Sexual harassment can be a serious problem in any office or work space. In 2016 alone, over 12,800 employees filed sexual harassment charges with the EEOC. Thousands more were filed with state and local agencies. By creating a clear sexual harassment prevention policy, businesses can reduce or even eliminate sexual misconduct in the workplace, resulting in a safer, more productive work environment for everyone.
Below, we’ve provided some rudimentary guidelines for establishing and enforcing an effective workplace sexual harassment policy.
Establish a written sexual harassment policy
Every business needs a written policy that clearly defines and prohibits sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. This policy should be included in its entirety in the employee handbook, and provided to every new employee. Some employers even require a signed statement to confirm that every employee has read the sexual harassment policy.
Your company’s sexual harassment policy should state that sexual harassment of any sort will not be tolerated, and should also clearly define what constitutes sexual harassment. Furthermore, the policy (or the employee handbook) should provide instructions and outline procedures for any worker who wishes to report sexual harassment in the workplace.
Ensure that all workplace employees understand the penalties for sexual harassment, and encourage all employees (not just the victims) to speak up if they witness sexual misconduct.
Continually train your employees
Aside from providing your sexual harassment policies to employees during their initial orientation, policies should be reinforced periodically at meetings and re-training exercises. Furthermore, your employees should be educated and trained to identify and report harassment. Supervisors especially should be educated on how to enforce sexual harassment policies and recognize and prevent misconduct.
Enable working complaint procedures and investigations
Sexual harassment complaints should be confidential, and procedures uncomplicated. Your employees should know that filing a sexual harassment claim will result in no repercussions or backlash from the accused or the company.
Employees should be permitted to report sexual harassment complaints to multiple people within the company, and your company should delegate at least two employees to investigate sexual harassment claims in case one of them is accused of harassment.
If you’re considering filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, contact Meyers Law Firm online or call us in the Kansas City area at (816) 994-3240. Our team comprises experienced trial attorneys who focus on employment law, consumer law, and personal injury cases. If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s neglect or treated unfairly by an employer, our attorneys can help.