Investigation of Workplace Claims in Alabama
Take the Right Steps When Looking at a Claim
Your actions at the outset of an investigation into any kind of workplace claim of sexual harassment, discrimination, or similar issues can have a tremendous impact on the rest of the process. Not only can you take the right steps to protect yourself and your company, but you can also ensure that the rights of those who work for you are respected and properly defended. Investigating a claim practically and without prejudice is essential to ensuring fairness in the workplace and helps keep you clear of future liability.
It is never too late to ensure you know the right techniques for investigating any kind of discrimination or harassment claim in Alabama. Get the information you need before it becomes an issue. Or, if it has already become a problem, call us today to learn more about how to take the right path during an investigation to protect yourself and your business. Call the Guster Law Firm, LLC right now at (205) 581-9777 to discuss your situation and we can offer training and mediation to help resolve the situation fairly.
Starting an Investigation
The beginning of an investigation into harassment or discrimination is, perhaps, the most important stage of the process. It can set the tone for the rest of the investigation and, if not handled properly, may open up your business for additional lawsuits or action against you. It is vital that you understand how to start an investigation and that anyone else in a managerial or leadership position also receive coaching in the right techniques for an investigation.
You must remain free from any appearance of impropriety or preferential treatment for anyone involved in a situation. That includes both the person or people accused of harassment or discrimination, as well as the accuser. Even in a relatively minor situation in which there is no stated intent to file a lawsuit, it is still very important to respect each party's rights and ensure they are heard and represented fairly. The appearance of favoritism or prejudice at the start of an investigation can ruin everything that follows it.
Investigating Harassment Claims
Sadly, there are many different types of harassment that can occur in the workplace, though sexual harassment and racism may be the most common. While inflammatory statements and insults about another person's gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation may be the most vile forms of harassment, even "jokes" and "internet memes" can constitute harassment and be just as offensive and lewd as any insult.
When a claim of harassment is made, it is very important that those who investigate these claims understand how to properly handle the situation. The person making the claim must be properly heard and action that is reasonable and appropriate should be taken immediately. Any delay or indication of ignoring the person making a claim can aggravate the situation and result in additional claims or more serious steps. You must make sure that those you place in positions of management know how to respond to a claim of harassment. Proper coaching and training can make the difference between a minor situation that ends in a disciplinary action, and a lawsuit that severely damages your company's revenue and public image.
Investigating Discrimination Claims
Discrimination can be a more insidious force at a workplace, often occurring in forms more subtle than overt harassment. Sometimes, discrimination can even occur subconsciously and someone might not even realize they are acting in an inappropriate or discriminatory way. Such actions are just as serious as harassment, and proper care needs to be taken to avoid and handle them. It is vital that your managers and leaders understand how to avoid discrimination, and what actions to take should any type of discrimination be reported to them.
Training and coaching your managers and staff in how to understand and investigate workplace discrimination and harassment not only helps protect your business from lawsuits, but it also ensures your employees have a safe, comfortable environment in which to work.
Call Guster Law Firm, LLC today at (205) 581-9777 to discuss your options and learn about the coaching and mediation available to you and your employees.