Sexual harassment in the workplace is very prevalent nowadays. It's important for business owners and employers to take measures to prevent workplace harassment.
To better prevent workplace harassment and reduce your liability employers can take the following 5 steps:
- Create a company policy specifically dedicated to sexual harassment. Make sure the policy clearly defines sexual harassment, states that your company has no tolerance for sexual harassment, describes the discipline for the harassers, and fully sets out the procedures for filing complaints and follow-up investigations. Consult with an experienced attorney for legal advice on your policy. Policies need to comply with federal, state, and local employment laws.
- Conduct mandatory yearly training sessions to teach employees, supervisors and managers about sexual harassment, explain how your company has zero tolerance for any sexual harassment in the workplace, address the complaint system procedures for filing complaints of sexual harassment, and encourage anyone to use the complaint system. It's especially important to teach employees about filing complaints if the person they're filing a complaint against is a supervisor or manager. Supervisors and managers are typically the first people employees would complain to, but if they're the ones doing the harassment, employees need to know that there are other resources they can utilize, such as a human resource specialist. Additionally, these training sessions would teach supervisors and managers how to handle complaints of sexual harassment and the process for dealing with them.
- When your company receives a complaint, take it very seriously, act quickly, and investigate fully. Remind each party involved, the employee or victim, the alleged harasser, and any noted witnesses, that their full cooperation is required. It may be beneficial to treat any complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace like a court case.
- Document and record every step of the investigation from the moment a complaint was filed to the steps you've taken to remedy the situation.
- As an employer or company owner, make sure to visit the workplace every so often, meet and speak to employees, and check out the environment. Never rely solely on reports, make sure you see the workplace yourself. t's important to know what's happening at every level of the company. It's also important to make your employees feel like they can speak up and communicate if there's an issue. If they feel uncomfortable, or that their work environment is hostile in any way, you can make swift changes to make the workplace safer.
These are just a few major steps you should take to prevent workplace harassment. Conduct due diligence, refer to your state laws, and speak to an attorney for a more comprehensive procedure for dealing with workplace harassment.