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Leslie Bonacum
Neil Allen

HR Professionals Can Ensure Discrimination, Harassment Have No Place In The Workplace

(RIVERWOODS, ILL., September 26, 2001) – Employers and HR professionals can take steps to ensure that the events that shocked the nation two weeks ago don’t do further damage to safe and respectful workplaces nationwide, according to CCH INCORPORATED (CCH), a leading provider of human resources and employment law information.

In the wake of the tragic events of September 11, EEOC Commissioner Cari M. Dominguez called on all of the country’s employers to be alert to instances of harassment or intimidation against Arab-American and Muslim employees. "Preventing and prohibiting injustices against our fellow workers is one way to fight back, if only symbolically, against the evil forces that assaulted our workplaces," she said. "Our laws reaffirm our national values of tolerance and civilized conduct. At this time of trial, these values will strengthen us as a common people."

To help ensure a bias-free workplace, CCH says employers should take the following steps:

HR Checklist: Auditing Your Anti-harassment Policy

  1. Have a policy in place that clearly defines acceptable workplace behavior.
  2. Communicate that policy effectively throughout the workplace, using workplace communication channels from posting to face-to-face discussion.
  3. Train, at least annually, both employees and management and monitor the results of that training to confirm their understanding.
  4. Maintain records of that training
  5. Make sure that your complaint procedures are designed to encourage people to come forward, and provide many avenues for seeking relief.
  6. Ensure that your actions reinforce what is stated in your policy.
  7. Make sure that every complaint is taken seriously, reported appropriately, and investigated aggressively.
  8. If harassment is found, take immediate action to remedy it.
  9. Follow up to make sure that the behavior does not continue.
  10. Ensure that employees understand that retaliation will not be tolerated, and that employees are protected against it.

"If you’re serious about ensuring a bias-free workplace, it’s important for employers to follow each and every one of these steps," according to Lori Rosen, JD. Keys to success, however, are communication and training, notes Rosen.

"It is absolutely critical to ensure that your employees have a common understanding of what harassment and discrimination ‘look like’, as well as the policies you have in place to protect against those behaviors," said Rosen.

"Employees need to be able to recognize what discriminatory and harassing behaviors are, so that they can be avoided at best, or reported and addressed if they are occurring."

Rosen, an attorney and workplace analyst for CCH, is a contributor to CCH Shared Learning Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Training programs.


CCH INCORPORATED is a leading provider of employment law information and software for human resource professionals, including Human Resources Management and Shared Learning training. The Shared Learning series from CCH provides enterprise-wide interactive web-based training programs for employees and supervisors.

CCH is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wolters Kluwer North America. The CCH web site can be accessed at The CCH Human Resources Group web site can be accessed at For more information about CCH INCORPORATED’s e-learning series, Shared Learning, visit

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