Sexual discrimination and harassment complaints are issues that New Jersey employers are concerned about. Such complaints lead to a whole lot of issues that can become difficult to handle. This includes tension in the workplace, investigations by federal agencies and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is often followed by lengthy and costly legal battles.
However, according to New Jersey sexual harassment lawyers, there is plenty that employers can do to reduce legal risks and deal with such complaints quickly and carefully. If not, there is always the risk of a complaint being mishandled, which could land the employer in trouble and even out of business.
Take every complaint seriously
Employers who take complaints of sexual harassment seriously, follow protocol, and implement a strict policy, can not only reduce the risk of facing a lawsuit but do much to improve the working environment and employee relations as well. It all begins with having an open mind and not ignore the fact that harassment and discrimination can take place under their noses. Some employers tend to disregard or fail to investigate a complaint, which is the first step towards trouble.
It normally only gets worse. Just Google Bill Clinton and you will see about that.
The key is to investigate every complaint no matter how minor or trivial they may seem. In addition, it is prudent to reserve any personal opinion about a complaint and not come to a conclusion until a thorough investigation is complete. No matter what, take appropriate action against the harasser once you have gathered all the information and evidence possible.
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Play a proactive role
At the outset, the complainant must be treated with respect especially since it is often difficult for employees to open up about harassment or discrimination. In most instances, employees who are targets of sexual harassment and discrimination feel vulnerable and hesitate to complain fearing retaliation.
This could have an adverse impact on their performance at work and force them to seek legal counsel outside. An employer who is understanding and takes any harassment complaint seriously is sure to find favor with the complainant who may not consider escalating the issue to the EEOC or court. What employees who are alleged victims look for is the proactive role of their employer in solving the issue.
Becoming an angry employee following a complaint won’t help either. You could end up facing claims of illegal retaliation and damage the morale of the entire workforce further. Speaking of retaliation, it is against the law to terminate, demote, order pay cuts, or resort to more subtle forms of retaliation such as reducing work hours or changing the complainant’s job responsibilities. Your New Jersey sexual harassment lawyer will let you know about this since it is clearly the wrong direction to take.
Following protocol and implementing policies
New Jersey sexual harassment lawyers suggest that an employee handbook and other documented policies must be maintained and followed. Bending the rules could only make an employer more vulnerable to lawsuits. Make sure to interview the parties involved, take notes, and gather all evidence of the complaint. If the EEOC begins their investigation it is prudent to cooperate in every aspect. However, this is also the right time to consider hiring a lawyer and an experienced investigator.
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