Discrimination Harassment for Contractors

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Nov 15th, 2016
Discrimination Harassment for Contractors

With the increased tensions caused from divisive elections and super-fast spread of news through social media, companies are having to deal with complaints about discrimination and harassment. How does this relate to Contractors and Consultants. As a contingent worker it is important for you to know your rights.

NONDISCRIMINATION & ANTI-HARASSMENT - WHAT TO EXPECT AS A CONTRACTOR

Just because you are a contractor or temp does not mean you do not have protection from discrimination or harassment. If you find yourself at the receiving end of such acts, report it immediately to your staffing agency representative or account manager who is supposed to bring this to the attention of their procurement contact at the client company. Procurement will then involve HR and Legal at the company to investigate the incident.

We thought it might be helpful to show you what a good staffing agency’s standards of conduct document looks like. It shows you what is acceptable and not, what to do in such cases, and what to expect. It also addresses additional resources on where to learn more and a section on Social Media at Work. Most Managers and Supervisors at staffing agencies and clients should be aware of these standards and undergo training every year to be aware of these policies, so there's no excuse.

STANDARDS OF CONDUCT

EMPLOYEES HAVE THE RIGHT NOT TO BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AT WORK

EMPLOYEES HAVE THE RIGHT NOT TO BE RETALIATED AGAINST AT WORK

FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL LAWS PROTECT EMPLOYEE RIGHTS.

STAFFING AGENCY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES PROTECT EMPLOYEE RIGHTS.

STAFFING AGENCY PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION & RETALIATION

Staffing Agency prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, protected activity, immigration status, and any other characteristic protected by law.

Staffing Agency prohibits retaliation against individuals who report discrimination or against individuals who participate in discrimination investigations. 

RECOGNIZING QUID PRO QUO DISCRIMINATION & RETALIATION

Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a supervisor threatens/promises an employee because of their protected status. Quid pro quo looks like: “If you don’t do what I want...” or “If you do what I want...” Threats or promises may be unspoken but implied. Such harassment is compelling because it comes from an individual in a position of power. If an employee comes to you to report quid pro quo harassment, they might show signs of feeling threatened or compelled by the discriminatory acts.

RECOGNIZING HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT DISCRIMINATION & RETALIATION

In recognizing hostile work environment harassment, the key question to ask is: “Is this employee being treated differently because of their protected status?” A hostile work environment may come in the form of a few “big” incidents or many “small” incidents. A supervisor may have a habit of using stereotypes. Or a supervisor may avoid inviting a specific employee out to company lunches. Initially, the way in which an employee is treated differently may seem harmless to outsiders. A hostile work environment often accumulates over time, so it is important to recognize and report such incidents as early as possible. It is not unusual for a hostile work environment to occur when a supervisor gets along well with everyone except one employee. If an employee comes to you to report a hostile work environment, they may feel like an outsider, or be worried about criticism for being “too sensitive.”

In responding to discrimination and retaliation, supervisors must be especially aware of “secondary” retaliation, or retaliation that occurs after an initial report has been submitted through the proper channels. Again the key question to ask is: “Is the employee being treated differently since reporting?”

For example, a supervisor accused of discrimination may stop inviting the accuser to one-on-one meetings. Any such change in behavior may be a form of retaliation. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONCERNING EMPLOYEE RIGHTS VISIT THE

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION AT WWW.EEOC.GOV OR VISIT YOUR STATE OR LOCAL HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCY.

INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING DISCRIMINATION ARE ENCOURAGED TO REPORT SUCH INCIDENTS IN A TIMELY MANNER, AS FEDERAL,STATE, AND LOCAL LAWS ABIDE BY STRICT DEADLINES.

RECEIVING REPORTS OF DISCRIMINATION & RETALIATION

Supervisors must promote a work environment that is open and respectful to all employees.

Supervisors must be open to accept reports of discrimination from employees at any time.

Supervisors must accept reports of discrimination in any format, including phone, email, in-person, etc.

Supervisors may receive reports of discrimination or retaliation from employees who do not work in their department. Supervisors must accept these reports, regardless of their familiarity with the employees involved, and report such information through the proper channels in a timely manner.

REPORTING DISCRIMINATION & RETALIATION

Supervisors have a responsibility to report discrimination or retaliation in a timely manner.

In addition to following the proper channels of reporting, supervisors must make reasonable efforts to document reports of discrimination.

Supervisors should not attempt to resolve reports of discrimination on an informal basis. Such attempts may have unintended consequences, or may even themselves be perceived as a form of retaliation.

