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When we go to work for an employer, it’s only natural that employees put their faith in leadership to ensure that the proper procedures are happening throughout the company. This includes situations regarding employment law and sexual discrimination in particular. You will want to trust that your employer is taking the appropriate steps when an employee comes forward with a complaint. Understanding sexual discrimination, the proper steps an employer should take when faced with a complaint, and the consequences for not taking action may be helpful to employees grappling with discrimination in the workplace.
Proper Measures by an Employer
All employers should have some procedural plan in place in the event that an employee comes to them with a harassment or discrimination complaint. This can help ensure that the company takes the proper steps to remedy the situation before it gets out of hand. When an employer provides the proper response to an employee, they may be able to take the action needed to stop discrimination. Failure to do so may result in serious consequences, especially if the employer retaliated against the employee in some way. All complaints from employees should be taken seriously. Interestly enough, even if an employer hears of harassment of discrimination through idle office chit chat, they should look into it. Here are some examples of steps and employer should take:
- Make sure all employees know the company’s policy on discrimination or harassment.
- Offer flexibility for employees to make complaints. An employee will likely not want to file a complaint to their supervisor if they have been the ones engaged in poor behavior. Give employees several different options to report a problem.
- Take all complaints seriously. Employers must investigate all complaints.
- You are not always able to maintain confidentiality when addressing such claims. In order to manage the situation, properly investigate, and remedy the problem, you may not be able to keep every aspect of the complaint confidential.
- If the discrimination is reported to you secondhand by another employer, you should still take it seriously and investigate the claim.
- Have a clear plan around how the claim will be investigated and what course of action will be taken once the investigation is complete.
- Keep clear documentation of all conversations had with those involved.
- Keep the employees up to date and ensure that retaliation in the workplace is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
- If necessary, employers should also consult with their attorney to ensure that they are managing the complaint fairly and appropriately.
- Continuously follow up with the employee who filed a complaint.
Depending on the situation an employer is faced with, they may also want to go over the company’s policy and ensure that all staff have the necessary information. Taking action in a respectful and appropriate way can make all the difference.
Consequences to Lack of Action
When an employer does not take proper measures when faced with complaint, their lack of action can have a significant impact on their company. Here are some consequences they stand to face if they behaved poorly by not taking complaints seriously or retaliating against the person who came forward:
- Poor employee morale and company culture
- Impact on the company’s reputation
- If a complaint is filed with the EEOC they may:
- Investigate the complaint
- Investigate the company’s practices surrounding all aspects of employment
- The EEOC may require you to take the following steps to resolve the situation:
- Compensate the employee for lost wages
- Give them their job back
- In addition to this, an employer may be responsible for legal fees and other forms of compensation to the employee.
- In some situations an employee may be eligible to file a lawsuit against their employer
The consequences can be vast, employers should take care in managing complaints by taking them seriously and investigating them to the fullest extent. Failure to do so may have a disastrous impact.
When faced with sexual discrimination complaint, it’s important that your employer responds accordingly. Failure to do so, may have a serious impact on their business. If you or someone you know has been sexually discriminated against in the workplace, contacting an attorney, like an employment litigation lawyer in Washington, DC from Eric Siegel Law, for their guidance may be the best way to proceed.