When you began your business here in New Orleans, you knew you would hire employees. You may have found out quickly that, no matter how hard you try, it is nearly impossible to predict how an individual will really work out as an employee.
As you readied your business for employees, you created an anti-discrimination policy since you would not tolerate that type of behavior in your company. However, problems may arise if your policy fails to adequately protect your company and your employees.
Does your anti-discrimination policy work?
In order to make sure your policy complies with current law, it will be necessary to review those that apply to discrimination. This includes not just federal laws governing this issue but state laws as well. In addition, a good policy should contain the following elements:
- A purpose: Your policy needs to begin with its purpose, which contains an explanation of your company’s stance on the issue, that your company will not tolerate discrimination and that the company fosters a work environment free of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
- A definition: Include a concise definition of discrimination. Some examples may help everyone understand how the definition would apply to certain actions and behaviors.
- A reporting procedure: Finally, your policy will need to include a way for employees to report discrimination, who specifically to report it to, the investigative process and the repercussions to employees found to have discriminated against someone.
In order to make it clear that everyone has read the policy and had the opportunity to obtain clarification of it, the final page should contain an acknowledgement of the receipt of the policy and the agreement to follow it.
Before you distribute your anti-discrimination policy
To help ensure that your policy will protect your company should an incident occur, it would greatly benefit you and your company to take it to an attorney for review. In fact, you could work with an attorney during the drafting phase as well. You can then make sure that you correct any deficiencies prior to the distribution of the policy to employees.
If an employee does allege discrimination, it would be a good idea to carefully and thoroughly document each step taken in order to correct the problem. The more documentation your company has regarding what happened and the actions taken as a result, the better off your company will be if the employee files a claim against your company.