July 2018 HR Headliner
Consistency is Key: Build Trust and Minimize Risk Through Consistent Standards for Employee Conduct
Most of the media coverage about Harvey Weinstein’s Hollywood exploits has faded, but the story still holds an important lesson for California employers. It was reported that in his employment contract with The Weinstein Co., Harvey was protected from termination when claims of sexual harassment were filed against him. All he had to do was pay a fine to the company, and business could continue as usual. The penalty payments increased for each additional offense, showing that the Board had no expectation that his risky behavior would stop.
You surely do not have this type of agreement with any of your managers or employees. But, have you ever minimized a complaint by saying “I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it”? Ever looked the other way on an employee’s inappropriate behavior because she is a top producer? Ever avoided discussing aggressive behavior because you’re uncomfortable with confrontation? These sidesteps may not be as shocking as writing sexual harassment into a contract, but they could have substantial consequences for your company.
When employees perceive that the company excuses or ignores the inappropriate behavior of certain individuals, they may be discouraged from discussing any kind of concern with management – from harassment to safety to payroll problems. A company policy promoting your “open door” is only as good as managers’ willingness to really listen and take appropriate action. If members of your management team are not confident in handling employee complaints, invest time in training and role play scenarios to ease those concerns. If there are problems with favoritism, mismatched communication styles, or simply overbooked schedules, identify those barriers and find ways to remove them.
When complaints are submitted to management or HR, a thorough investigation and appropriate remedial action are critical. Even if you don’t believe the claim has merit… even if it’s coming from the most over-sensitive person in the office… even if it is alleging wrongdoing by your best salesperson or a top executive. Conduct an impartial investigation and take timely steps to correct any wrongdoing and prevent it from occurring again. This consistent approach will demonstrate to employees that their well-being is taken seriously, and can reduce the legal risk for the organization. You’ll also avoid being the next shocking headline!
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Sexual Harassment, Abusive Conduct, and Discrimination Prevention Training
Thursday. July 26, 2018
Legal Beagle Bagel Breakfast
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information