As an employer, you are obligated to provide your employees with a safe work environment. Not only does that include safety in the physical sense, but it also includes safety as in the mental and emotional sense. What does that mean for employers? In the context of sexual harassment, it means having policies in place that help prevent it.
Many employers are not aware that sexual harassment cases are prosecuted under the same laws used to prosecute cases of religious and racial discrimination. It is crucial for employers to take sexual-harassment training and prevention seriously to avoid the wrath of federal law. The first step in this prevention is to understand what sexual harassment truly is.
Despite the images we may have in our minds, sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome and sexual conduct or advances on the job. This conduct can create a hostile, intimidating and offensive workplace for employees. So it is important that employers provide employees with training to both understand and identify instances of sexual harassment.
Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace may take several steps. Fortunately, once these steps have been put into practice, they are much more easily followed. It is important for you as an employer to have a clear sexual-harassment policy. This policy should clearly define what sexual harassment is while explaining the process for reporting a complaint. Training should also be provided to all employees to help them identify and understand sexual harassment and its consequences.
In the event an employee has experienced sexual harassment, you as the employer should be clear that complaints of sexual harassment will be kept confidential and taken seriously. By taking these steps, employees will be more likely to come forward with a claim before the issue spirals out of control.
Sexual harassment claims, like claims of religious and racial discrimination, can have a profound impact on a company's well-being. To keep your workplace safe, productive and successful, you as the employer should have a clear, concise and comprehensive sexual harassment policy in place. To develop an effective sexual harassment policy, or to address an accusation of sexual harassment, employers may want work with an experienced employment law attorney.