IDHR April 2018 Tip of the Month
Reducing the Risk of Harassment Complaints
Managers, supervisors and human resource professionals put employers at risk for lawsuits by failing to adequately respond to employee complaints and concerns. No amount of training can guarantee eliminating employee lawsuits. However, effective training -- especially for managerial employees -- can mitigate the risk. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Illinois Human Rights Act require that employers with knowledge or constructive knowledge of harassment take immediate and appropriate corrective action.
Managerial employees need to understand that once an employer makes a complaint of harassment, there is a legal obligation to take immediate action and that the matter should be referred to the person responsible for investigating, i.e. Human Resources, EEO or Legal Counsel. The parties involved should be interviewed; the discussions should be documented and discipline imposed if appropriate.
Employers should consider the following steps to prevent harassment in the workplace:
• Strongly encourage everyone in the workplace to act in a civil, respectful and professional manner;
• Create a strong anti-harassment policy;
• Train managers and all other employees on the policy;
• Establish a process for reporting, investigating and resolving complaints;
• Address all complaints seriously, promptly and confidentially;
• Train supervisors and managers to promptly and properly handle situations in the workplace, regardless of whether a formal complaint has been filed;
• Conduct periodic employee attitude surveys to determine if harassment is occurring but not being reported.
For more information on how to reduce your organization's risk of lawsuits based on Harassment, Sexual Harassment or Retaliation, register for training with the Illinois Department of Human Rights’ Institute for Training and Development. Visit our websites at www.illinois.gov/dhr/training or www.IDHR.Training.eventbrite.com.
The Illinois Department of Human Rights' Training Institute offers a variety of trainings centered on reducing friction in the workplace by learning to communicate effectively.
View our full training schedule and register!
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