Employer Creation of an Anti-Discrimination Policy
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), interprets and enforces Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination as forbidding any employment discrimination by employers against employees based upon race, color, gender, religion, sex, age, genetic information, or national origin.
WHAT AN EMPLOYER CREATED ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY SHOULD INCLUDE
Employers may be able to prevent charges by employees with the creation of formal, written policies which the employer provides to its current employees and new hires upon their commencement of employment with the company. In order to properly protect an employer from employee claims of discrimination, any policy created by the employer should state, first and foremost, that discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, disability, age, or genetic information is illegal and will not be tolerated. While this proclamation is a great start, it is by no means the end of the duties of the employer. Any written or formal anti-discrimination policy should also state that the employer will provide reasonable accommodations to any applicant or employee who may need them for medical or religious reasons as is required by either State or Federal law.
Any written or formal policy should also explain how an employee may report claims of discrimination and if possible, should designate more than one person to receive and respond to discrimination complaints or any questions that an employee may have. Such receiver of complaints should be a manager or supervisor, in addition to the Human Resources Department. The policy should also state that any employee making a complaint will in no way be punished for reporting discriminatory conduct, for participating in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit, or opposing discrimination or harassing conduct within the company. An employee should also be instructed that their confidentiality will be protected to the greatest extent possible if they choose to report discrimination in the workplace.
WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN WHEN A REPORT OF DISCRIMINATION IS MADE
Once a report of discrimination has been made, any policy adopted by the employer must require management and other employees within the Human Resources Department to respond appropriately or to report such claims to the employer representatives who have been authorized to respond. The policy should further provide for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation of all harassment and discriminatory complaints made, along with effective and corrective action, including preventative, should that become necessary after the investigation. The policy should also make all employees aware of the possible consequences for violating the non-discrimination or harassment policies put into place by the employer.
By adopting anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, an employer can provide a first line of defense against claims of discrimination brought by employees. Further, the following of such policies may likely reduce any harassment or discrimination claims that an employer may have filed against them.
If you are an employer and are faced with an employee claim of discrimination under Title VII, or are facing a claim under jurisdiction of the EEOC, contact the experienced employment law attorneys today at 203-221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com. We have the experience and knowledge you need at this critical juncture. We serve clients in both New York and Connecticut including New Canaan, Bridgeport, White Plains, and Darien.
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