These steps can help you avoid them
Workplace discrimination and harassment are some of the most talked about topics today. And whether it is Google, ESPN, or Facebook, some of the biggest companies on the planet are often in the news for the wrong reasons. But just because you run a small business doesn’t mean these are things you don’t need to think about.
Thanks in part to more awareness from social media campaigns, America – as well as the rest of the world – is waking up to the problems that exist within our communities, and in the workplace specifically. Unless you are a sole proprietor, employee conduct has to be one of your priorities. These are the steps you can take to prevent discrimination and harassment:
Establish a policy
You probably know that it is illegal for employees to be discriminated against based on gender, race, religion, age, etc. But do you have a written policy in place that clearly states this? This will act as a guide for everyone within your organization
Reference this policy when necessary
For major actions like hiring, promoting, or firing, your policy should always be reviewed. This is especially important if you plan to delegate these tasks to other people. It is essential that everyone is on the same page.
Provide continuous training
An initial training session is a good way to get everyone thinking about discrimination and what your company is doing to prevent it. However, this shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Regular meetings can keep this issue top-of-mind with employees and management.
Like with discrimination, your business needs to have clear written policies that cover all forms of harassment. These should include definitions and discipline, along with how someone can file a claim and what the investigation process entails.
Make sure everyone gets training
Again, training is important. Harassment is one of those areas that can be tricky to navigate, so everybody has to know what is and isn’t acceptable. This is particularly important when new employees are brought in. For example, if a business comprised of only men suddenly has a new female employee, a training session may be in order.
Take action right away
If a possible instance of harassment has been brought to your attention or that of a manager, you need to take it seriously. Ignoring or dismissing it shows that you’re not concerned about it or the person making the claim and could open you up to legal liability. You should look to resolve any issue swiftly and decisively.
Further protection for your business
Even if you are vigilant when it comes to your business, you can’t control everything or everybody. A couple of careless jokes or a personal bias preventing someone from being promoted can lead to a lawsuit. This is why you should strongly consider Employment Practices Liability insurance (EPLI). This type of policy offers protection for an employer against employee claims of discrimination or harassment. In addition to covering court costs, this insurance will also pay for settlements or judgments.
Businesses are becoming much more cognizant of sensitive workplace issues, but that doesn’t mean problems won’t continue to arise. While you may not want to think about one of your employees suing you, it is always a wise idea to be proactive. To get more information about an EPLI policy or other kinds of insurance that can provide your business with safeguards, contact Avante Insurance. To speak with an insurance pro, call us at 305-648-7070 or just fill out this online form.