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Top Tips for Preventing Workplace Harassment Lawsuits

Bad behavior in the workplace, regardless of whether it is unlawful, results in less productive employees and poor morale which can lead to costly and disruptive lawsuits.  Follow these Top Tips to minimize your company’s exposure:

  • Take complaints about co-worker “skirmishes” seriously. Employees perceive “meanness” by co-workers as “harassment” and expect the employer to intervene.
  • Acceptable workplace behavior is not obvious to all employees. Employees respond well to clear expectations. Provide concrete guidelines for employees through a written Code of Conduct.  
  • Coach supervisors not to raise their voices or use inappropriate language with employees, especially during stressful situations. Employees perceive such behavior as intimidating and as creating a hostile work environment.
  • Train supervisors to treat all employees fairly. When a supervisor is perceived as playing favorites, employees question the decisions by that supervisor and attribute any of their own performance issues on not being in the favored group.
  • Many employees assume the company is “out to get them” during performance counseling and disciplinary meetings. Train supervisors to remain objective and impartial during these sessions and to be explicit in reminding the employee that the company wants him or her to succeed. In this technological age, a supervisor should be aware that any conversation he or she is having with an employee might be recorded by the employee.

If this communication raises any questions, please contact a member of the Spencer Fane Labor & Employment Group to discuss your particular issue in greater detail.