Helping Businesses Build a Discrimination-Free Work Environment
Federal and Florida laws prohibit businesses from basing employment decisions on a person’s gender, pregnancy, race, national origin, religion, age, disability or other trait associated with a protected class. A business should create clear, thorough policies to protect its workforce from discrimination and itself from unsubstantiated claims.
Jason Gunter has devoted 18 years of his legal practice almost exclusively to employment and labor law matters in Naples and Fort Myers. He helps businesses develop effective discrimination policies and reporting processes and, when problems arise, he guides them through EEOC administrative procedures and litigation to reach effective resolutions.
Anti-Discrimination Policies and Training
Gunterfirm suggests companies develop and implement solid anti-discrimination policies, including:
- Train supervisors and managers about avoiding discriminatory practices
- Include anti-discrimination and grievance reporting provisions in the employee handbook
- Address anti-discrimination policies during the on-boarding process and periodically in training sessions
- Thoroughly investigate complaints about discrimination and follow-up with the person who filed the grievance
- Keep records of all actions and correspondences related to the discrimination complaint
Strong anti-discrimination policies may help a business avoid a complaint, but they are not foolproof. A business needs to act immediately when a charge is filed against it to the EEOC to avail itself of all possible avenues for just resolution. Appropriate next steps after the EEOC notifies the company about the complaint may include:
- EEOC dismissal: The EEOC dismisses the complaint if it determines there is no basis for conducting an investigation.
- Mediation or settlement: Our attorney advises when voluntary settlement of the complaint is in our client’s best interests to clear up a warranted claim as efficiently and positively as possible.
- EEOC investigation of reasonable cause: An EEOC investigation usually takes about 180 days and may include a Request for Information (RFI), an on-site visit and interviews with witnesses.
- Lawsuit filed by employee: If the EEOC investigator finds no reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred, the charging party has the right to sue the business.
- Conciliation: If the EEOC finds reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred, the parties may participate in conciliation to resolve the issue.
- Lawsuit filed by EEOC: If conciliation fails, the EEOC may choose to file a lawsuit or may allow the charging party to file a lawsuit.
A lingering EEOC investigation can divert financial and time resources away from business operations, diminish workplace moral and, in some cases, even tarnish the company’s reputation and good will. Gunterfirm focuses on resolution that is the least costly, disruptive and damaging to our client’s business.
Create a Discrimination-Free Workplace
Jason Gunter is certified by the Florida Bar as an employment and labor law specialist. He has the knowledge and determination to counsel businesses about effective anti-discrimination measures and help them resolve discrimination complaints. Contact our Naples and Fort Myers discrimination lawyer by calling 239.334.7017 or contact us online to schedule your free first appointment to learn more.
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