Retaliation in the workplace, whether imagined or not, continues to account for almost half of all employment claims filed with the EEOC. Last year, in 2015, 44.5% of the charges filed were for retaliation. In other words, a majority of disgruntled employees claim not that they were discriminated against, but that they received adverse treatment for reporting violations, including discrimination.
That leads us to our next issue… Whistleblowers. If your company is up against any type of claim for retaliation, it may be helpful to understand the mindset of the typical whistleblower. According to recent research, the type of culture you create within your company can have an impact on the number of retaliation claims you have to face each year. And I’ll give you a hint as to one of the most important characteristics to foster in a workplace environment: loyalty.
With loyalty in mind, it is important to cultivate an open workplace where criticism is accepted. Instead of merely allowing a whistleblower to come forward without the fear of reprisal (which, in itself, is a positive and necessary employment policy to have in place), companies might focus on building the kind of community that values constructive dissent while maintaining group loyalty. Encourage your employees to provide feedback with the understanding that what they say won’t be used against them down the road.
In order to reduce workplace retaliation claims, take a look at your corporate policies and procedures. Discuss best practices with experienced legal counsel to ensure that all potential legal issues are soundly addressed.
For more information on how to deal with relation in the workplace, contact business attorney Drew E. Pomerance today.