Line managers are HR’s eyes and ears, and often its biggest headache. Indeed, their actions and decisions form the foundation of virtually all employee lawsuits, MOST of which now involve TERMINATION decisions and HARASSMENT allegations. For decades, conscientious employers have diligently trained managers NOT to discriminate, harass, or retaliate against employees. Unfortunately, this training investment has NOT curbed the tide of EEOC charges and lawsuits, which have steadily increased over the past 25 years.
Normal psychological processes (“cognitive dissonance”) prevent managers from perceiving their behavior or decisions as discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory. And often, managers are RIGHT: less than 3.5% of all EEOC charges merit “reasonable cause determinations” and over 2/3 are dismissed as “no reasonable cause.” Discrimination is difficult to prove, but EASY to allege and employers spend small fortunes in non-recoverable defense attorney fees proving they did nothing wrong in the first place. In training managers not to discriminate, harass, or retaliate, WE have failed to train them to DO exactly what we need them to do: SPOT-ENGAGE-ESCALTE everyday workplace situations that expose employers to RISK (e.g., terminations, complaints, disputes).
Defensive Management 101 teaches HR leaders and in-house counsel HOW to make believers, allies and effective RISK MANAGEMENT partners out of managers. Once properly trained to spot RISK, managers eagerly coordinate with HR and in-house counsel to yield legally compliant, defensive workplace outcomes.