Preventing Employee Retaliation Claims

Employee related lawsuits have been steadily increasing over the last few years. Recent media attention on vast wage gaps and the equal employment commission has led to increased awareness of workplace discrepancies. As a responsible business owner, familiarizing yourself with retaliation and how to properly manage claims can reduce Florida Employment Practices Liability.

Nolo defines retaliation as any adverse action that you or someone who works for you takes against an employee because he or she complained about harassment or discrimination. Further, a consequential negative action as a result of these situations that would discourage a claim can be considered retaliation, as well. The same source also notes that negative actions such as demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, negative evaluation, change in job assignment, or change in shift assignment can qualify as retaliation against an employee for filing a harassment suit.

While retaliation may not be intended, these circumstances occur frequently. As such, implementing preventative strategies is essential to the function of any business. In order to enforce an objective, fair workplace that allows for opportunities for improvement, consider the following.

Establish a Policy against Retaliation- Regardless of a claim activity or not, your business should clearly provide a policy on its stance on retaliation, what it consists of, and indicate the lack of tolerance for such actions. This policy should include steps that an employee can take should they feel they are being retaliated against.

Employee Communication- Validate the employee’s concerns and explain that the complaints will be taken seriously. Support their claim by guiding them through the process and work to reconcile the issue as soon as possible.

Keep it Confidential- The complaint should be kept as private as possible. The fewer people who are aware of the issue, the fewer people there are to retaliate against the employee. Provide information on a need to know basis to ensure privacy and quick resolve.

Document Complaints- Written documentation tracks any complaints to can help to prevent further incidents. Experts also recommend providing a confirmation letter stating that their complaint was received and verifying the company policy against retaliation. This method is also helpful to discredit any employee who claims disciplinary retaliation action was taken against them for unrelated issues such as repetitive tardiness, poor performance, etc.

Retaliation is a serious issue and business owners should be familiar with the handling of such claims in order to reduce their own liability and ensure the success of their company. At Newman Crane, we offer a variety of business coverage solutions to safeguard each aspect of your operation. To learn more, we invite you to contact our specialists today at (407) 859-3691.