How to Avoid Retaliation Claims

For several years now, retaliation claims from employees in American businesses have been on the rise. According to the EEOC’s own detailed breakdown of claims released last year, retaliation was the number one claim filed with the EEOC in 2016, with a total of 42,018 (45.9 percent of all charges filed). Additionally, Professional Employer Organizations are noting that their clients have seen an uptick in EPLI claims as well.

With highly publicized sexual harassment cases in the news seemingly daily, this trend is almost guaranteed to continue. In this volatile environment, it’s more important than ever to provide managers and key decision makers with the training that prevents behaviors and actions that can result in retaliation claims that can be devastating to your organization.

Take these steps to avoid retaliation claims:

  • Start with training your managers, supervisors and team leads on what the EEOC requirements are. This training initiative should be included in the onboarding process but also done periodically through the year.
  • Include an anti-retaliation policy in your employee handbook. This portion of your handbook should also include a communication channel for the employee to report this type of issue before it escalates.
  • Take all claims seriously. Your HR-department’s internal process for handling any kind of harassment claim should be well defined. No claim should be taken lightly or dismissed. This can protect your company in the event of an EEOC claim and also, in best case scenarios, prevent the claim for escalating.
  • Follow strict procedure for taking adverse action against employees. It happens—employees may need to be fired or be subject to other types of remedial actions at work. In all cases, it’s key to have a trained HR professional review the reasons for the adverse action and ensure that it does not fall under any of the EEOC’s retaliation criteria.
  • Ensure that your HR recordkeeping system is thorough. All issues related to retaliation claims should be carefully documented. If an EEOC retaliation claim is made, these records will be invaluable.

Avoiding retaliation claims is essential to your business for many reasons. These kinds of conflicts can create distractions that decrease productivity and damage your company’s reputation, which can impact recruiting efforts. Additionally, if claims are proven, it can cost serious money in the form of back pay, front pay, punitive damages and possibly attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees and court costs.

Having a comprehensive plan in place that includes training management personnel, creating a communication channel for employees to report issues as well as documenting and following a strict procedure when an issue arises will reduce the risk of retaliation claims when adverse action is taken in the workplace.

Oasis Outsourcing, the nation’s leading Professional Employer Organization (PEO), can assist you with all your human resources needs. We specialize in providing outsourced HR services that include up-to-date training programs, onboarding and a complete range of compliance assistance related to EEOC retaliation claims.

Contact an Oasis professional today to develop a plan that will not only protect your business but help it thrive while at the same time, freeing you up to focus on what you do best, growing your bottom line.

 

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