Managing Inappropriate Workplace Behavior
While some employee conduct may be uncharacteristic of a typical workplace, not all unusual behavior is illegal. However, if the behavior causes coworkers to feel uncomfortable or creates a hostile environment, lawsuits can ensue. Therefore, it’s essential for insurance agents to have a strong Employment Practices Liability Program to offer their clients and for business owners and operators to evaluate questionable complaints in the following manner:
Take Each Complaint Seriously
While some complaints may seem harmless or minor, it is critical to take each complaint seriously. Further, directors should be aware of any ongoing issues or more serious allegations that may arise from small indicative complaints.
Hopefully, an investigation will show that it was an isolated incident and the employee didn’t mean to offend anyone. However, conducting the investigation may show that the issue is more widespread and perhaps employees reporting to the same supervisor have experienced similar conduct, or that the conduct has been escalating to involve more physical contact, says Lexology.
Speak with the person directly and give them specific instructions on what was inappropriate and how to cease the action(s) immediately. Further, follow up with the person who filed the complaint to ensure the behavior has stopped. If it has not, more severe consequences must be taken against the offender, including written warnings or suspension from work.
Educate staff on proper work behavior and how to navigate inappropriate interactions. Annual training on sexual harassment will reinforce your clients’ firm stance on appropriate behavior and a comfortable workplace environment.
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