Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb, LLC | attorneys at law

How to handle a discrimination complaint from an employee

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Business & Commercial Law

Your company should have strict anti-discrimination policies. No one should be treated unfairly because of their inclusion in a protected class. This includes things like their gender, race or disability status. 

The Missouri Human Rights Act states it’s unlawful to discriminate against someone in any aspect of employment, and having strict policies in place can protect you from legal issues. Here is what to do when an employee makes a discrimination complaint:

1. Listen to them

When an employee informs you of a discrimination action they experienced, listen to them. You can ask questions about how they feel or to get more information, but avoid statements that may sound accusatorial or dismissive of their feelings towards the action.

2. Take the complaint seriously

Your company should not tolerate any form of discrimination, even if it was a “joke.” You should take every complaint seriously and act as so. Therefore, after receiving the report, begin the investigation. You can get statements from witnesses and watch footage of the cameras at a particular location.

If the investigation takes longer than expected, perhaps you are working with an outside investigator, inform the employee. Not updating them may be viewed as not taking the complaint seriously.

3. Speak to the accused

After gathering enough evidence, you should speak to the accused. This allows them to respond to the allegations. You or the investigator should analyze what they tell you and compare it with the collected evidence to establish credibility. After speaking with the accused and further assessing the evidence, you should have the grounds to act accordingly.

You should protect your employees from discrimination. If a discrimination claim has been made against your company, get legal help to defend yourself.