Category Archives: Harassment

Reason #13 – How to Communicate with Credibility

Would you believe this is a picture of me?

Empowerment | Communication | LeadershipJackie Bailey | Emerald City Consulting

This is me today.

In my book, SELF Centered Leadership: Becoming Influential, Intentional and Exceptional, I relate a story which took place many years ago.  I was in disguise and dressed like am I in the top picture above.

The experience I had was interesting, and fraught with lessons.

Spoiler alert – the police were dispatched! 

Read my book to learn how my story – and YOUR story – teaches you how to communicate with credibility.

Have YOU ever been treated differently because of how you looked???

If you’ve missed any of the 30 reasons to read my book, they are listed here…..

Reason #30 – You’ll learn to prepare for and survive an ODYSSEY!

Reason #29 – You’ll learn how to spot IMITATIONS everywhere!

Reason #28 – I’ll show you an APP to help you make tough decisions

Reason #27 – I’ll introduce the Three P’s of Empowerment and how to apply them in your life

Reason #26 – Wanna overcome regret?  I show you how!

Reason #25 – I will illustrate how YOU can be heroic in your leadership!

Reason #24 – You’ll learn my one-word definition for leadership

Reason #23Friendship can sting.  I’ll tell you what I mean when I introduce you to Lexi and Debbie.

Reason #22 – You’ll learn how to be EXCEPTIONAL!

Reason #21 – You will know how to rise to the top of your fishbowl.  Didn’t know you were in a fishbowl?  Well….you are.

Reason #20 – You will learn how to EMPOWER your life, your love, and your actions!

Reason #19 – Love can be hazardous.  I teach you how to LOVE in a SAFE way.

Reason #18 – My book makes a great stocking stuffer for anyone 12 and up!

Reason #17 – You’ll be surprised to learn the 10 ways you influence others constantly!

Reason #16 – You’ll learn to have charitable, brotherly love year round

Reason #15 – You’ll learn the fishy art of caring for goldfish, and how to navigate your own fishbowl.

Reason #14 – Learn to prepare for winter conditions

 

Protect Your Assets from The Liability MONSTER!

When most business owners think about protecting the asset value of their business, thoughts naturally revolve around insurance:

  • Malpractice (in the case of healthcare)

  • General liability

  • Workers’ compensation

Each of these has a specific purpose and, therefore, provides coverage for specific issues, but…. 


Is this enough to protect your retirement?

Today there is a BIG LIABILITY MONSTER that now represents an even greater risk to you.

This MONSTER is the risk and liability associated with lack of employment compliance.  This MONSTER is putting businesses in financial jeopardy, perhaps even more than you may realize.  Malpractice, liability and workers’ compensation insurance will be of no help to you.


You may have a strategy to minimize your risks.  These strategies may include:

• “At-will” prerogative

• Incorporation

• Arbitration

• The very popular “just don’t put anything in writing”

Employers unknowingly undermine “at-will” by creating contracts with their employees that take away the flexibility to discharge “at-will.”  Language such as…

  • Probationary period

  • Permanent employee status

  • Long-term employee

  • Career employee

  • Tenure

….both verbally or in writing, may create a contract and undermine “at-will” prerogatives.

 Incorporating, whether that be PC, LLC, S, or C, is designed to separate you and your personal assets from those of the business entity. Unfortunately, the “line” between you and your corporation is commonly blurred (auto expenses, vacations, supplies), making it easy for an attorney to “pierce the corporate veil” and join you personally with your corporation.


The advent of arbitration for resolving disputes was an attempt to solve problems in a more amicable manner, and without the protracted legal expense involved to fight claims such as wrongful discharge, discrimination, harassment, and the like.  One mistake that employers make regarding arbitration is thinking that it covers all disputes, which it doesn’t.  The Supreme Court has upheld the EEOC’s right to pursue victim-specific judicial relief, even when an employee has agreed to submit discrimination disputes to arbitration.  Thus today it appears that arbitration doesn’t fully protect you anymore.


The “Just Don’t Put Anything in Writing” idea is a huge mistake.  Unwritten policies can often result in inconsistent treatment of employees, which can lead to charges of discrimination. In this situation, employees begin questioning why others received something different, in most cases more beneficial, than they did. When they cannot conclude that the inconsistent treatment was based on legitimate reasons, they conclude it had to be based on discrimination and may think the remedy is to file a claim against the employer.  A court or a government agency will generally expect the employer to have a personnel policy manual in place and will request, among other information and documentation, to review it.

DON’T LET THE LIABILITY MONSTER EAT YOUR PROFITS!  PROTECT YOURSELF BY APPLYING PROPER EMPLOYMENT COMPLIANCE PRINCIPLES INTO YOUR BUSINESS!


Download the entire article referenced in this post by Bent Ericksen & Associates.

Protecting Assets part 1
Protecting Assets part 2
Protecting Assets part 3

HR Thursday: Step 5 to Prevent Harassment Claims

Tim Twigg is the President of Bent Ericksen & Associates, and Rebecca Crane is a human resource compliance consultant with Bent Ericksen & Associates.  In March of 2010 these two wrote an article titled “Harassment: avoiding the nightmare“.

