Employers often feel sick when a racial discrimination case comes across the desk. Such a complaint can lead to tensions in the workplace, legal battles, bad publicity, and government involvement. And if you don’t handle such claims properly – you could no longer have a business.

By following a plan that evaluates a complaint seriously, you will save your company a lot of hassle, and most likely – money. Not only will you save some cash with proper management, but you can also improve employee relations in the process.

Here’s how to handle a race discrimination case:

Don’t Get Defensive

Even though you may find it hard to believe racism is brewing right under your nose, you cannot get defensive when a race discrimination claim is filed. Keep an open mind and follow up on any issues.

Never Shoot the Messenger

Your employee wouldn’t have complained if something wasn’t going on. Most people feel afraid and vulnerable when they speak up about discrimination. Take time to understand the person voicing such claims.

Retaliation is Illegal

You CANNOT retaliate when someone voices a claim of discrimination in your workplace. How the accuser works in your company cannot be changed once a case has been made. If you retaliate in any way – you’ll end up spending a lot of money in the courtroom.

Procedures Must Be In Place

It’s imperative that you have procedures in place to handle race discrimination claims. Then all you have to do is follow the steps you laid out for the company when handling this case. Failure to do so will result in further penalties in the court of law.

Education Comes First

Take the claim you’ve heard and research how it is proven in court. Find out your responsibilities as the employer. Dig deep and find out what the potential ramifications could be if the claims are true. Contacting a race discrimination lawyer may be needed.

Hear Both Sides

Hear the accuser’s whole story. Tape everything when the story is stated to you. Take notes. Get details. Cross reference time logs, schedules, and more. Then find out what the accused’s story is.

Do Your Research

Once you have both sides of the story – you need to dive into the evidence and see what is true and what isn’t. Remove any bias you may have. Occasionally, this step will be unimportant because the concluding evidence will have been presented.

Hire a Private Investigator

If you cannot get to the bottom of any claims, it may be a good idea to hire a private investigator to help you figure out exactly what happened. It’s incredibly important to note that you’re not trying to solve anything. You are only looking to gather as much evidence as you can.

Confidential and Comprehensive

Keep all dealings confidential. Do not make the claims public, as your workplace will become filled with unproductive gossip. Ensure that you have comprehensive notes on all information presented.

Cooperate with Government

If the EEOC does step in – be cooperative. If needed, you can give them your side of the story. This may be the time when you need to hire a lawyer for your company. Any evidence presented to this government entity may be used against you later.

Swift Punishment

If any race discrimination did occur, it’s imperative that swift punishment is dealt. Some cases will require termination, but others will only need mediation or counseling. This will depend on the crime. The key is to be firm in the actions you take and document everything.