What does it mean to Audit-Secure© your business? I am glad you asked. When you take steps to tap into credible resources for establishing policies and procedures that govern your organization you are becoming Audit-Secure©. When you educate yourself and provide training to all of your employees over a variety of compliance topics you are becoming Audit-Secure©. Sure, this process is going to take some time and cost a few bucks here and there. But, you will rest easy knowing you are able to defend your actions in court, if necessary. What is the alternative? Going to court and trying to explain why you believed you were exempt from providing training and awareness to your employees on serious compliance issues.
Check this out!
The largest employment law firm in the country (Littler Mendelson) recently reported: “On February 11, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court for the first time directly addressed and adopted the standard set forth in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1998 decisions in Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth and Faragher v. City of Boca Raton regarding employer liability for a supervisor’s harassment. In Aguas v. State of New Jersey, the court held that an employer can defend against a claim of supervisory harassment that did not result in a tangible employment action by showing (a) it had strong anti-harassment policies and reporting procedures in place and (b) the plaintiff unreasonably failed to take advantage of those policies and procedures. The court’s ruling in this case not only provides an invaluable defense to New Jersey employers, but also serves to emphasize the importance of implementing and adhering to effective anti-harassment policies and procedures that comply with the requirements set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court.” Not sure what this means? Well, let me explain! In a nutshell: Employers must put resources in place that make training over serious issues (such as Sexual Harassment) available to all employees. Even if the complaining employee ‘”failed to take advantage” of those provisions, the employer may be saved in court.
How do you move forward?
- Establish reasonable basis. You can do this by making sure you are getting the information that guides your business from reliable sources. I recommend you have at least three sources confirm anything you enforce or put into policy. I call this my Rule of 3s.
- Update all policies and procedures. Some employers believe an employee policy manual is constricting or just plain unnecessary. Clearly, the high courts have cleared up that misunderstanding.
- Provide training. I preach this across the nation. But, still employers believe $200 or less per year is too much to spend to train an employee. I feel bad for those employers who bury their heads in the sand. Remember this fact: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that making training available (even if the employee unreasonably fails to take advantage of the training) will act as an insurance policy in the event you end up in court with claims of harassment or any other issue you have made efforts to derail by offering training on the topic.
Ok, now you know what to do. Go get some resources. Build some great policies and procedures. Invest in a learning management system or other forms of training to ensure your employees are well-trained in all of the topics that protect you and your employees from harm and litigation. By performing these 3 basic (but very serious) steps, you will Audit-Secure© your business and sleep better every night!
Until Next Time –
Keep Calm and Employ On!
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