Avoiding Employee Abuse and Discrimination Litigation With Employee Surveys

Is Your Organizations Corporate Culture an Enabler of Employee Abuse and Discrimination?

Employee abuse has many forms including verbal abuse, sexual harassment, discrimination based on age, ethnic background, gender or sexual preference, and physical abuse. Employees experiencing abuse from supervisors, managers and co-workers often are afraid to report abuse and discrimination for fear of retribution including possible loss of their job, position demotion or receiving lower pay increases.

Employee satisfaction surveys/ employee engagement surveys / employee opinion surveys are a highly effective way to determine if employee abuse and discrimination are happening in an organization of any size. Boards, business owners, senior managers and human resources managers need to know if abuse and discrimination are happening and if they are, they need to take action to eliminate the abuse and/or discrimination.

Employee surveys enable employees to provide anonymous feedback about a wide range of issues that affect their satisfaction and engagement, including abuse and discrimination in the workplace.

Some organizations have corporate cultures across the organization or in specific business units that tolerate employee abuse and discrimination. Other organizations are very clear in their stated values and in their corporate culture that employee abuse and discrimination is absolutely not acceptable and that abusive and discriminatory incidents will be dealt with quickly.

How an employee survey identifies abusive and discriminatory managers and employees:

Even in organizations that have stated values and a corporate culture that do not tolerate various forms of abuse or discrimination against employees, incidents can happen. Some managers and employees simply have abusive personalities and they can’t or choose not to stop being abusive. Some forms of abusive and discriminatory actions are highly visible while other forms are more subtle. Senior management’s view of abuse or discrimination may be quite different than what some employees experiencing these conditions are feeling.

Employees experiencing abuse or discrimination are often afraid to confront the person abusing or discriminating against them for fear of retribution. They can report abuse or discrimination to Human Resources or a senior manager, but there is always a risk that if appropriate action is not taken by HR or senior management, the abusive or discriminating person will retaliate for being identified as an abuser/discriminator.

Employee satisfaction surveys/ employee engagement surveys / employee opinion surveys enable any organization to identify employee abuse and discrimination situations and to pinpoint where in the organization the incidents are occurring. Employees are more likely to report abusive and discriminatory practices and incidents in surveys when they are confident their responses are anonymous and that they will not be identified.

Reasons to conduct employee surveys to identify and eliminate these conditions:

Employee abuse and discrimination

·are illegal

·impact employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity

·impact company image and employee retention

·are disruptive to all employees that see the abuse/discrimination happening

·litigation and compliance related fines can be very costly and embarrassing to any organization

Summary- Conducting an employee satisfaction survey/employee engagement survey annually is a highly effective way to identify abuse and discrimination against employees, providing senior management and HR with information needed to take action to eliminate these conditions in the workplace.

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