The last several Thursday’s on this very blog, I have been giving you snippets of information from this article.  I have whittled down for you the most vital information you need to know to protect the investment you’ve made in your business.

I have worked through each step of prevention with you:
Step 1: Provide written policy and regular communication
Step 2: Provide antiharassment training
Step 3: Investigate complaints
Step 4: Take necessary disciplinary action

Today, Step 5 is: Follow up!

When a complaint has been brought before you, even if each of the preceding steps have been accomplished, you’re still not done.  You must respond to the employee making the complaint regarding the findings and resolutions.  Periodically follow up with the victim to ensure that the harassment has stopped, the remedy was effective, and no retaliation has taken place.

Avoiding harassment charges is primarily addressed through prevention.  Make sure employees are aware of your policy and procedures, and act when necessary to stop inappropriate conduct. 

Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane will tell you that the benefits of doing all of the above are:

  • A more harmonious work environment
  • Better job performance
  • Less turnover
  • More profit

I’m sure that’s exactly what YOU want!

HR Thursday: Step 4 in Preventing Harassment


 

One of the fastest growing areas of Employment Law Compliance issues is harassment claims.  Prevention is the key to avoiding harassment in your Healthcare practice or business.  If left unaddressed, these issues will only get worse.

The first 3 steps toward prevention of harassment claims (review here 1, 2, 3):

  1. A written harassment policy
  2. Antiharassment training
  3. Investigation

The 4th step in preventing the nightmare of harassment is:
Take Necessary Disciplinary Action.

Last week I included a video that played out the events of a harassment claim in the workplace.  If you missed what happened between Tom and Wendy as investigated by Ralph, then you’re welcome to view it here Harassment in the workplace part 1

At the end of part 1, Stan asks Ralph, “What would you do differently if you had to do it again?” in regard to the investigation, action, and outcome of the claim.

You can find the answer by watching Harassment in the Workplace part 2 where Stan relates a time when he had to take disciplinary action against Paul and Ed.  watch now  

If a harassment case is determined to be valid, you must take immediate and appropriate corrective action.  This means taking “action reasonably calculated to end the harassment” and keep it from recurring.

How severe does the discipline need to be?  The answer is determined by several factors:

  • How serious was the offense?
  • What was the nature of the offense?
  • Is it a repeated behavior?

Examples of corrective action are:

  • Apology to the victim
  • Verbal/written warning
  • Demotion
  • Counseling
  • Training
  • Suspension
  • Termination

Take necessary disciplinary action quickly.  Waiting only puts you at risk.

Tune in next week to learn Step 5!  Same blog time, same blog channel!

HR Thursday: When other priorities takes a backseat!

For the last few weeks I’ve been blogging about avoiding the nightmare of harassment claims in your practice/business.  The first two steps to doing this have been: 1. Providing written policy and regular communication, and 2. Provide antiharrassment training.

Step 3 is investigate complaints:

Timing is everything!  The longer an employer waits to investigate a complaint of harassment, the more it may say, “this isn’t serious” to the employee. 




Investigating a harassment claim is your FIRST priority.  EVERYTHING else takes a backseat.  Furthermore, taking quick action will prevent your liability from increasing. How?  Slow action could be making the employee vulnerable to more attacks.

However, unless you as an employer can be truly unbiased as an investigator, then you should hire a third-party to do the investigating.  The objective is to gather information, including looking at the following documents:

  • Payroll records
  • Job assignments
  • Working hours

You, or the investigator will also have to interview:

  • The accused
  • The victim
  • Witnesses
  • Anyone who knows about the incident

When conducting interviews:

  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Tell the version of the story as you know it, and then document their agreement/disagreement
  • Compile written and signed statements
  • Ask for additional information that is remembered after the interview
  • Keep findings confidential, and ask others to do the same

The investigator will keep detailed records of interviews and ALL relevant information.  He/she will prepare a final report including the steps taken and the conclusion of the claim.  This information will then be kept in a confidential file.

For an example of an investigation that wasn’t handled so well  Watch this VIDEO NOW

Next week is step 4, including part 2 of the video you just watched.  Have a great week navigating your fishbowl!

Step 2 in Avoiding the Nightmare of Harassment

Last weeks HR Thursday post presented PREVENTION STEP 1 in avoiding the nightmare of harassment claims.




If you want to prevent Harassment claims from affecting your business and your bottom line, then step 2 after providing written policy is to provide antiharassment training.  

A video on Saturday Night Live illustrates the importance of harassment training for your team members.  Watch Linsanity NOW 

Providing antiharassment training is important.  If state-mandated laws are not applicable, then the length and timing of the training will be discretionary for employers.  It is recommended that training occur upon hire for all new staff members and either annually or once every two years for current staff.

As long as the training adequately covers the important aspects of harassment and properly outlines the rules and processes at your practice, the length of the training isn’t as important; however, an effective antiharassment training program is likely to be at least one hour.

