As with most human resources issues, avoiding the problem is always better than dealing with the repercussions once something happens. However, many recommend that employers look into Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) to protect them from claims filed for wrongful acts in the employment process.
In a five-year analysis of statistics from fiscal years 2009 to 2013, 486,285 individual discrimination charges were filed, according to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission. The most frequent complaints are related to Civil Rights Act Title VII retaliation based on race, sex, age and disability discrimination. Most discrimination claims result from terminations, but can also develop from the hiring process and adverse actions involving employees.
Some common best practices for employers:
- Pay close attention to EEOC hiring rulings, especially those related to credit reports and history, criminal background and screening and selection tools. These tools can create discriminatory circumstances if they don’t reflect job or business relevance.
- Distribute a written discrimination policy and obtain employees’ signatures. It should outline procedures and how to address complaints. Companies should post the corporate EEO statement.
- Establish anti-discrimination policies and procedures, particularly training, reporting, employee manuals and social media guidelines.
- Institute strategies that foster successful relationships and outline corrective action processes for resolving problems.
- Define and document issues, concerns and expectations for employees. Propose and describe corrective action as well as consequences if expectations are not met.
- Regardless of “at will” employment laws, document issues and the reason for termination.
- Never retaliate and always take issues seriously by conducting an investigation. Failing to do so often amps up the desire to file a claim.
- Use Employment Services (many are free with your EPLI policy) to review your practices.
In the long run, being prepared is always better than being surprised. Understanding what might create a situation that leads to a complaint and then putting the proper procedures in place to avoid the situation is the best route for any employer.
Source: EEOC and FrankCrum