To Retain A Multicultural Workforce

IQPC's National Conference on Recruiting And Retaining A Diverse WorkForce March 30-31 & April 1,1999 - The Swissotel Atlanta - Atlanta, GA

Workshop Leader: Lindy Korn, Esq.
President & CEO - Diversity Training - Workshop Solutions, Inc.

Today's employers must take the "Risk Temperature" of the workforce as they perform their jobs. Employers must be able to demonstrate that they are doing all that they are doing all that they can to avoid even the tacit acceptance of a Hostile Workplace. The potential claims that such an environment can produce include: sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, defamation, constructive discharge, discrimination base on race, disability, or other protected category, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract, and breach of privacy actions. The fundamental issue in most workplace disputes is the fairness of handling the issues and the parties.

Two recent U.S. Supreme court decisions have held employers liable for hostile environment sexual harassment by supervisors - subject to an Affirmative Defense. The two pronged affirmative defense established in Faragher vs. City of Boca Raton and Burlington Industries vs. Ellerth, requires that an employer be able to demonstrate/prove that it utilized reasonable care to prevent any sexual harassment (and any hostile environment), AND that the employee failed to take advantage of the employer's anti-harassment policy and complaint procedures. Thus, employers need to e consistent in their efforts to communicate and activate the appropriate policies and procedures in the workplace. Training is the vehicle by which the message is communicated.

Fundamental Fairness that pervades a workplace is the best prevention to increasing employment issues that are legally protected. As discrimination suits based on sex, race, age, or disability become more common, employers must pay attention to the work environment and create healthy working relationships amongst all the parties. Being pro-active is the best prevention, and will provide the best defense.