We live in a litigious society. We live in a litigious society. I repeat, we live in a litigious society. Have I made myself clear yet?
In 2018, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) resolved 90,558 charges of discrimination and secured secured $505 million for victims in the private sector, state and local government, and federal workplaces. Many of these claims could have been resolved in the workplace, but why aren’t they?
It’s often because employers have poor policies and procedures for reporting and don’t act expeditiously or appropriately when they receive a complaint. But what do you do if you’re a small business and don’t have an established hierarchy of reporting? That’s where a confidential reporting hotline can really save your behind.
Imagine...you’re the owner of a tech company that has 9 employees, all of which are considered line level employees (developers, admins, etc). One of your developers comes to you to file a complaint of harassment against their co-worker, another developer. Can you remain unbiased? Do you know what information to ask? The smaller your organization, the harder it is to conduct your investigations appropriately and foster a culture where people feel comfortable reporting.
A confidential reporting hotline is a service offered by an impartial third party that will field complaints and often assist with conducting a preliminary investigation. It acts as an extra layer of protection for the business and for you as the owner. They can even be used as a great defense against unemployment and other employee related claims specifically when they exist and employee DON’T use them to resolve their concerns or complaints.
When you start thinking it might be time to add a reporting hotline as a service, you’ll want to consider the following:
How Much Of the Investigation Will They Be Doing
Will the provider just be taking the initial call or are they equipped to do some of the preliminary investigation? How will you receive the complaints? This will help you as the business owner determine at what point in the investigation you have to start.
When is the hotline available?
If you’re a 24 hr business, 3 shifts, 7 days a week, you’ll want to find a hotline service that’s available 24/7/365. If your business operates Monday through Friday, finding a service that operates during the same hours is appropriate. You want to make sure that whatever service you purchase is accessible to your employees if and when they need it.
Is there additional support in the event of a serious investigation?
Sometimes your workplace investigations can be lengthy and quite serious. We recommend finding a service that provides additional support with the investigation. You may not need someone to come on site and do it for you, but it’s helpful to have a qualified professional to review investigation notes and details.
As with any service, you want to make sure you do your research to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your employees. Generally confidential reporting hotlines can be an inexpensive but effective way to protect your business, support an open door policy and catch workplace conflict or risk areas before they become serious.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Confidential Reporting Hotline offered by Boss Consulting HR, shoot us an email!