Employers must address worker claims of discrimination every time they occur. Accusations of wrongdoing spread quickly and can seriously damage a company’s reputation. They may even lead to devastating legal consequences.
Corporate heads must approach these reports judiciously. If you, as a business owner, plan on taking the correct steps, you need to recognize how to react.
Listen with open ears
Take the grievance seriously. When employees report discrimination, listen to their concerns and gather all relevant details. Create a safe and confidential environment for the person to speak frankly and without fear.
Perform an investigation
Once a complaint is on your desk, launch a thorough probe. Assign an impartial team or individual to handle the task. Be sure that all involved individuals receive interviews and that every scrap of evidence is being collected.
Take corrective action
If the inquiry does reveal evidence of discrimination, apply the appropriate action. This may involve retraining, counseling or disciplinary measures against the offending parties. Ensure that decisions are consistent with company policies and applicable laws.
Put in place anti-discrimination training
To lower the odds of future incidents, provide anti-discrimination instruction. This will help educate your workforce about acceptable behavior. Be mindful that lessons need to include concrete strategies for reducing bigotry. This is a frequent blind spot, as only 10% of unconscious bias training programs provide tips on alleviating the problem.
Review and revise employee handbooks
Periodically assess and update company policies relating to discrimination and harassment. Take the time to ensure that company rules match current laws and industry standards.
Employers bear an inherent responsibility to create a safe and inclusive workplace for all. Part of that involves responding when complaints of discrimination arise. Addressing such allegations requires a proactive, fair and honest approach.