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Reducing discrimination and harassment claims

There has been a recent increase in the number of claims filed pertaining to gender discrimination and harassment. New York employers should be aware of the actions they can take to avoid these claims.

Employers may have the assumption that employees are already aware of the type of behaviors that can be classified as discriminatory or harassing. As a result, the company-wide policies related to the issue sometimes provide only general references. However, this tactic does not provide the education employees need. Policies regarding discrimination and harassment should offer real-life, specific examples of the unwanted behaviors that will not be tolerated by the employer. This can include forwarding communications that contain offensive or derogatory images, website links or jokes and constantly asking a co-worker on a date.

Employers are also obligated to ensure that employees receive the necessary training regarding harassment and discrimination. This should include the training new employees receive during orientation as well as the frequent review of the issue afterwards. Additional training is especially necessary for when there are prohibited practices or protected categories that have been revised, reinterpreted or changed.

Employees should have no fear of reporting discriminatory or harassing behaviors and should be confident that their employer will take all complaints seriously and not engage in or tolerate acts of retaliation. This requires that employers make no distinction between informal or formal complaints and that the employers consistently demonstrate that there is no tolerance for the conduct from any level of employee.

Attorneys may work to protect the rights of individuals who have been victims of employment discrimination. Complaints may be filed with the appropriate agencies. If an employer has violated an employee's rights, a lawsuit seeking compensation could be filed.

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The Law Offices of Jeffrey E. Goldman
501 Fifth Avenue
Suite 1900
New York, NY 10017

Phone: 646-835-2063
Fax: 212-949-5085
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