Let’s say you’re getting a business off the ground. You’ve struggled to create a viable business plan, and now you think you’re on your way. Maybe your company has been growing steadily, and you think you can weather any storm that approaches. But do you know how to avoid being called into court and going face to face with a discrimination lawyer?
A discrimination suit can be highly costly, drag the good name of our company through the mud, and destroy any progress and forward momentum you’ve made. It’s the kind of problem that’s best solved by making sure it won’t happen in the first place. Yesterday, we shared a few tips to make sure workplace discrimination doesn’t become an issue for you, and today, we’d like to share a few more.
- A company’s culture starts from the top down. Like it or not, you’re a role model to your employees, and they will look to you for decent behavior. Set a good example of how you conduct yourself both personally and professionally.
- From time to time, make sure you’re providing training to all of your employees, including managers, about anti-harassment and discrimination policies. If you’re not sure how to do that, remember that there are a lot of professionals out there that can conduct these sessions.
- A good rule of thumb is to make sure that detailed records are kept documenting everything relevant that takes place in your company. These should include employee performance evaluations, complaints or problems that have taken place, and any other events that can support and justify decisions involving employees being disciplined, terminated, or laid off. Complaints can be highly confusing and very emotional situations, which is why it’s smart to have them logged in an impartial way.
- If one of your people is harassed or discriminated against, it’s your job to make sure they know who to talk to about it, how to lodge a complaint, and how the process works. You should designate someone you trust to be the EEO officer, and let employees know complaints can be made to them. Make sure that everyone knows you take complaints seriously and confidentially, and that every situation will be investigated quickly and fairly.
- One of the best ways to head off issues with discrimination and harassment is to make sure you hire quality people. As long as you’re not violating any laws protecting people from intrusions into their privacy, make sure you do your due diligence prior to giving someone a position in your organization. Remember that, in ways both good and bad, a person you hire reflects upon you.
- They say that the key to a successful marriage is communication. The same goes for a healthy relationship between employer and employee. When you’re open and honest with your people, and you take steps to forge a transparent professional environment, you’ll have happier workers. But when communication breaks down, conditions can be created where people are unhappy, don’t respect or trust one another, and legal complaints of harassment or discrimination can begin to appear.