An accusation of discrimination, whether true or false, can greatly hurt the organization’s reputation and financial standing. Unfortunately, despite most organizations’ best efforts to eliminate this vice from the workplace, these accusations still come up from time to time. It is also not uncommon for disgruntled ones to file false accusations against their current or previous employers.
If an employee makes false discrimination claims against you, it is important that you figure out the right steps to take – and the pitfalls to avoid. Here are two major mistakes you don’t want to make:
Downplaying the accusation
When a current or former employee lodges a false discrimination claim against you, it is important that you take the allegation seriously. The worst mistake you can make is to ignore the accusation on grounds that “you did everything by the book.”
Ignoring the accusation, or failing to accord it the seriousness it deserves, will only worsen a potentially difficult situation. As soon as you learn about the discrimination claim, be sure to conduct a thorough investigation and, if necessary, get your legal counsel on standby.
Retaliating against the employee in question
The second worst mistake you want to avoid upon learning about a false discrimination claim from an employee is getting back at them.
No matter how frustrated or upset you are, do not demote, suspend or fire the employee who made the false discrimination claim. Doing so may amount to workplace retaliation, which can lead to serious consequences.
It is not unusual for an employee to wrongly believe that they have been discriminated against at work. Whether intentional or not, it is important that you take appropriate steps to defend yourself and the organization against false claims of discrimination at work.