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July 2016 Archives

Avoid retaliating against a whistleblower

As an employer, you are expected to behave in a certain manner and treat employees with respect. By doing so, you are creating a work environment that people look forward to entering, but also have no complaints about. However, depending on certain circumstances, you may find yourself dealing with an employee who is considered a whistleblower because they have reported you for some type of wrongdoing.

When a person on your staff is a whistleblower, it is understandable that you may be upset or harbor ill feelings towards this person, but it is best to not act on them. One of the main reasons you do not want to retaliate against a whistleblower is because it is illegal. Whistleblowers are protected and should you decide to retaliate, they could file a claim against you and this could result in you having to pay a fine or compensate the whistleblower for their troubles.

A good example of a situation you will want to avoid is if you fire or suspend someone and they file a claim against you because they believe their termination was a retaliatory act. Of course, the courts would need proof before the employee will be compensated, but if this person was, in fact, a whistleblower, the dots may be easily connected and you may be found guilty.

Even when employers do everything they can to ensure their employees are happy, some people simply cannot be pleased. However, this doesn't mean that you should retaliate and behave in such a way that can get you in deeper trouble. Should an employee file a claim against you for retaliation, it is best to hire an attorney from Kisner Law Firm who can assist you with your case and help prove that the accusations are false.

Stopping harassment at your business

For people who dream of running their own business, their vision usually involves what type of product they'll sell, what their logo will look like or how they'll run the operation from a macro perspective. Then they get their dream and it's fulfilling, but there's a lot more that comes with it than they expected. That includes all the day-to-day minutia and dealing with potential conflicts between employees, like claims of harassment.

Harassment can take many forms:

  • Age
  • Race, sex, national origin and religion
  • Disability
  • Gender Identity
  • Criminal history
  • Political beliefs
  • Immigration status

These are just a few of the reasons an employee could claim harassment at the workplace. So how can an employer protect their employees from dealing with harassment and protect themselves from claims? Here are a few ways:

  • Refrain from including any religious or political references in the office. For instance, printing a verse on paychecks or hanging a picture of a political figure around the office could constitute harassment.
  • Don't talk about ethnicities or use racial epithets at the workplace and discourage employees from doing so.
  • Consider sensitivity training for yourself and all employees so you can create an environment of inclusiveness.

Finally, having an attorney looking after your business affairs can be invaluable. An employment law attorney can handle all of your legal paperwork, but he or she can also give you professional advice on avoiding harassment claims and help you institute programs that will create a safer working environment for everyone.

Office Location

Kisner Law Firm, LLC
Gulf Tower
707 Grant St., Suite 2646
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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Phone: 412-880-5605
Fax: 412-235-6704

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