It is common sense that if supervisors treat employees with the same respect they would like to receive, the company will not likely face discrimination suits. Supervisors who are not sensitive to an employee’s age, national origin, physical disabilities, sex, race or national origin are likely going to pay in the long run. Therefore, clearly setting forth a well-defined job description is a good approach.
Unfortunately, common sense will only go so far and supervisors may not always use it. It is a good idea to have an anti-discrimination policy in place and make sure managers and employees are trained to know what is expected and what should be done if discrimination is encountered.
It is almost imperative that, as a business owner, you should get the message out that discrimination will not be tolerated by anyone in your organization. One of the best ways to “get the message out” is to have a well-written anti-discrimination policy that outlines what is expected. Your policies should also identify to whom complaints of discrimination should be made, and all managers should be trained on what to do if they receive a complaint.
It is especially important to train your decision-makers. Supervisors and managers should be trained to identify and understand discrimination in its many forms, such as claims based on disability, gender, age or other protected status. Supervisors should be made to understand that it is important to document events and carefully maintain that documentation. If a situation appears serious, you may want to consult counsel.
It is also important to train managers about making personnel decisions. A poorly planned and poorly documented job termination or hiring is sometimes an invitation to a charge of discrimination. Therefore, documenting everything is also imperative, including things such as an employee’s work performances. All documentation should be based on facts and should be done in a timely and pertinent manner.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you want to take proactive steps to avoid discrimination suits, consider hiring an experienced attorney to assist you with your antidiscrimination policies and employee training.