"Empowering individuals and organizations to
achieve personal and professional goals."

Organizational Effectiveness Group, LLC

 

Consulting Services

Executive Coaching

Group Facilitation

HRO on the Go

Organizational Audits

Training/Development

Sexual Harassment
& Anti-Bullying
Training

EEO Investigations
& Expert Testimony

 

"Work is Love
Made Visible"

 

EEO Investigations & Expert Testimony

 

"I wanted to pass along to you that he (client) was really delighted with your work; the case settled this week, so smiles all around.  He thought you were really effective at interviewing the employees and getting a full report."

  Marshall Fuss, referring attorney

   

It makes good business sense for employers to provide a workplace free of discrimination and harassment.  Happy employees are productive employees! Also, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (commonly referred to as Title VII) and subsequent federal, California and other state legislation guarantee employees the right to work in an environment free of discrimination and harassment.

What does that mean? It sounds easy, but...

In 2017 the more blatant forms of discrimination have receded (for instance, few employers will tell a woman that she will be paid less because "a man will take care of her?").  However, is it possible that confusing, perhaps more subtle forms of bias or discrimination exist?  If a woman loses a promotion to a man, might she think that "they just gave it to the good old boy."  Or, if a person under 40 is hired, might the candidate who lost out (and is over 40) think "they gave the job to her, because she’s younger, less expensive and I’m older and command more money?"  If a woman who performs the same work as a man, has the same education, experience and background yet makes less than a man, might she be a victim of equal pay discrimination?

Increasingly, when individuals who are in one of the protected classifications ("race, religion, color, creed, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, and gender"), or pregnancy, gender identify, and/or a self-identification with a minority group, perceive that employment actions were taken as a result of their classification or status, they question why.  Many believe that the action was taken because of their classification, status, or self-perception of being in a minority group.

What complicates matters is that most laws (specifically Title VII) state that any form of retaliation or reprisal against an employee for having raised discrimination or harassment (whether found to be legitimate or illegitimate) is a more serious infraction than the underlying claim.  Thus, managing these matters in a neutral manner is extremely important. And, it’s not always easy to do so on an in-house basis.

Employer's Responsibility

Anytime an employee expresses that she or he has been the victim of discrimination and/or harassment, the employer must investigate.  Gone are the days when an employee can go into a supervisor’s office and ask to off the record, and then spend time venting about the unfair treatment he or she is receiving from someone else.  Responsible supervisors respond, as follows: "If this is about your feeling harassed or discriminated against, no, I cannot talk to you off the record.  I will need to report the conversation to HR, who will then investigate the matter."

How OEG Can Help
We offer three important services when your organization has a harassment or discrimination matter:

  • Before the matter has risen to the level of a complaint, we serve as a neutral party that employees can call to discuss when they "feel uncomfortable" and/or might perceive they have been a victim of harassment or discrimination, to help determine whether an investigation is called for;

  • We serve as the third-party neutral investigator, often by request of a lawyer handling the matter (which then protects the investigative report as attorney-client privilege), impartially interviewing the parties and any individuals the parties identify who might validate their claims, and writing a report; and

  • We serve as expert witnesses should the matter go to an administrative hearing or to court.

How We Investigate
The investigation commences with an interview with the self-identified victim, seeking the factual basis of his or her feelings or perceptions.  We conclude by asking who else we should interview who can verify the "acts and facts" conveyed by the victim.  Next, we interview the so-called perpetrator, asking him or her to relay the acts and facts from his or her point of view.  We conclude by asking him or her who else we should speak with, to verify or validate his or her recounting of events.  We interview those named, along with those who might have knowledge of the situation.  At the end, we write a comprehensive report with recommendations.

 

OEG's Experience
We have conducted third-party, neutral interviews on sexual harassment matters (including men alleging women have been the harassers; age discrimination claims; race discrimination matters; and equal pay claims.  (In 2016, California SB 358 took effect, making it the toughest law in the nation on gender equal pay.  In 2017, it was expanded to include race and ethnicity.)

 

Examples of OEG's Recent Results Demonstrate Neutrality

We have conducted third-party, neutral interviews on sexual harassment matters (including men alleging women have been the harassers; age discrimination claims; race discrimination

  1. A male worker accused three females of sexual harassment; he expressed concern that no one else might have overheard the offending comments and that in a “three-against-one,” he would not be believed. All three women denied the allegations.  After interviewing 13 individuals, the “acts, facts and events” relayed by the male were validated. Conclusion: the three women committed sexual harassment.

  2. A female alleged age discrimination, contending that her new supervisor was under 40; that the new supervisor had different performance expectations and measurements than her former supervisor (who was over 40); thus, the individual was being disciplined as a result of age discrimination.  After interviewing 12 individuals, the reportable acts, facts and events were not validated.  Conclusion:  age discrimination did not occur; however, training for the new supervisor was recommended.

  3. A male over the age of 40 alleged age and race discrimination by the owner and his son (who managed the business); the son was under 40 and of a different race. After interviewing up to ten individuals, the majority of which were identified by the gentleman alleging discrimination, the facts could not be validated.  Conclusion: age and race discrimination did not occur; supervisory training was recommended throughout the company.

  4. A woman who performed the same tasks, duties, and job functions as a man; who had similar experience; and possessed greated educational credentials, was making less than her male counterpart, alleged a claim of equal pay violation .  After investigating the matter, the woman's allegations were borne out.  Conclusion:  she was a victim of unequal pay under California's SB 358.

 
   

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