Practical Tips to Avoid Retaliation Claims by Employees
An employee might complain of retaliation if they face negative consequences after raising a workplace concern or complaint. A retaliation lawsuit might cost you a lot of money in the form of penalties, settlements, and legal fees. Use the following tips to avoid retaliation complaints from your employees.
Keep Complainants’ Identities Confidential
Some of your supervisors or managers might retaliate against an employee who paints them in a bad light. For example, an employee who complains about racial jokes in the cafeteria might face retaliatory actions from the relevant supervisor.
A good way to avoid such retaliation is to keep the employee’s identity confidential. Investigate the complaint and take appropriate action without mentioning the person responsible for the original complaint.
Keep Communication Channels Open
Let your employees know that you are accessible and that they can reach you with any information. Keeping the channels of communication open is especially useful for victims of alleged retaliation. Help the employees understand the company’s anti-retaliation policy. Encourage the alleged victims to report any negative experiences they might have in the workplace.
Explain Disciplinary Actions
Employees who face disciplinary actions sometimes claim retaliation even where retaliation doesn’t exist. Such a complaint is especially likely if an employee faces genuine disciplinary action soon after making a complaint.
In such a case, you don’t have to abandon your disciplinary policy. Rather, go the extra mile to explain to the employee why you are disciplining them. Show any documentary evidence you might have for the employee’s actions.
Watch Out for Red Flags
Some victims of retaliation might not speak up. Some people prefer to handle things on their own. Others might not speak up for fear of worsening their situations. However, retaliation is bad whether someone reports it or not.
Therefore, you should always be on the lookout for signs of retaliation in your workplace. You should be especially keen after an action that might trigger retaliation. For example, pay attention to your workplace when an employee complains about a manager or supervisor. Telltale signs of retaliation include:
- Increased scrutiny of a complainant
- Inconsistent documentation of employee conduct
- Inconsistent review of employees
Don’t jump to conclusions if you suspect something amiss. Investigate further before taking action.
Take Action If Retaliation Occurs
Employers who look the other way when retaliation occurs in their workplace encourage the vice. Take relevant action if an employee complains of retaliation. Taking action may include:
- Preserving evidence, such as emails or documents, related to the complaint
- Conducting an internal investigation
- Warning or disciplining the perpetrators as the circumstances demand
- Consulting legal counsel if necessary
Taking action will also encourage future victims to speak up.
Establish a Clear Anti-Retaliation Policy
Every company should have an anti-retaliation policy from its conception. Establish such a policy as soon as possible if you don’t have one. Your policy should have:
- A definition of what constitutes retaliation
- Actions to take (such as who to inform) on suspicion of retaliation
- Red flags that might constitute retaliation
Review and update the policy as necessary. Ensure your policy is consistent with relevant employment laws.
Provide Relevant Training
Your anti-retaliation policy might not help much if your employees don’t understand it. The people in charge, especially managers and supervisors, should especially understand how to avoid retaliation or its appearance. Provide training, for example, in the form of workshops to ensure everyone understands your anti-retaliation policy.
The above tips should help you avoid retaliation complaints. However, you have to deal with all retaliation complaints, whether they are genuine or not. Contact Mohajerian Law Corp if an employee has raised a retaliation complaint. We will review your case, advise you, and help you defend your rights.