Tips for the workforce:
Guard your words and actions. Don’t make racial, sexual, age-based or similar comments in the workplace. These remarks or jokes can infuriate co-workers, cause them to file lawsuits and potentially be repeated in court. Such comments aren’t made to customers and shouldn’t be made to people with whom you have a professional relationship.
Tips for human resources and other managers:
Document and investigate. Keep accurate, contemporary records regarding employee performance and problems, just as you keep records of routine business transactions. Take action and investigate workplace issues. Proper investigative steps and corrective action can minimize and, in some instances, extinguish liability.
More tips for managers:
Get help. Just as managers should consult with experts in the company regarding issues they aren’t familiar with (such as a hazardous gas leak), they need to view HR as a resource when dealing with employment matters. They should get help before problems arise, not after.
More tips for employees:
Treat others well. Employees can contribute to a safe and productive workplace environment. Guarding words and actions, treating co-workers as members of the team, and speaking up to let managers know about concerns, all contribute to a more productive workplace.
Workforce, March 1998, Vol. 77, No. 3, p. 58.