As a business grows past a certain number of employees, it inevitably will have to make human resource (HR) rules that will govern the enterprise. Two of the most important issues that small and even large businesses may face are workplace harassment and discrimination complaints. These two issues have the ability to generate significant amounts of business litigation for companies in Georgia.
Regardless of its HR regulations, it is critical for any business to respond to any kind of harassment or discrimination claim immediately. If an employer does not at least acknowledge the complaint, it can open the company up to future lawsuits. Additionally, there are some general rules that any company may wish to follow in order to mitigate its legal exposure.
These rules include listening to the accuser and taking the complaint seriously, conducting an immediate investigation into the charges, keeping detailed notes as to the progress of the investigation, maintaining an attitude and policy of not retaliating against an employee for making a complaint, and disciplining the guilty party if necessary. It may also be beneficial to hire an outside firm to conduct any investigation, particularly when a complaint is made against a high-ranking member of the organization or if the charges are criminal. Ultimately, if any investigation uncovers illegal acts of harassment or discrimination, an employer should be in a position to either discipline the wrongdoer or proceed directly to termination.
Developing a company made up of one or two people to a company that is comprised of many can be a difficult transition. Most who make this journey in Georgia choose to partner with an employment attorney in order to assist them as they grow. Having a good relationship with an attorney in the beginning will help minimize the number of business litigation lawsuits a company has to deal with as it grows.
Source: FindLaw, "How to Handle Harassment and Discrimination Complaints", Accessed on Sept. 21, 2016