Vol. 3 No. 3 Winter 1997-1998 Braun Consulting News Page 2
button Responding to EEOC Complaints "101"

One day there is an EEOC charge against your company. Exactly what happens, and how is the problem resolved? We can start you off with a few basic answers about EEOC complaints.

An affidavit will be filed against your company as the first step in the complaint process. Agency officials are not permitted to fax or mail a copy of this document to you, but you will receive notification. This document contains a comprehensive view of the employee's allegations.

1. All managers should keep the complaint restricted to those who "need to know." Do not un-necessarily burden an employee who has made a charge or complaint to avoid an added harassment charge.

2. Your company should examine how similar actions were handled in the past. This investigation can be started within the company, and does not require an attorney.

3. Anything the EEOC learns, whether related to the original charge or not, can be acted upon and form the basis for additional charges or government investigations. Make sure all of your reports contain no admission of guilt.

If you or your company is wrong and the complaint could be perceived as legitimate, use the EEOC policy favoring mediation to achieve a settlement of the complaint. Then start the re-training of your staff and employees.

If your company elects to oppose the complaint, try to be reasonable and non-hostile when working with EEOC agency officials.

Ask questions, negotiate, and ask for a time extension if necessary. Get help if necessary, but get the problem taken care of and move on.

Braun has ample experience in successfully concluding EEO matters. When litigation becomes necessary, we maintain relationships with experienced, effective attorneys who can fill your needs.

Call us early in the process to achieve the best result.

"For Braun Consulting Group reliability is the key ... our product is right, our quality is impeccable, and we have great success in achieving the goals of the client, in the manner most fitting to that client."

button Complainers & Negative Attitude:
Some Insight

Complainers and people in the workplace who habitually focus on the negative aspects of any situation can spread that negativity around unless properly managed.

Workplace negativity and complainers are most often caused by uncertainty, surprise, or insecurity.
Without in-depth, straightforward communication, uncertainty among employees can build and have adverse effects. When change is necessary in the workplace, employers should clearly identify the need for change and be truthful about how the changes will affect employees.

Employers are encouraged to communicate to employees areas where certainty is known, and areas of uncertainty regarding any change. Pointing out which is which is helpful and reassuring to employees.

Long-time employees can be the trickiest. They can spread negativity to new employees and shape their attitude. Management can create a workplace which involves employees in the decision-making process, thus replacing leadership with uncertainty. Employees are allowed to come up with solutions.

Employees complain less when they feel like they make a difference, make valuable contributions, and that they are involved in developing solutions they have emotionally bought into. Management reserves the right to approve problem resolutions, but employees are encouraged to become creative problem-solvers.

Incremental steps to avoid widespread negativity can be effective. Try answering the bad with the good - when an employee makes a complaint, counter with a positive observation. In other situations ask the question, "What are you going to do to improve the situation?" Be aware of your own negative feelings and do not transmit them to others.

Complainers and negative attitudes?
Perhaps it is a problem with a solution inside. Perhaps leadership of your workforce, and reducing "uncertainty in the workplace" are components of your employees developing a positive attitude, rather than eating away at your bottom line.

button Latest Trends From NLRB Chairman
William Gould

Are They "Anti-Employer"?

Since becoming Chairman of the NLRB, William Gould has begun making public speeches which have been very pro-labor and sometimes anti-employer. Now Gould and the NLRB have begun to make some decisions which may indicate a troublesome trend.

One example is related to purchasers of business assets. In the past, purchasers of business assets have been free to set their own initial terms of employment and have not been obliged to assume the collective bargaining agreement of the seller. (An exception to this is when the new employer made it perfectly clear that it intended to hire all of the seller's employees.)

The NLRB seems to now be seeking ways in which to impose a seller's labor contract on an unrelated purchaser. In the "Canteen Co." case the Board held that a purchaser was required to follow the seller's contract because, in talking to the seller's union, the purchaser merely mentioned that it would want its new employees to work a probationary period, and did not mention an intent to make other specific changes in the terms and conditions of employment when it took over.

The Board jumped to the conclusion that the new employer had thereby communicated a plan to retain the predecessor's employees and the other conditions of the seller's labor contract.

Employers who want to do their best to retain the freedom to set their own terms and conditions when purchasing assets of a company must now be doubly sure that they fully communicate to the employees of the seller that, as the new employer, they (1) will be interviewing all applicants and are making no commitments as to how many or what percentage of the new hires will be chosen from among the employees of the seller, and that (2) they will have their own, new, different, and clearly-described set of wages, hours and working conditions.

Braun has successfully advised buyers and sellers how to avoid the obstacles to a smooth transition that the NLRB continues to create.

Continued on next page

The Contents of this News Letter are intended for general information
and should not be construed as legal advise or opinion.
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