Is Your Business Prepared for Harassment & Discrimination Issues?


We discuss preparedness all the time lately — preparing for working remotely, employees returning to the office, proper face coverings, hand sanitizer, etc. However, with recent discrimination issues plaguing our country being top-of-mind, are you prepared to handle workplace harassment and discrimination? 8 in 10 companies deal with workplace harassment and discrimination issues every year.

Sadly, most companies aren’t effectively equipped to deal with the issues or repercussions of mismanaging incidents, particularly as we’re starting to see the impact of COVID-19 on our economy and workplaces. The current standard protocol for dealing with workplace harassment and discrimination today is one or more of the following — employee training, anonymous hotlines and safe reporting platforms, and “no tolerance” policies.

The problems with these measures are three-fold:

  1. Even with hotlines and safe reporting platforms in place, incident reports are still sent to internal HR departments or managers to investigate and This means employees often don’t report incidents because they’re afraid of retaliation. When incidents aren’t reported, workplace harassment continues and culture, productivity, and profitability suffer.
  2. Most internal HR departments and managers aren’t equipped to effectively deal with and manage workplace harassment and discrimination. They either don’t have the proper training and/ or the bandwidth to manage the Just one mismanaged incident opens the door to legal risk and impacts a company’s profits, investor prospects, reputation, culture, and more.
  3. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says these measures aren’t enough to protect employees or mitigate risk for This leaves companies at risk of investigations, bad press, and costly legal and settlement fees.

So, how can you fix these problems? The only way to provide companies and employees with real risk protection is for companies to manage workplace harassment and discrimination via an impartial third-party partner. And until recent years, there hasn’t  been a solution available that allowed employers to do that. At Holmes Murphy, we pride ourselves on delivering cutting-edge resources for managing an employer’s risk. In the case of workplace harassment and discrimination, we have identified a best practice solution and program to mitigate legal risk for your company and protect and empower your employees.

This unique program is a relatively new solution in the market, and it’s the only one of its kind. Here’s how it works:

  • The program provides an independent, safe platform for employees to report incidents (online or by phone).
  • The program’s specialized and certified legal professionals then impartially investigate each incident, working towards de- escalating potential problems — ultimately, providing resolution recommendations to the employer in about five business days.

Delivering this unique strategy means fewer, if any, EEOC claims get filed against companies. It also demonstrates good faith compliance with EEOC guidelines, minimizing exposure to punitive damages  and creating a stronger, defensible position for companies. Because this program uses an impartial third-party to manage workplace harassment, employees are no longer afraid of retaliation when reporting incidents — empowering employees and improving culture.

Companies should prepare now for what’s coming down the road.

While it’s a touchy topic, it’s one that’s necessary to talk about.

Gerald Johnson

Senior Vice President