Allegations of discrimination and workplace misconduct can occur at any company at any time. Companies must address all forms of harassment, bullying, claims of discrimination, violation of work policies, and other workplace complaints. It has become increasingly clear for many companies that in order to eliminate harassment and claims of discrimination at work, it is necessary to change the work environment itself.
What does change look like? Employees want to work in a safe and supportive environment, and taking a proactive vs. reactive approach to sexual harassment, age/gender/race discrimination, and workplace misconduct is a crucial first step.
Employers want to recruit, train, and retain employees. Furthermore, it is imperative to understand that an employer’s good-faith effort to comply with Title VII’s prohibition of unlawful workplace discrimination and harassment and prevent such misconduct in the workplace may limit or eliminate potential liability for statutory punitive damages.
In addition, starting an investigation sooner rather than later gives an employer a better chance at gathering the most relevant information because as time goes on, facts get cold, memories fade, and employees leave. Employers must be ready to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation. They must also be mindful of protecting the reputation and rights of all parties involved.