When a Massachusetts business is publicly accused of employment discrimination, it can often be damaging. Whether or not an employee’s accusations of discrimination have any validity or even result in a lawsuit being filed, the insinuation damages people’s perception of the business. To prevent this kind of bad publicity, businesses must take preventative action.
Create a discrimination-free workplace
It’s not enough to be confident that your workplace is inclusive and trust that your managers will treat everyone equally. To prevent discrimination lawsuits, you have to put your discrimination policy down on paper. Your policy should be clear about what type of behavior constitutes workplace discrimination, and it should explain that this behavior is not tolerated.
Your workplace policy may also include training to help managers recognize and address discrimination during all stages of employment. Online training programs can be an easy, inexpensive solution that can help to ensure every employee understands your policy. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you have a record of each employee training that was completed.
Have a plan to address complaints
No matter how proactive you are about your discrimination policy, when dealing with a lot of employees, you may still get a complaint. Your policy must include an avenue for reporting incidents of discrimination and a plan for addressing them. Since a majority of discrimination claims are for retaliation, the way that you handle reports of discrimination or harassment is of the utmost importance.
The time and effort that it takes to document discrimination training and incident reports is nothing compared to the hours that you would spend fighting a lawsuit. Even the littlest report of possible discrimination should be documented, just in case it leads to something larger later on.
If an employee has already filed a discrimination complaint against your business, you may want to speak with an employment law attorney. An attorney may be able to advise you on steps that you could take to prevent the lawsuit from going any further.