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HR consultant says a company policy, training and timely investigations are key to addressing discriminatory retaliation
In the EEOC hearing
“Retaliation in the Workplace: Causes, Remedies and Strategies for Prevention,” Sharon L. Sellers, SHRM-SCP, provided an overview of how employers can design and put into place effective workplace programs to help prevent retaliation and discrimination.
Speaking on behalf of the more than 275,000-member SHRM, Sellers
noted that retaliation claims have become the most frequent and potentially costliest type of workplace dispute.
“Alleviating retaliation and discrimination in the workplace is important to employers,” she said in
written testimony. “Employers want these behaviors out of their organizations so they can focus on assisting their employees in succeeding, which will, in turn, allow their organizations to succeed.”
Sellers, president of SLS Consulting in Santee, S.C., said, “In order for an anti-retaliation program to be effective, employers should create a culture where employees respect each other and where open communication regarding diversity and inclusion is encouraged. Senior management must lead this effort in order to encourage buy-in from middle management and first-line employees.”
Sellers, an HR professional with more than 30 years of experience, is the state director of the South Carolina SHRM State Council.
In addition to creating an anti-discrimination culture, Sellers said, “An effective program should include specific elements such as a clearly written policy, training for employees as well as management, and prompt and detailed investigations.”
The education of supervisors and managers is important, particularly training in documenting employee performance. “Accurate documentation can assist employees in understanding and improving poor performance, which may help them succeed in their positions. Such documentation also provides clarity of the intent behind employee management decisions,” she said.
“When confronted with compelling evidence of the business case,” Sellers said in written testimony, “employers understand that an effective anti-retaliation program increases employee engagement, improves organizational performance, and reduces complaints.
Full testimony is available at
MEDIA: For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Kate Kennedy at
Kate.firstname.lastname@example.org 703-535-6260 or
Vanessa.Gray@shrm.org at 703-535-6072.
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