Your employees act as an integral part of your company. After all, you likely could not carry out all the necessary tasks that make your business successful without them. Because they play such a pivotal role in your operations, you certainly want to ensure that all of your employees feel as if they are part of a team and add value to your business.
While you may not have the chance to interact every one of your employees on a daily basis and likely delegate supervisory and managerial duties to other parties, you still have a responsibility to ensure that the workplace remains welcoming. If certain workers begin to feel that they are being mistreated, you could face claims of discrimination, harassment or other negative actions. However, you can take steps to proactively work toward a healthy work environment.
Creating a hostile environment
Because many people come in as entry-level workers in most industries, they may not fully understand what actions are not be appropriate for the workplace. Even some parties in higher-up positions may think certain comments or jokes do not pose issues. However, if inappropriate actions and words continue to permeate the workplace on a consistent basis, the environment could become hostile for your workers. As a result, individuals may feel discouraged or even unsafe when they come to work.
At every level of employment, workers should receive training regarding what constitutes discrimination and harassment, what actions to take to report such misconduct, and the consequences for carrying out this type of behavior in the workplace. Newer employees at lower level positions could benefit from training so they understand how their behavior can impact the workplace, and supervisors and managers could use training to better understand how to recognize unacceptable behavior.
Though training is required under law, it can also help protect your business. If you end up facing claims for discrimination or harassment, evidence of employee and manager training and refresher courses could help you defend against those allegations. Additionally, any evidence and records you could provide regarding investigations into claims of discrimination or harassment and the outcomes of those investigations could go into your defense as well.
If an employee does file a claim against you or your company, you may find information on your defense options useful. By becoming more knowledgeable on documents and other evidence that may help your case, you can feel more confident moving forward. Utilizing local legal resources could help you ensure that the information you obtain is reliable.