Discriminatory Practices Prove Costly

Employee discrimination

Although your fiscal year may not begin in January, the beginning of the calendar year is a great time to review company policies and audit human resource procedures. One particular area that continues to be problematic for employers is government regulations and laws that prohibit discriminatory workplace practices. Whether intentional or inadvertent, these illegal employment practices have proven quite costly to businesses.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the government entity charged with the duty to investigate and pursue claims of discrimination in the workplace. Recently, the EEOC released its data for the previous fiscal year. The EEOC reports that in the 2016 fiscal year, approximately 97,443 charges were resolved. What were the results? The EEOC collected over $482 million for claimants. Notably, nearly 50% of claims were for workplace retaliation rather than discrimination itself.

Consider auditing your company’s Equal Opportunity Employment policy in order to avoid the costs associated with a discriminatory or retaliatory charge, avert the distraction of an investigation and enhance the diversity of your workforce.

If conducting a self-audit, ensure the policy meets the following minimum requirements:

  1. Meets compliance standards
  2. Is included in the employee handbook with a signed acknowledgment
  3. Include the acknowledgment in employee files
  4. Provide a clear path for employees to report claims
  5. Educate managers on the importance of maintaining a workplace free of discrimination to prevent retaliation
  6. Consistently follow the policy without variation

Although this list is not all-inclusive, it is a great first step in making sure that your company policies are compliant. For more information, visit their website here.

Did you know that SIA provides a free cursory audit of employee handbooks for our clients? This audit includes a review of your company’s Equal Opportunity Employment policy.

Contact us for more information.