Sexual Harassment Workplace Policy
Did you know?
75% of people who experience sexual harassment do not report it.
Ask yourself the following:
What actions will you take when a sexual harassment situation occurs?
In order for employers to effectively handle a sexual harassment situation, it’s important for companies to clearly communicate what constitutes as sexual harassment. Having a sexual harassment policy will not only guide management in problem resolution but also helps employees understand their rights in the workplace.
Now that you have an understanding of sexual harassment your next step is to think about the following:
How should your company manage complaints?
As an employer, it is important to acknowledge that you have legal and ethical obligation to investigate any sexual harassment claims made by your employees.
When a complaint is brought to your attention, proceed with confidentiality to the extent allowed by the situation. Harassment allegations can severely affect a person’s reputation but can also land you with a defamation lawsuit. Making a complaint can also be a very difficult task for any accuser. It is important to express compassion and respect. By approaching these situations with sensitivity, you will not only avoid the costs associated with these lawsuits but you are also potentially saving your company’s reputation.
It is also your responsibility to investigate every complaint you receive. Failing to thoroughly investigate a complaint may end with costly repercussions for your organization. When managing an investigation, you should conduct interviews with all relevant individuals including any witnesses.
During the process, documentation is another important aspect. It is your responsibility as an employer to gather and record all information. This includes reporting all steps you took and any encounters you had including dates, times and places. You want to be able to demonstrate that you followed procedure and did not conduct one-sided interviews.
One of the final steps is to take appropriate action with individuals who are proven to be wrongdoers. You must make the decision of how to then discipline the individual. Depending on the severity this could include anything from a simple warning to suspension or termination.
How will you decide what actions to take?
Did you know?
If an employer is found guilty of failing to stop sexual harassment, the employer faces the following liabilities:
- Lost wages.
- Future wages.
- Compensatory damages.
- Punitive damages.
- Attorney and court fees.
The last action you as an employer must take is to notify the accuser of your decision. This demonstrates your commitment to having a safe and hostile-free environment for your employees. It also provides closure for the accuser. Providing this communication could potentially save your company’s reputation and possibly avoid claims.
While we can never make any guarantees, SIA Group is here to protect your company and employees. Ask us how we can help with your policy needs.