When it comes to handling employee complaints of unfair treatment, you'd better have a policy and a procedure in place to handle retaliation claims.
That's the $520,000 message a federal court recently sent an employer who wasn't prepared to handle retaliation complaints.
Recent case: Attorney Dawn Gallina complained to her law firm's partners that, since she'd had a child, her supervisor had begun questioning her commitment to the firm and treating her differently from the law practice's male attorneys. When she complained to the firm's partners, they simply urged her not to file a harassment complaint. Eventually, the firm fired Gallina for.
She sued, citing retaliation, and won $520,000 in compensatory damages and back pay. (Gallina v. Mintz, Levin et al., No. 03-1883, 4th Cir., 2005) Key point: The court noted that the law firm had a sexual harassment policy and contact person, but no policy or contact person regarding retaliation complaints.
4 elements of an effective policy
Avoid a similar fate by ensuring that you have an anti-retaliation policy that contains:
1. A statement declaring that the organization will not tolerate unlawful retaliation.
2. A description of your internal reporting procedures, similar to those in your anti-harassment policy.
3. A description of an "alternative channel" that employees can use to report complaints against direct supervisors.
4. A promise to investigate each complaint and communicate an appropriate response to the complaining employee.
Act, don't react
Also: Don't sit back and wait for employees to raise the retaliation red flag. You and the organization's supervisors should ask enough questions after an employee complains of harassment to head off, or at least identify, any retaliation hot spots before they erupt into full-blown lawsuits.
Start building a "nonretaliation" record right after you receive a harassment or other complaint. How? Give complaining employees a copy of your anti-retaliation policy (even if they already have a copy of your employee handbook) and review it together. Do the same with supervisors who manage those employees.
Reassure employees that you take the policy seriously. Urge them to come to you if they sense any retaliation. Document your actions.
Don't risk being taught a $520,000 lesson.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/234/will-your-anti-retaliation-policy-pay-off "
- Moody's predicts N.C. job loss in 2009, recovery in 2010
- USERRA protects those who left military years ago, too
- Use telecommuters? Defuse 5 main lawsuit threats
- Quick application of anti-harassment policy cuts liability--even in highly charged race cases
- Title VII doesn't cover retaliation for OSHA complaints