In an article published in the Spring 2017 edition of Employment Relations Today, Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Kimberly Veirs discussed ways employers can avoid retaliation claims in her article "Avoiding Workplace Retaliation: Guidance for Employers." Workplace retaliation remains the most commonly reported complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by U.S. employees across all industries. Following a slew of these claims and high-profile court cases, the EEOC issued detailed enforcement guidance in August 2016 – its first such guidance since 1998. With workplace retaliation included as one of the commission's substantive priorities in the Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2017-2021, the EEOC remains focused on ensuring that employees and job applicants are able to challenge discrimination without fear of retribution.
The 2016 guidance addresses a number of standards for employers to consider to avoid retaliation enforcement from the EEOC. To get started, there are a number of best practices employers should adopt to legally comply, such as ensuring that any disciplinary actions are taken for legitimate, nonretaliatory reasons. To help with this, employers should have anti-retaliation policies and maintain detailed documentation on reasons for employee discipline. "Human resources departments should review this documentation regularly to ensure that supervisors and managers are addressing disciplinary issues consistently within a company," said Kimberly.
The full article, "Avoiding Workplace Retaliation: Guidance for Employers," was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Employment Relations Today and is available online or in the PDF below.