Addressing Harassment & Discrimination in the Workplace

Even with precautions in place and comprehensive Employment Practices Insurance, your clients may still need advice on how to address harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Although it may be tempting for some employers to assume that these issues will not become a problem in their company or will be dealt with easily, actively addressing them and taking steps to prevent them is the best way to ensure a fair and safe workplace for all employees. Here are the essentials that your clients should understand.

Understand What Falls Under ‘Harassment’ and ‘Discrimination’

Although the two may sound somewhat similar, harassment and discrimination in the workplace are not the same. While harassment generally involves constantly bothersome behavior towards a given employee, discrimination can involve unfair treatment based on group belonging. Here are some common types of harassment your clients should be aware of.

  • Persistent or recurring harassing behavior towards an employee
  • Verbal abuse and harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Physical or retaliatory harassment
  • Cyberbullying

Additionally, it’s imperative that your clients understand that there is not simply one type of discrimination. In fact, discrimination acts as a general umbrella term that can cover several types of behavior. Some of the main types to actively address and work against include the following.

  • Unfair and even illegal treatment based on membership of a given protected group
  • Age-based discrimination
  • Religion-based discrimination
  • Disability-based discrimination, whether physical or mental
  • Race-based discrimination
  • Pregnancy-related discrimination
  • Sex-based discrimination

Set Clear Workplace Rules and Boundaries, and Conduct Regular Training

To ensure that all employees feel safe and are treated fairly, it’s imperative that your clients set clear boundaries and rules for their workplace. Additionally, they may need to conduct frequent training to get all employees up to speed on the policies. Your clients should:

  • Establish clear company policies outlining examples of harassment and discrimination
  • Ensure rules are accessible and clear to all employees
  • Equip the Human Resources department to deal with reports and complaints of harassment or discrimination quickly and efficiently
  • Ensure the company is complying with all relevant harassment and discrimination laws
  • Conduct regular employee training
  • Consider making different types of harassment or discrimination immediately fireable offenses
  • Encourage quick reporting of questionable incidents

Create a Safe and Supportive Workplace Atmosphere

Above all, your client’s company culture should foster a supportive atmosphere for all. Simply putting precautions in place is not enough. To promote a tolerant, safe atmosphere, your clients may want to:

  • Express support for those who may have been victims of harassment or discrimination
  • Consider establishing a zero-tolerance policy
  • Give leave allowances to workers who may need to take time off of work for legal reasons relating to harassment or discrimination litigation.

To avoid an Employment Practices Insurance lawsuit and reputational damage, your clients must do their part to prevent and address workplace discrimination and harassment. With this advice, they can help foster a safe and productive environment.

About Mavon Insurance

At Mavon Insurance, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to insurance. We focus on integrity, communication, professionalism, respect and gratitude to help our clients succeed and place business in specialized markets. For more information about our products, or to become an agent, contact us today at (855) 248-1480.