We are pleased to welcome a new blog to our firm’s large roster of blogs:

Tech In The Workplace:  Examining the Intersection of Employment Law and Technology.”

We think that this blog fills a nice niche for HR and business people, and our colleagues who are writing it are top notch in this area.

Below is an article from that blog by our partner, Catherine Barbieri, entitled “Even Start-ups Need Anti-discrimination Policies and Reporting Mechanisms.”

“The recent New York Times (NYT) article about Julie Ann Horvath’s allegations of gender-based discrimination against GitHub, and GitHub’s blog post about the situation, raise an important point: companies should not lose sight of what they need to ensure compliance with some of the most basic employment laws.

In the case of GitHub, its co-founder and chief executive acknowledged in his blog post that the leadership team was not fully prepared to handle Ms. Horvath’s complaint; the company hired its first senior human resource only this year. The NYT article cited the statistic that tech start-ups with 100 or fewer employees have half as many personnel professionals as companies of the same size in other industries.

Certainly, not every company requires a senior human resource executive, particularly if it is still a start-up or employs few employees. However, every company—no matter how small—needs to have in place basic equal employment opportunity and non-harassment policies that make it clear to employees to whom they should report allegations of harassment or discrimination, and a mechanism for ensuring that those complaints are handled promptly and effectively.
Generally, we advise that those policies be distributed and implemented as part of an employee handbook or manual, but stand-alone policies are sufficient while a company is getting off the ground. We also recommend that employees “sign” (electronically or otherwise) an acknowledgement form, signifying that they received and are responsible for reviewing the policies. start-up companies : Startup Tools words in a blue metal toolbox to illusrate new business or company launch   
Personnel policies, if done well, can help a company to define its culture, and create a workplace in which disrespectful conduct is not tolerated. Companies should ensure that they do not focus on their product or service offerings to the exclusion of basic workplace policies.”