In an ideal world, no one would have to deal with harassment or discrimination in the workplace. However, there will likely come a time when many employers will need to address employee concerns with either harassment, discrimination, or both, in the workplace. Employers should be prepared to proactively deal with these types of situations. To efficiently and effectively address employee reports of inappropriate behavior, employers should educate employees and implement a reliable reporting system.
Regardless of whether the situation was intentional or not, everyone involved in a report of inappropriate behavior in the workplace needs to understand and see that their employer is attentive to the issue. When you have an effective system for employees to report harassment or discrimination, they will feel safer going to work and reporting future issues.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind as you develop your reporting system:
Training is Key
The training an employer provides to its staff relating to harassment and discrimination, and more specifically, how to report an incident, is key in cultivating an efficient and reliable system. Employees must understand and be trained clearly on what types of incidents should be reported and exactly how to create a report.
Often, employers do not find out about an incident until it has escalated. Typically, when an incident has a chance to get out of hand, it is because employees thought it was too minor to report earlier. In cases like these, employees tend to wait until they feel like they need help, but at that point, the situation has become a crisis that is difficult to resolve. Training in the workplace will provide employees with the tools, resources, and information necessary to feel comfortable and confident in reporting incidents to management before the incidents escalate.
Create a Reliable and Consistent System
Additionally, employees need to know how the system works and what steps and actions they can expect to be taken in response to their report. When employees feel like their reports will go unacknowledged, they are less likely to make a report. In these cases, the employee is more likely to quit, confide in someone outside the workplace, or find another job if they are uncomfortable with the treatment they are receiving at work. To prevent these scenarios from becoming reality in your company or business, employers must treat every report seriously, investigate it thoroughly, and be consistent in how it is handled and resolved.
Get the Support You Need
Established more than 95 years ago, Quinlivan & Hughes ranks among the oldest and largest law practices in Central Minnesota. The full-service law firm has growing legal teams in the areas of employment law, business law, government law, insurance defense, trust and estate planning, and general litigation. Learn more at Quinlivan.com.