CONFIDENTIALITY IN RECEIVING & RESPONDING TO DISCRIMINATION & RETALIATION

Supervisors must maintain confidentiality of information related to discrimination or retaliation to the extent possible. However, supervisors must be careful not to give employees a false promise of complete confidentiality. For example, an employee may say, “I can’t talk about this unless you promise it’s just between us.” A supervisor may be tempted to resolve the matter informally, or to promise to keep the matter secret. The correct procedure is to reassure the employee that confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible, but that the matter must be reported in order to fully investigate and resolve the issue. If an employee refuses to discuss a report of discrimination without a promise of confidentiality, the supervisor should accept the employee’s wishes. At the same time, the supervisor should document the exchange. For example, the supervisor might send a follow-up email to the employee that summarizes the discussion, reassuring the individual that any further concerns will be heard, and reminding the individual that they may also report the matter to human resources.

SOCIAL MEDIA AT THE WORK PLACE BEST PRACTICES GUIDELINES

At Staffing Agency, we understand that social media can be a fun and rewarding way to share your life and opinions with family, friends and co-workers around the world. However, use of social media also presents certain risks and carries with it certain responsibilities. To assist you in making responsible decisions about your use of social media, we have established these guidelines for appropriate use of social media.

Managers and supervisors should use the supplemental Social Media Management Guidelines for additional guidance in administering the policy.

SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES FOR STAFFING AGENCY EMPLOYEES

In the rapidly expanding world of electronic communication, social media can mean many things.

Social media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the Internet, including to your own or someone else’s web log or blog, journal or diary, personal web site, social networking or affinity web site, web bulletin board or a chat room, whether or not associated or affiliated with Staffing Agency, as well as any other form of electronic communication. The same principles and guidelines found in Staffing Agency policies and three basic beliefs apply to your activities online. Ultimately, you are solely responsible for what you post online. Before creating online content, consider some of the risks and rewards that are involved. Keep in mind that any of your conduct that adversely affects your job performance, the performance of fellow associates or otherwise adversely affects members, customers, suppliers, people who work on behalf of Staffing Agency or Staffing Agency’s legitimate business interests may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

KNOW AND FOLLOW THE RULES

Carefully read these guidelines, the Staffing Agency Statement of Ethics Policy, Information Policy and the Discrimination & Harassment Prevention Policy, and ensure your postings are consistent with these policies. Inappropriate postings that may include discriminatory remarks, harassment, and threats of violence or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and may subject you to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

BE HONEST AND ACCURATE

Make sure you are always honest and accurate when posting information or news, and if you make a mistake, correct it quickly. Be open about any previous posts you have altered.

Remember that the Internet archives almost everything; therefore, even deleted postings can be searched. Never post any information or rumors that you know to be false about Staffing Agency, fellow associates, members, customers, suppliers, people working on behalf of Staffing Agency or competitors.

POST ONLY APPROPRIATE AND RESPECTFUL CONTENT

Maintain the confidentiality of Staffing Agency trade secrets and private or confidential information. Trades secrets may include information regarding the development of systems, processes, products, know-how and technology. Do not post internal reports,policies, procedures or other internal business-related confidential communications.

Respect financial disclosure laws. It is illegal to communicate or give a “tip” on inside information to others so that they may buy or sell stocks or securities. Such online conduct may also violate the Insider Trading Policy.

Do not create a link from your blog, website or other social networking site to a Staffing Agency website without identifying yourself as a Staffing Agency associate.

Express only your personal opinions. Never represent yourself as a spokesperson for Staffing Agency. If Staffing Agency is a subject of the content you are creating, be clear and open about the fact that you are an associate and make it clear that your views do not represent those of Staffing Agency, fellow associates, members, customers, suppliers or people working on behalf of Staffing Agency. If you do publish a blog or post online related to the work you do or subjects associated with Staffing Agency, make it clear that you are not speaking on behalf of Staffing Agency. It is best to include a disclaimer such as “The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Staffing Agency”

USING SOCIAL MEDIA AT WORK

Refrain from using social media while on work time or on equipment we provide, unless it is work-related as authorized by your manager or consistent with the Company Equipment Policy.

Do not use Staffing Agency email addresses to register on social networks, blogs or other online tools utilized for personal use.

RETALIATION IS PROHIBITED

Staffing Agency prohibits taking negative action against any associate for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation. Any associate who retaliates against another associate for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

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