Learning & Development

Retaliation Lawsuits? Not If You Follow These Rules

Yesterday’s Advisor covered how HR can take a proactive role in preventing retaliation. Today, our expert gives tips for ending retaliation, and we introduce a unique lawsuit prevention program..

Our expert is attorney Judith A. Moldover, from the New York City office of law firm Ford and Harrison LLP. Her comments were made at the Legal and Legislative Conference of HRNY, the New York City chapter of SHRM.

Here are her tips on how to systematically eliminate—or at least limit—retaliation in your organization.

• Focus your energy. Prohibit retaliation in policy and practice with strongly-worded statements and actions, and discuss it in training sessions.

• Warn managers. Managers have all been to sexual harassment programs, but many have no clue about retaliation, says Moldover. So as soon as a complaint is made or a charge filed, start guiding the manager involved.

• Limit knowledge. Limit knowledge of complaints to those with a need to know. Do not put complaint and charge information in widely distributed documents, do not include it in conversations, and do not discuss it at staff meetings. Why? You want your managers to be able to say, I didn’t know about the claim, so I couldn’t have been retaliating.

•Watch co-workers. Co-workers can get really angry at the person who complained. They might believe that the complaint reflects badly on their department, or they may have lost out on some form of bonus. They can make the complaining employee’s life miserable.

• Communicate with supervisors. Communicate constantly with the complainant’s supervisor, says Moldover. Do not, however, communicate by e-mail, she says. Call or stop by.

Step-by-Step After a Complaint

When an employee files a charge or engages in other protected activity, here are some additional steps to take:
    1. Debrief the employee’s current and past managers immediately.
    2. Assess the supervisor’s knowledge of the employee’s “hot buttons.”
    3. Review any action affecting the employee before it is taken.
    4. Review subsequent employee evaluations before they are made official and shared with the employee.
    5. Assess the legal risk and other factors before taking action.

Easy Trainer: Hiring, Discipline & Termination is 10 supervisor training programs for the cost of 1. Try it at no cost. Click for details.

A Program to Train Supervisors in All Key Areas

The main message from Moldover is simple; the stakes are too high to leave supervisors on their own to deal with such dicey issues as retaliation, documentation, discipline, hiring, leaves, and firing. They need training now, but who has the time and the money?

We asked our editors to recommend a BLR program to meet these needs, and they came up with a real prize– the popular PowerPoint® program, Easy Trainer: Hiring, Discipline & Termination It teaches management essentials and a whole lot more.

First, let us give you a sampling with some of the points supervisors learn about hiring. Then we’ll get to the “whole lot more”:

Job Descriptions. Every hire needs to be preceded by a legally drawn job description. These days, that means separately listing the essential skills of the job to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws.

Job Advertising. Job ads should focus on essential skills and avoid use of terms that refer to gender, such as “repairman” or “saleswoman.”  Educational requirements should be job-related and no more stringent than the job requires.

Interviews. Questions should be job-related and must not intrude into protected areas including age, race, marital status, national origin, and disability or health condition.

Documentation.  Keep all documents for at least a year, not only for the hire but also for all applicants.

Try Easy Trainer: Hiring, Discipline & Termination at no cost for 30 days!  We even pay return postage.  Click for info

The “more” we mentioned above, comes in the fact that the PowerPoint on legal hiring is just one of 10 PowerPoint programs on the CD that follow the entire employment “life cycle” from first day on the job to last. 

These include new employee orientation, effective performance appraisal, progressive discipline, documentation, and lawfully done termination. There are modules on managing change and reducing turnover, too. There are, in fact, 10 programs for the price of one. And all can easily be customized with your company’s specifics or used as is, right out of the box. 

Daily Advisor has arranged for our subscribers to try the program at no cost for 30 days. We recommend you do so.  Click the links below to see program samples, and to request your no-cost, no-risk trial.

Download multiple slide sample
Download speaker notes sample
Download topic list

Request no-cost, no-risk trial