can mean serious trouble for employers who fall short in providing a safe workplace environment for all.
In my practice as a business law attorney, I have helped many clients develop effective strategies for preventing and dealing with harassment and discrimination in the workplace. I understand how important such strategies are for protecting you and your business investment.
The Increase in Single Incident Cases
As the notion and importance of equality becomes more widespread, and as judges and juries become more sympathetic to the effects of workplace harassment, more and more are ruling “extremely serious” or “severe” single incidents as viable unlawful harassment cases. Under federal law, this places the employer on the hook for liability, and they may become responsible for damages considered due.
Even cases that are ultimately dismissed have their negative effects on a business. Because they often remain as pending cases longer than the used to, harassment and discrimination lawsuits can drastically impact on employee morale and productivity, and may even cause long-lasting damage to a company’s reputation. Litigation costs associated with discrimination or harassment claims may also prove to be costly, especially if the claim survives past summary judgement. All in all, it is a situation that every employer should try and avoid, if and whenever possible.
Harassment and Discrimination Prevention
All harassment and discrimination prevention plans should start with the creation of a comprehensive policy. To ensure all state and federal laws are addressed, it is best to complete this step with the help of a skilled and experienced business attorney. You and your attorney should also review this policy each quarter to ensure the policy stays up-to-date.
Once the policy is complete, review it with all managerial staff. Explain the policies, encourage questions, and open up discussions to ensure they fully understand the policy and how it is to be carried out. (You may even wish to make this training interactive to improve comprehension and reasoning applications.) Require that all managers sign a document that clearly states they have undergone discrimination training, and that they understand it. Repeat this same process with all employees, and provide quarterly training to reinforce the policy.
Consequences for violating policies should be clear and enforced. If you receive a complaint from an employee, or suspect that harassment is taking place, it is critical that you launch a thorough and in-depth investigation. If harassment or discrimination has taken place, take action per your policy guidelines, and do not allow leniencies.
A Naperville Business Lawyer Can Help with Harassment or Discrimination Issues
If you own a business and would like help with developing anti-harassment and discrimination policies, or need representation during a harassment or discrimination lawsuit, it is critical to choose a law firm with both knowledge and experience in state and federal laws regarding workplace harassment. Contact a skilled DuPage County business law attorney at the Gierach Law Firm today. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation with an experienced member of our team.