At Devine Law Offices, we recommend every employer, regardless of business type or size, recognize this statutory requirement and adopt appropriate policies and protocol to protect themselves from unnecessary liability. We recognize that not every employer may be covered by these statutes. For example, the PHRA applies to employers with four or more employees. However, in our litigious climate, discrimination of any kind cannot be tolerated and may expose employers to the threat of costly litigation.
Harassment in the Workplace
An effective “zero tolerance” approach includes an effectively-written anti-harassment anti-discrimination policy combined with appropriate training at every level of the employment body. In order for your anti-harassment anti-discrimination policy to maximize available defenses, it must contain specific components, including, but not limited to, definitions of harassment or discrimination, multi-tiered level reporting opportunities, a timely investigatory process, and a process for effective address of proven transgressions. It is not enough to have a written policy. That policy should be reviewed on an annual basis to determine its applicability and effectiveness to your business needs.
The policy, even with annual review, is not enough. A comprehensive anti-harassment anti-discrimination protocol includes education, training, and process. Again, every level of the employment body must be educated and trained to recognize inappropriate behavior, the process for reporting violations, and the definition of “zero tolerance.” Supervisors and managers should receive enhanced training that helps to develop an appropriate reporting and investigatory procedure. Commitment to timely investigation and appropriate documentation of all findings is imperative.