Why Your Business Needs an Anti-Retaliation Policy in 2020

 In Human Resources

Did you know that retaliation is the most frequent of all discrimination charges filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)?

If you don’t already have an anti-retaliation policy, consider implementing one for 2020. A good anti-retaliation policy can help prevent harassment, discrimination, and intimidation in your workplace, which makes employees feel safe and valued. It will also help protect you and your company if allegations of retaliation ever arise. 

Here’s what you need to know about retaliation in the workplace, and what should be in your anti-retaliation policy.

What Is Workplace Retaliation?

Employees are often hesitant to make their concerns known when they witness or experience workplace harassment, discrimination, health and safety issues, or legal violations. The most common reason for that hesitation is the fear of retaliation.  

When an employer punishes an employee for reporting or raising these types of concerns, that’s workplace retaliation. As the EEOC explains on its website, there are many forms of retaliation. Examples of punishments that might constitute retaliation include:

  • Firing the employee
  • Demoting or disciplining them
  • Reducing pay or denying a raise
  • Restricting opportunities for promotion or training
  • Giving the employee unfair negative evaluations
  • Making an unfavorable shift reassignment 
  • Harassment
  • Verbal or physical abuse
  • Spreading false rumors

Federal laws protect employees from these kinds of retaliation and more.

workplace free from retaliation

Why Do You Need an Anti-Retaliation Policy?

An anti-retaliation policy — often formerly referred to as “whistleblower protection” — not only helps prevent workplace harassment, intimidation, discrimination, and retaliation but also protects you in the event that an employee files a retaliation lawsuit against your company.

While you’re not allowed to discourage anyone from reporting discrimination or retaliation to government agencies, a good anti-retaliation policy increases the chances that employees will feel safe reporting their concerns internally (within the company), instead of to the government. Being able to successfully stop retaliation internally is a win-win for the company and employees.

Anti-retaliation policies have numerous less tangible benefits as well. Most importantly, they make employees feel safe and supported and help you cultivate a positive workplace environment. This helps you retain your best talent and makes your company an attractive option for potential new hires.

What Should Be in Your Anti-Retaliation Policy?

A good anti-retaliation policy should do two things:

  1. Provide a plan for responding quickly and appropriately to all harassment and discrimination complaints
  2. Prohibit retaliation and offer a clear procedure for handling retaliation complaints

It’s important that your policy covers all types of discrimination complaints and that it specifies that retaliation is prohibited in all circumstances. A strong anti-retaliation policy should also  include:

  • A straightforward and confidential process for investigating complaints
  • A clear definition of what retaliation is
  • A retaliation reporting procedure (specific steps employees should take if they experience or witness retaliation)
anti-retaliation policy

How to Create an Anti-Retaliation Policy for 2020

Writing a good anti-retaliation policy is difficult. You need to be aware of both federal and local employment laws, and you need to make sure that all the relevant legal information is included in the document. At the same time, you don’t want your policy to be full of complicated legal jargon. It needs to be easy for employees to understand.

If you don’t have an HR department that has access to a legal team, consider working with a company that specializes in HR services, like Rush Recruiting & HR.

We have experience creating comprehensive, concise, and clearly written documents that contain all the necessary legal information and accurately reflect your company’s culture, mission, and values. 

Ready to jump into 2020 with an air-tight anti-retaliation policy that protects your company and employees?

Call us today at (503) 481-1285 to get started.

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