A diverse workforce can enrich your company’s culture and product offerings. Employing individuals with different genders, from varying cultural backgrounds and those representing age groups with contradictory mindsets can also leave room for significant misunderstandings.
Develop policies that both adhere to state and federal employment laws and include your mission, if you so choose. Then train your employees about your expectations, the possible repercussions for violating company policies and their legal rights, should something go awry.
Take discrimination claims, for example. Your employees have the right to file a complaint about discriminatory treatment in the workplace. They also have the right to take disputes further if you retaliate against them for exercising their rights.
How can employers prevent retaliation claims?
You cannot punish employees for filing discrimination claims against you or your company. This includes participating in an investigation.
You may feel ill-equipped to handle certain employee complaints, and probably rightfully so. Legal counsel can help you mitigate risk so you can minimize contention and understand how to respond if disputes arise.
Despite your instincts, it may not be in your best interest to try to handle discrimination claims on your own. Well-meaning efforts to smoothen things over by explaining your perspective, asking an employee to withdraw their complaint or requesting further information could actually make matters worse.
A comprehensive business plan may reduce internal disputes
From the start, create a workplace that helps you:
- Enforce your discrimination policies, and hold each employee accountable for their actions
- Empower employees to raise concerns, then investigate and take action before matters escalate
- Maintain your composure and keep emotional decisions to a minimum
To protect your interests in the face of accusations, document your response to discrimination claims. Include the details of your investigation and action steps that support your defense.
Not every claim will end in litigation. However, your organization must always be ready to face the challenges of working with others.