Personally, I found the January 6, 2021 attack on our nation’s government jarring, disgusting, and terrifying all at the same time. From speaking with clients, colleagues, and friends, I know that I am not alone. Many employees likely came to work (virtually or on-site) the next day unable to concentrate and fearful for the future.
From an employment law perspective, there is no “magic bullet” for dealing with this heavy issue. That being said, there are efforts that employers can take to provide protection and assurances to employees at the most basic level.
Consider the following tips:
- Create or reemphasize a workplace violence policy. Workplace violence policies generally prohibit threats, weapons, and hateful language. With many of us working virtually, adding language prohibiting cyberbullying can be effective. From a liability perspective, workplace violence policies with a clear method for reporting violent acts or threats reduce the likelihood of litigation (or the strength of related claims).
- Create or reemphasize an anti-discrimination policy. Discrimination is illegal. That being said, many employees feel like it is a “given” because of bigotry they’ve experienced personally. Creating or resharing a policy for reporting complaints of discrimination can be a helpful reminder to employees that their workplace seeks to treat all individuals equally. Make sure that there is a reporting process in your policy for claims of discrimination. This provides protection to both the employee and employer.
- Talk about your efforts. Publishing policies without discussion is rarely effective. Consider hosting a meeting or training to emphasize your commitment to safety and non-discrimination, as well as your reporting processes. Opening the lines of communication is an excellent way to prevent issues down the line.
Feel free to reach out to me to discuss your organization’s workplace violence and non-discrimination policies. Stay safe.
ABOUT THEODORA STRINGHAM
firstname.lastname@example.org | 703-745-1849
Theodora Stringham assists individuals, businesses, and organizations with growing successfully while minimizing liability. Focusing on real estate and personnel needs, Ms. Stringham executes sustainable plans for real estate development and employee matters. She provides comprehensive representation for everyday growth issues, including, but not limited to, re-zonings, site plan approvals, eminent domain/valuation concerns, employment discrimination, and disciplinary issues. Ms. Stringham’s scope of representation ranges from identifying potential liability and providing counseling/trainings, all the way through representation at trial.
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