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Employers: Do you have anti-retaliation measures in place?

Ohio employers are required to comply with several state and federal employment laws. Failure to do so could result in a lawsuit that proves to be costly in terms of time and resources.

However, even when employers make every effort to stay in compliance, they can face legal action if these efforts prove to be lacking. Because of this and because employment laws are constantly changing, it is typically a good idea for companies to regularly review their programs and policies. For instance, does your company have measures in place to prevent retaliation?

Retaliating against an employee for exercising his or her rights is unlawful and can result in some serious penalties. In order to prevent or defend against claims of retaliation, many employer have programs in place to proactively stop retaliation. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made recommendations for employers who wish to create or update anti-retaliation programs. These recommendations include suggestions like:

  • Requiring management to respond to reports of workplace concerns directly and quickly
  • Putting in place procedures for employees to report concerns so that they know where to go
  • Having an independent investigation conducted when a report is filed to avoid bias
  • Examining disciplinary measures administered to ensure they were not the result of an employee's report
  • Taking every claim of retaliation very seriously
  • Training all workers and managers on what retaliation is and why it must be avoided

Employers are not required to have these or other similar measures in place, though they could prove to be effective in preventing disputes involving retaliation.

Whether you as an employer have an anti-retaliation program in place or not, it is essential that you are clear on what you can and cannot do when and if an employee files a report citing workplace misconduct or safety concerns. To discuss your obligations and make sure your legal bases are covered, you can speak with an attorney before a dispute ever arises.

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