Serious allegations can surface within all industries, among any group of people. Despite mandatory training and acceptable behavioral guidelines, as specified in your employee handbook, workers may claim sexual harassment or discrimination within the workplace.

Your response, should such a concern arise, may affect the outcome of a claim, as well as the inclusive company culture you worked hard to develop. To minimize liability and potential negative publicity, consider how your leadership team ought to address internal reports. For example:

  • Respect the party who filed the complaint. Workers often hesitate to raise concerns due to fear about whether they’ll be taken seriously. The possibilities of wrongful termination and change to immigration status also increase vulnerability among employees. Therefore, your company’s thoughtful, compassionate response can show you value the people you employ, as well as the products they produce.
  • Act accordingly. Collaborate with your legal counsel, human resources department and board of directors. Together, initiate a thorough investigation, strategize a media message and determine an appropriate, and legal, resolution.
  • Make changes based on the lessons learned. Despite unfortunate circumstances, accusations could shed light on ways to improve your business. Whether that includes increased training needs, greater engagement with employees or more clearly-stated policies, you may be wise to examine ways to protect your entity, as well as your labor force, moving forward.

Your responsibility as an employer reaches far beyond required cooperation with state and federal agencies. You set the tone for your employees.

No matter the size of your company, those who work for you likely base part of their employee satisfaction on your commitment to maintaining an ethical work environment. Your reaction to problems that present may mitigate future complaints. As such, there’s a probable link between how you manage allegations and their overall effect on your profits.