Retaliation is now the most common charge filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), overtaking all other types of complaints filed with the commission, and accounting for 42.2 % of all EEOC cases in 2014.
With all that in mind, here is a 10-step prevention plan for employers:
・ Have a clear and unambiguous written policy forbidding any kind of retaliation by anyone, including managers and other employees.
・ Conduct periodically refresher training for managers and supervisors regarding retaliation (and harassment and discrimination).
・ Train managers on what actions are protected from retaliation and what could be considered an “adverse employment action.”
・ Have an “open door” policy for employees to report problems.
・ Establish a protocol for investigating charges of retaliation.
・ Conduct investigations promptly.
・ Keep in mind that any other employees who assist in an investigation are also protected under anti-retaliation laws.
・ Take effective remedial action.
・ Communicate the results of the investigation to the employee at issue.
・ Make sure that nothing you do dissuades employees from coming forward with complaints that they believe may be legitimate.
With a little forward thinking, retaliation claims can be avoided.