Last week on this blog, we started a discussion on ways to create a workplace that keeps employees safe from discrimination and harassment and keeps the employer safe from claims that could spell the end of his or her company. As it's an incredibly broad subject, this week we will continue in the same vein and offer even more for keeping employees healthy and happy:
- When an incident or a complaint does happen, make sure you keep everyone's confidentiality as a high priority. Discretion is the better part of valor and that's never truer than when dealing with issues like these. The urge to gossip or complain to a co-worker or co-owner can be strong, but avoid it at all costs.
- Employees are within their legal rights when they get help from an employee rights commission or a state or federal agency. Even if you see it as a threat, trying to get in the way of it will only cause you more grief.
- Never use retaliatory actions like firing an employee, demoting an employee or taking benefits away from an employee. Those types of actions are never perceived well and can land you in hot water.
- For the accused, make sure that the punishment fits the crime. Don't be too lax, but don't overreact as well. It may take Solomon-like wisdom to do so, but those are the perils of running a business.
If you feel like you're in over your head, you may want to consider hiring an employment law attorney. He or she knows how to navigate these choppy waters and can help you handle the situation appropriately or represent you if needed.