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How to respond to an employee’s claim of discrimination

Dec 26, 2023 | Employment litigation

Despite doing your best to prevent discrimination in your company, an employee may feel unfairly treated in a particular situation. Accordingly, they may report the issue to you. How you handle their complaint is crucial; a single mistake can worsen the matter.

Here is how to respond to an employee’s claim of discrimination:

Talk to the complainant

If an employee reports they have been treated unfavorably, you should obtain adequate information. These include how it happened, who was involved, why they believe the treatment was different and who they believe was treated more favorably. You should be well-informed about the nature of the complaint and the extent of the harassment.

Talk to the accused

Talking to the person accused of wrongdoing will help you know their side of the story and get elements you may not have received from the complainant.

If possible, you should not disclose the complainant’s name. For example, you can inform the accused that it has come to your attention that there is discontent over a promotion they awarded and ask them to explain the criteria they used.

Talk to any witnesses

Ensure you get information about any parties present during the incident from the complainant. Their version of events could be crucial to your investigation. Video footage will also be helpful in addition to interviewing workers.

Document your investigation

You should document every stage of your investigation to build a clearer picture of the truth and to show that you have carried out a thorough investigation into the matter.

If an employee is unsatisfied with how you handle their complaint and, in turn, takes action against you, consider getting legal guidance to defend yourself.