Retaliation is at the very top of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) hit list. Here’s what you need to know to craft an effective anti-retaliation policy.
Last year saw a record number of lawsuits filed by the EEOC. And by all early indications, this year promises to bring more of the same, says Khristine Scholtz, writing on the Smart HR Manager blog.
Scholtz recounted a presentation by attorney Jody Katz Pritikin, who spoke to a SHRM legislative conference in Washington, D.C. and outlined why it’s in employers’ best interest to do everything in their power to prevent getting hit with a retaliation clam.
HR and benefits pros already know solid documentation is a must. If an employee is terminated, the company should feel safe knowing there’s a meticulous paper trail supporting that decision.
But good documentation isn’t enough.
Employers should have a clear retaliation prevention policy in place to protect themselves.
While every company is different, there are components that should be included in all retaliation prevention policies.
Here are some essential elements of a strong retaliation prevention policy, courtesy of Pritikin:
A statement saying that the company will not tolerate retaliation by anyone
- A clear definition of retaliation, along with several specific examples of what retaliatory behavior consists of
- A complaint procedure that offers employees a number of different ways to make a complaint – that is consistent with other company procedures, and
- A list of the consequences for policy violations (that must be applied consistently).
Pritikin also advises employers not to promise confidentiality for employees who make retaliation complaints. Instead, she says it’s best if firms tell employees that any complaints will be disclosed on a “need to know” basis.
Her reason: There has to be a fair process for both the person who makes the retaliation claim and the person being accused.
So the person being of accused of retaliatory behavior needs to know who made the complaint and exactly what it entailed, in order to defend himself or herself.
Once the policy is in place, it’s a good idea to get employees and management together. Review the ins and outs of the policy, as well as what retaliation is — and what can be done to prevent it.