As an employer, you will be likely covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if you have at least 15 employees. This federal law prohibits you from performing discriminatory practices against an individual on the basis of his race, color, age, national origin, gender, disability or religion. It also prohibits you from letting your employees discriminate against someone in the workplace.
Being liable in an employment discrimination case can be bad for the company's reputation and business operations. If you want to avoid being sued, you should investigate discrimination allegations right away with proper guidance from a Los Angeles discrimination attorney.
A legal expert will help you take appropriate steps in order to address the problem. Once you received a complaint, you are advised to do the following:
- Decide if you need to conduct an investigation- When an employee claimed that his co-employees discriminated against him, the first thing that you should do is to study his complaint and see if an investigation is needed. If the problem is not serious enough, a proper investigation may not be necessary. However, it is better to investigate the complaint if you feel that failure to do so can cause workplace disputes and legal problems.
- Hire an investigator- You have the right to hire an unbiased investigator who has the proper skills in investigating discrimination complaints. He will help you gather all the documents needed in the investigation and talk to the parties involved in the problem.
- Act immediately- You may need to act immediately, even prior to the investigation, if the problem can cause irreparable damage to your company. If an employee is being accused of sexual harassment, you may choose to suspend him while you are still assessing the situation. However, you should pay him while he is suspended and tell him that you have not yet reached a decision.
- Interview witnesses-Talking to the witnesses will give you a clearer picture regarding what happened. Remember, the most effective way on how to gather vital information is to interview all the people who have witnessed the instances when the discrimination occurred.
- Take appropriate action- After studying the evidence and talking to the witnesses, you will need to decide what you are going to do about the problem. If you determined that discrimination happened, necessary disciplinary actions should be taken so that you will be able to protect yourself from any liability.
A Los Angeles employment attorney will help you handle the situation by considering different factors like the seriousness of the offense and the law which covers it. In addition, he will suggest the necessary punishment that should be given to the wrongdoer.