Far too often when advising small business owners and people leaders I find myself hearing stories about employees reporting concerns and either a lack of any management action or insufficient recognition of the complaint’s seriousness.  Failing to understand the risks associated with your employment practices can create unnecessary liability that could have easily been prevented with the proper people leader training, practices, and policies.  Here are some considerations when listening to or learning about an employee’s concern or complaint to a people leader / member of management.

  • If the employee indicates they believe the reason for the behavior is a protected characteristic, you may have a very serious matter on your hands with a high level of risk.
  • If the employee shares they witnessed or observed something, and you ignore it because you think the issue will resolve itself, you may have a very serious matter on your hands with a high level of risk.
  • If a people leader or manager directs an employee not to discuss their workplace concerns with other employees, they may be in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, placing your business at serious risk.
  • If, without appropriate investigation, finding of facts, and determination of the risks, violations, liabilities, etc., you take action against an employee, it may be viewed as retaliation leading to serious risk and liability for your business.
  • Failing to act when a complaint is received is viewed as a bigger problem than taking action that might not have been best practice or the most effective way to address the issues raised.

Insight: Train your people leaders and workforce on expectations.  Ensure you establish a baseline understanding of your employee handbook, policies, processes, procedures, and flags or indicators that warrant discussing the matter with human resources.  Report to management and ensure the matter is properly investigated and documented.

Are employee relations matters a distraction in the workplace?  Are you spending far too much time on employee issues compared to strategically growing your business?  It is time to have a discussion about risk management of your employment practices to include gap analysis, risk assessment, training and more.  To get back on track, contact Warren Cook at TAHR Services by scheduling a free discovery call today.  We can develop a customized strategic roadmap to enhance all human resource risk management practices that will support your continued success.

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