As an employer, you come in contact with numerous individuals throughout your day. You may need to conduct interviews for new employees, interact with current employees and ensure that everyone remains on task and up to par. Of course, as an employer, you likely also have the task of handing out punishment and contending with other disciplinary actions that may prove necessary.
While you certainly believe in handling your job with the utmost professionalism, you likely have found yourself in difficult situations involving employees. Some workers may feel disgruntled over being chastised for poor performance or may simply have poor work ethic altogether that makes dealing with them more difficult. Nonetheless, you must do your job. Unfortunately, if someone does feel that you treated him or her unfairly, that employee may attempt to claim that you, a supervisor or co-worker discriminated against him or her.
While discrimination is a serious issue that runs rampant through most industries, not every claim of discriminatory actions is true. All complaints should be investigated and addressed appropriately in the event that evidence of discrimination does exist. However, if an employee or former employee makes such a claim, and you know the claim is unfounded, you may need to defend yourself and your company.
If you keep up certain best practices when it comes to interacting with your employees and ensuring that your employees treat each other respectfully, you may have a greater chance of defending against claims of discrimination. Some best practices to consider include:
- Establish policies -- Because you want everyone to remain on the same page, having policies in place that work toward discouraging and preventing workplace discrimination can help you and your employees have an understanding of rules and actions that apply to the work environment.
- Have reporting methods -- Even if you do your best to create a healthy work environment, some individuals may still feel you have treated them unfairly. You could help your workers feel safer by providing them with various methods for reporting potential acts of discrimination.
- Keep records -- If a worker does file a complaint, it may benefit you to keep that complaint on record as well as the follow up action taken to address the complaint.
- Investigate -- Investigating complaints can also help ensure that your workplace remains safe and welcoming. If a person files a complaint and it goes unaddressed, he or she may have a stronger claim of discrimination. However, if you conduct an investigation and record the outcomes of that investigation, you may have evidence to defend against such claims if no proof of mistreatment exists.
This type of evidence could help you effectively address claims of discrimination. You certainly want your employees to feel as if you are fair and understanding, but you also need to act in a professional manner. If someone does file a discrimination claim against you or your company, you may wish to find out more information on your legal options.