According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), unlawful harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and may result in an investigation, lawsuit and penalties. Below introduces five ways to keep employees safe and avoid potential workplace harassment problems.
Create a Well-Defined Anti-Harassment Policy
Every company should have a distinct anti-harassment policy that is shared with all new hires during new employee orientation. This policy should be reviewed with employees every year. The policy should include a clear investigation process and a chain of command for reporting harassment. Be sure to have a qualified attorney review the policy to ensure that it complies with applicable state and federal laws.
Conduct Harassment Training
Supervisors will need annual training about what sexual harassment is, what to do if it occurs and how to prevent it. This is extremely important because from a legal perspective, the worst case scenario for a company is when a supervisor harasses subordinates. Both managers and supervisors must understand their obligations to maintain zero tolerance for workplace harassment and the consequences of failure to properly respond to harassment claims.
Cultivate a Positive Culture
Management should ensure that the business culture itself does not welcome or tolerate harassment. This can be achieved through ensuring that after hours work-sponsored activities are professional and appropriate. It can also be achieved through holding supervisors accountable for holding supervisors responsible for their actions. When upper management sets strict expectations and punishments for founded harassment claims, professional behavior will surely follow.
Maintain Proper Documentation
Every harassment investigation should be well documented and include witness interviews and notes from management. Any harassment investigation that may potentially involve a lawsuit should involve continual consultation with a lawyer. Being able to show the courts that the company took proactive action and remedial measures will strengthen the position of the company.
There are actually two different types of harassment. First, quid pro quo harassment is when employees are confronted with advantages or disadvantages of certain behaviors. For instance, a supervisor may imply that the employee will be punished if they do not comply with the supervisors’ demands. A second type of environment is a hostile work environment, which is created when a targeted employees feels offended and uncomfortable because of other employees. This may appear in the form of inappropriate jokes, unwelcome behavior and derogatory comments.
As a final note, companies should consider maintaining complete confidentiality and avoiding potential retaliation. Not doing so could result in legal problems. To understand the complexities of these cases the way people at Sattiraju Law Firm do, your employees will likely get the help of a lawyer if something like this happens.