Do I have any understanding of the many anti-discrimination laws governing the workplace? Do I have any policies or procedures in place that will help me if I get sued by a disgruntled employee? Am I prepared for a discrimination lawsuit if it comes my way?
Good questions to answer in the affirmative. Can you also answer the following ten questions in the affirmative?
- Do I know about the relevant federal, state and local anti-discrimination laws and regulations and keep abreast of changes or do I have someone on staff who does?
- Do I have policies and procedures in place regarding hiring, workplace rules and behavior, time off, benefits, and termination?
- Are my policies and procedures in writing, kept up to date as needed, freely disseminated to all employees and vetted by knowledgeable counsel?
- Do I maintain a zero-tolerance towards any type of harassment, and does every employee know this?
- Do I set a good example for every employee by following my policies and procedures?
- Have I appointed an EEO officer for the workplace so that every employee knows who to go to if they have a complaint, and is that person trained for this task?
- Do I conduct periodic training sessions for both managers and employees so that they are sensitized to relevant workplace discrimination issues?
- Do I maintain careful and up to date records for all employees, documenting everything from attendance to complaints to performance?
- Do I know what to do if someone does complain of discrimination or harassment in order to minimize or avoid liability?
- Do I insist that everyone treat everyone else with respect and the way they themselves expect to be treated, i.e., the “golden rule?”
These are just the rudimentary questions to answer. However, if you answered “no” to any question, you better get on the stick and correct the situation before you get a knock on your office door and hear “There’s someone out here with some papers for you!”