The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law 50-years ago. Under Title VII of the act, no American can be discriminated against in the workplace because of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. With the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, no employees may be harassed or discriminated against because of their age or because of a disability, respectively. As time goes forward and equal rights extend to all Americans, you need to ensure that your business holds true to the mandates within these laws.
The reasons are two-fold: firstly, by treating all of your employees equally and protecting them from unfair treatment in the workplace, you are upholding the American ideal that all of us are created equal. Of course, there is also the financial aspect to consider. According to the Center for American Progress, American businesses lose at least $64 billion every year as a result of workplace discrimination. If you want to avoid a costly clash with employment rights attorneys and your company’s good name being dragged through the mud, there are some commonsense steps you can take to drastically reduce issues of harassment and discrimination in your workplace.
How to Protect Your Business from a Visit from Employment Lawyers
- Train Your Employees
- Adopt and Enforce Strict Policies Against Discrimination and Harassment
- Be an Ally to Your Victimized Employees
As the Association of Corporate Counsel suggests, you should make an effort to train your employees on their rights as they are expressed in the aforementioned employee laws. You’d be surprised how many times your managers and other employees violate the law without intent or malice. However, ignorance of the law won’t give you or your employees protection in a court of law. Make an effort to have your HR department educate your employees on these common issues.
For NOLO.com, few things do more for reducing the incidence of wrongful dismissal, sexual harassment, and other violations of employee laws than formulating and enforcing a strong policy against workplace discrimination and harassment. A strong policy states in no uncertain terms that you will not tolerate any illegal behavior from anyone in your employ. Further, your policy needs to state that you will take all complaints of this nature seriously.
Of course, drawing up a strong policy won’t always be enough. When it is found your employees are guilty of violating your policies, you need to be ready to take appropriate measures to fix the issues, up to and including termination.
On a related note, you need to be an ally to your employees when they complain of harassment and discrimination. As OHSInsider, a popular human resources website, suggests, acknowledging your employees’ complaints, showing compassion, and communicating what you’re doing to address the issue will improve morale, but it will also help keep your company out of court.
Don’t let your business suffer because a few bad eggs refuse to follow federally and state mandated employee laws. Neither employment attorneys nor the American public take too kindly to a business that tramples on employee laws and rights. Follow these tips, and you not only protect your business, you do the right thing as an American citizen. Refernce materials: gatewaylawyers.com