Any employer who believes they can avoid conducting workplace investigations by simply doing business as usual should take notice that discrimination and harassment law revisions are expanding employee protections, increasing penalties and allowing greater reimbursement for attorney and expert fees. A good example happened just this week when Mayor DeBlasio of New York City signed into law five clarifications of the NYC Human Rights Act. (A good summary article on the changes can be found here No April Fools: Mayor De Blasio Signs Into Law FIVE Amendments Broadening The New York City Human Rights Law) Under these new broadened regulations, discrimination and harassment claims will be incredibly difficult to defend.
Proactive steps by employers are always the best means to prevent a claim. But let’s face it, it is not always enough. When an employee reports that his or her rights have been violated, conducting a prompt, unbiased investigation with swift and appropriate corrective action is the best protection…..and it’s the law!