If an employer has a set of policies and practices in place, educating the employees and the management team is a critical link in reducing the likelihood of a discrimination claim. The training for employees will differ somewhat from the training provided to the management team.
With respect to employees, the new-hire orientation process should contain a general overview of company policies and rules. In addition, it is always a good practice to have the employees sign an acknowledgment that they were made aware of the policies and rules in place. Beyond a general new-hire-training process, it is also helpful to conduct periodic training sessions for employees focused on non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, as well as any specific company rules that need additional emphasis. With respect to the anti-harassment and non-discrimination training, it is important to emphasize the internal process by which complaints under those policies can be made. This internal complaint process will be helpful in that it will encourage employees to keep complaints internal and may provide the employer with the ability to assert some affirmative defenses if the employees fail to follow a complaint process.
The management team should receive the same training as non-management employees, as well as additional training on topics including the FMLA, ADA, Title VII, and the FLSA. It is important for supervisory employees to understand the employer's basic obligations and practices with respect to these various statutes. These management employees are likely to be the first employer representative to encounter a concern implicating these statutes, so they need to understand the basics to ensure they properly respond to the employee. Another key part of the training is helping the management team be able to spot concerns that need to be pushed to human resources for proper resolution. With good training programs, employees and managers are both able to direct concerns to the right places and hopefully get the right resolutions, thus avoiding a discrimination charge with the EEOC or KHRC.