Over the last several years there has been a lot of focus on sexual harassment and employment discrimination in America’s workplaces. The problems are serious and widespread. But not every claim of harassment or discrimination is worthy of legal action. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your company won’t face one of these meritless claims. That’s why you need to be prepared to avoid these issues as much as possible and aggressively confront allegations of harassment and discrimination if they’re ever made against you.
Avoiding harassment and discrimination from an employer’s point-of-view
The best way to succeed in defending against harassment and discrimination claims is to never face them in the first place. There’s a lot that you can do to try to avoid these problems. Your employee handbook and your company’s written policies, for example, should identify non-discriminatory practices that must be followed and inform workers that sexual harassment is illegal and won’t be accepted. You can train your employees on a consistent basis regarding these issues so that they know how to avoid harassing and discriminatory behaviors, and they know how to report such behaviors if they see it.
Defending your company in court
When preventative measures are unsuccessful in avoiding litigation you’ll need to craft a defense that tackles the matter head-on. In many instances, employees who have been fired or demoted have simply received a negative employment action because of their performance, not because of their status in a protected class or any harassing behavior. In other words, if you can point to an alternative justification for the action outside of harassment or discrimination, then you’re likely to succeed on your claim.
You might also be accused of discriminately applying otherwise neutral policies and practices. This is known as having a disparate impact. Here, you might be able to show that the policies further a legitimate business interest and are necessary for the position in question. Just be sure to analyze any non-discriminatory alternatives that might be at your disposal, as an employee could still succeed on a claim if they can show that you failed to consider and implement such alternatives.
Have an ally on your side
With all of the media attention that’s given to sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, it can be easy to feel like you’re being treated like you’re guilty of something before the case really even begins. That’s why you need an advocate on your side who will work hard to set the record straight and give you the aggressive defense that your business needs. These advocates can be found in experienced and proven law firms like ours.