Six Proven Discrimination Prevention Strategies

 
  A trained management team, clear policy, and a rapid response to an employee complaint resulted in this Dacri & Associates client winning a discrimination claim that could have easily cost them $100,000 in settlement and legal fees. Two years ago, we proactively developed for them a discrimination and harassment prevention program. This year, when an employee complained that he was being harassed, the management knew what to do and swiftly responded to the incident. The program was working: the employee knew how to lodge a complaint; the management responded properly to correct the incident; and the situation was resolved. Unfortunately, the harassing behavior did not completely go away. This time, however, the employee never told the management, so when the employee got a lawyer and filed a complaint, the company was caught by surprise.The U.S. District Court of Maine heard arguments and issued a summary judgment ruling the employer was not liable. The company did everything it could to correct the situation, but because the alleged victim failed to tell them of the second incident, the employer could not be held liable for not correcting it. The employee did not follow the procedures outlined in their handbook.

We can learn a great deal from this case:

  1. Have a clear compliant procedure in your handbook that all employees receive and acknowledge;
  2. Train your managers and supervisors on how to respond to complaints;
  3. Investigate immediately all complaints;
  4. Firmly address legitimate complaints;
  5. Protect employees and witnesses from retaliation; and
  6. Communicate frequently with the alleged victim.

 

When this harassment and discrimination prevention program was put in place, we could never have anticipated this particular incident would occur. Nevertheless, when it did, the management knew what to do and did all the right things, saving them a bundle and winning the case.

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Filed under Compliance, Employee Relations, Management

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