If you are a California business owner, you have probably thought extensively about preventative measures for protecting your employees. Policies addressing workplace violence, discrimination and safety protocols may be some of the topics you have considered. Sexual harassment is another complicated issue that is often avoidable with the right protocols in place.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides employers like you with several steps that can be taken to encourage respectful behavior and immediately rectify actions that are not acceptable. These include the following:
- Anti-harassment policy: Begin by creating an anti-harassment policy that clearly outlines your expectations for appropriate and acceptable behavior. Inform violators that they cannot retaliate against anyone who has filed a complaint against them.
- Confidential hotline: Create a hotline or some type of confidential system for reporting complaints. Doing so will provide victims with a place where they can safely and confidently report what has happened without public humiliation or embarrassment.
- Disclosure and education: Talk to each of your employees about the company anti-harassment policy and clarify their full understanding. Encourage employees to utilize hotlines and other resources designed for full, confidential disclosure of concerning behavior.
- