A discrimination claim against your business may prove costly. Not only that, but it can take a significant toll on your company’s reputation and employee morale.
Because of the adverse impacts even just a single discrimination claim can have on your business, it is important that you take steps to prevent such claims from arising at all. Insureon provides practical tips for preventing discrimination claims.
Familiarize yourself with equal-opportunity employment laws
Equal opportunity employment laws exist at both the state and federal levels. Familiarize yourself with all aspects of each law that applies to your business, as a single misstep can prove costly.
Take care when devising company policies
Using your acquired knowledge — or, preferably, with the help of an experienced employment law attorney — draft policies that are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. For instance, while it is okay to ask employees to dress a certain way to promote brand awareness, it is not okay to ban attire that has religious or cultural meaning, such as saris or headscarves.
Acquaint yourself with each protected class
Both state and federal laws protect several classes of people based on everything from gender to sexual orientation, and from religion to physical or mental ability. If your actions or policies discriminate in any way — whether intentionally or unintentionally — against a person or persons of a protected class, you put yourself at risk of facing one or several discrimination claims.
Encourage and create a system for easy reporting
One of the best ways to prevent discrimination lawsuits is to create a system in which employees feel comfortable reporting issues — and in which they can easily do so. The sooner you learn about harassment or discrimination, the sooner you can take steps to nip it in the bud, which protects you in the long run. For this system to work, make it clear that you and management support them and that anti-retaliation laws exist to protect them.
The best way to protect your business if a discrimination claim does arise is via hard evidence that illustrates every hiring, firing, promotion and demotion decision you or other higher-ups ever took. This documentation should also detail consistent criteria for your decisions. Bearing this in mind, document everything and keep records in a safe place.
Protecting your business against discrimination suits is often a full-time and ongoing job. Enlist the appropriate help to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.