Have you conducted any antiharassment training at your place of business?  I’d love to hear about it, and so would my followers!

Tune in next week.  Same blog time, same blog channel for Step 3 of avoiding the nightmare of harassment….

HR Thursday: Dress for the Weather

If you want to avoid the nightmare of harassment claims in your business, then you must DRESS FOR THE WEATHER! 

Watch this VIDEO to understand what I mean…

PREVENTION, STEP 1:  Provide written policy and regular communication. 

A well-written harassment policy should do the following:

  • Define what constitutes harassment (you learned that on this very blog a few weeks ago)

  • Explicitly state that “harassment of any kind will not be tolerated

  • Outline reporting channels and methods, and insist employees report any harassment concern

  • Assure employees that a complaint will be treated as confidentially as possible

  • Notify staff that investigations will be initiated upon receiving a complaint to determine its validity

  • Inform staff that appropriate disciplinary action, which may include discharge, will be taken against any guilty offenders

This policy should be:

  1.  Included in your policy manual

  2. Covered in orientation programs for new hires

  3. Redistributed at least annually for continued emphasis

  4. Referenced during antiharassment training programs (at a minimum)

Taking these steps will ensure that all employees know or should know the policy and procedure at your business.  Don’t just issue the policy once and never revisit it.  Ongoing communication is vital, and may possibly save you a lot of money!

Have you ever paid the price for NOT being prepared?

All of the facts and stats on todays post are taken from a 2010 article in Dental Economics by Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane of  Bent Ericksen & Associates 

Harassment: How NOT to become TOAST!


HARASSMENT LIABILITY STEMS FROM LACK OF PREVENTION OR ACTION FROM THE EMPLOYER



Last weeks post (Click here to read) was a lesson in the two types of harassment issues that you as an employer are most likely to deal with:

  1. Hostile work environment
  2. Quid pro quo

Those two forms of harassment were defined and described for you.  In the event that a claim is brought against you (the employer), two aspects will be reviewed to determine your liability.

1. Did the affected employee issue a complaint of harassment and then suffer a “tangible employment action” soon thereafter?
2. In the event of no tangible employment action, are you able to present an “affirmative defense”?

A tangible employment action may be any of the following:

  • Denying a raise
  • Termination of employment
  • Denying access to training
  • Demotion

Bottom line, if the complaining employee suffered a tangible employment action, you as the employer will likely be on the hook for liability because it will be viewed as retaliation.

An affirmative defense demonstrates that the employer took “reasonable care” to prohibit harassment.  Following are components of reasonable care:

  • A comprehensively written harassment policy
  • Regular communication of the policy
  • Antiharassment training
  • Investigation of complaints
  • Appropriate action taken with perpetrators when necessary
  • Periodic follow-up with the victims

If the above components are in place and the accusing employee does not avail him/herself of the proper procedures, then the employer will likely not be found liable. 


FAILURE TO ESTABLISH AN AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE AND YOU, THE EMPLOYER ARE TOAST!

Any question as to why PREVENTION is absolutely imperative?


Now that you’re ready to listen, next week’s post will include the FIRST step toward prevention, and how you can avoid the nightmare of harassment!

Tune in next Thursday, same blog time, same blog channel for HR Thursday!

All of the facts and stats on todays post are taken from a 2010 article in Dental Economics by Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane of  Bent Ericksen & Associates

HR Thursday: The Nightmare of Harassment Claims

Have a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T and watch this VIDEO before reading any further….

How can you keep a harassment claim from happening to you?  PREVENTION IS THE KEY.  Employers often find themselves in these situations because they didn’t take the necessary steps to prevent harassment from occurring, or stop the behavior when it happens.


Understanding Harassment.  Most harassment claims generally take one of two forms:

  1. Hostile work environment
  2. Quid pro quo

Most harassment allegations fall under the “hostile work environment” category.  This is typically defined as “conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment”.

Hostile environment harassment can include, but is not limited to:

  • Indecent propositions

  • Inappropriate discussion of sexual activities

  • Obscene or discriminatory jokes

  • Displaying sexually suggestive or racial pictures

  • Crude and offensive language

  • Ethnic slurs

  • Pranks

  • Negative stereotyping

These situations rise to the level of harassment when it is severe and pervasive and the employee feels offended, intimidated, or fearful as a result of another person’s action.


The other type of harassment is referred to as quid pro quo.  This type of harassment is alleged less frequently, and occurs when an individual is asked to submit to sexual conduct and perceives his/her job is conditioned on compliance.  Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute “quid pro quo” harassment when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment

  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual

  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment

LIABILITY STEMS FROM LACK OF PREVENTION OR ACTION FROM THE EMPLOYER

All of the facts and stats on todays post are taken from a 2010 article in Dental Economics by Tim Twigg and Rebecca Crane of  Bent Ericksen & Associates

HR Thursday in the next few weeks will focus on what you as an employer can do to prevent a claim against you.


Tune in next week for another HR Thursday!  Same blog time, same blog channel.  

And don’t forget to have a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T while you’re navigating your fishbowl!