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Can certain steps help your company avoid discrimination claims?

Running a business often proves challenging in most day-to-day aspects. From handling managerial duties, to dealing with customers, to delegating tasks to employees, many chances for conflict and contention exist. Of course, you likely have experience in dealing with these types of scenarios and do your best to deal with any issues in the most professional manner possible.

As part of your professional approach, you certainly felt the need to be proactive and plan ahead for potential situations that could cause trouble within your business. However, planning for every possible issue may seem unrealistic, and even with policies and protective measures in place, you could still wind up facing a problem with a disgruntled employee or former employee.

Claims of discrimination

It is an unfortunate reality that workplace discrimination happens in various industries. While you certainly believe that such actions hold no place in your company, an employee who has faced discipline or dismissal from his or her job may feel that the actions were unjust. As a result, you and your company could wind up as the subject of a serious lawsuit.

Preventing claims

Many ways do exist that could help you avoid such claims. Some of the steps may seem simple, but even small steps could offer significant protection in the event of a legal predicament. Some best practices you may want to carry out in regard to employment termination and discipline include:

  • Keep records and documents -- Keeping track of your employees could help you have a form of record that could prove useful in the event that you must dismiss a worker for poor performance. By having documentation of performance reviews, behavioral issues or other aspects of work-related conduct, you may have a better chance of proving that you dismissed an employee due to job-related issues rather than as a discriminatory act.
  • Have policies in place -- You could also benefit from having established policies in place when it comes to expectations for worker performance, their behavior and potential disciplinary action. It can be wise to stick to these policies for all employees. If you have policies in place, but only apply the rules to certain workers, you could still face potential claims of discrimination.
  • Conducting investigations -- Before you terminate an employee or otherwise harshly discipline one, you may want to ensure that you have the right information. Conducting investigations into why the worker's performance is poor and obtaining witness statements and other evidence that he or she behaved badly on the job may help you gain tangible support for your decisions regarding actions taken.

Of course, even with best practices in place, you could still face the brunt of a dissatisfied employee. Should a legal claim for discrimination come against you and your company, you may wish to explore your options for defending against such claims.

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