Posted by Judd Lowe ● Sep 4, 2020 11:39:00 AM

Complaints about Employee Complaints –Why HR Issues Should NEVER Go Unresolved

Employee Complaint IMG

Litigation is not merely an inconvenience for companies; it can become a quagmire that can be impossible to dig your company out of. Though conflicts or disputes are customary, harassment can happen, and mistreatment can materialize, it’s how HR deals with these types of issues that can end up plaguing your company and tie you up in arbitration, or even worse, long and costly litigation. No company wants bad publicity, but a media circus surrounding a complaint that is brought to court is an entanglement that companies should avoid at all costs. Thus, it behooves HR to deal with employee complaints expeditiously so that they can be resolved, not only for the employee involved, but for the entire organization’s peace of mind and success. As Jennifer Liu, an attorney based in San Francisco, California, asserts, “For companies to actually deal with these issues and nip them in the bud…is often not only the right thing to do but is also the best risk management strategy. If you do right by your employees, they aren't going to call an employment attorney."

Don’t Lallygag or Lag

We know that resources are always limited, there is never enough time in the day to complete all of your tasks, AND the pandemic has made our workforces leaner. Nevertheless, not responding to a complaint quickly or having too long of a lag in handling or investigating it can cause the complainant to perseverate and the issue to fester. So, communication and proactivity are the best ways to show that the employee complaint is being taken seriously and steps are being taken to resolve it.  Also, when investigating a complaint, it is important to let the complainant tell you the desired outcome they want so that you can work towards a shared goal and eventually, a resolution. Basically, if the complainant feels that they are being heard and dealt with, the less likely they are to react and escalate the situation by seeking counsel or impetuously filing a lawsuit. Overall, the more quickly issues are investigated and resolved, the less strain it puts on the employer-employee relationship.

Resolve So You Can Resume Work

So, don’t just sit back and wait for things to happen or communication channels to open up between the parties involved, because that likely will not happen. This reality reinforces the need for employers to foster an environment where employees feel comfortable coming forward right away to report if they feel mistreated, discriminated against, or harassed in the workplace. This also means that if your company has unionized workers that the employer allows union representatives to do their job and intervene on their workers’ behalf, so that you can all work towards a resolution. Data shows that HR managers who look into complaints right away have more success. As Gary Eidelman, an attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr in Baltimore, Maryland, commented, “There would certainly be a lot more litigation if HR departments weren't [...] dealing with complaints. That’s what they do.”

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Topics: HR Case Management, employee complaints

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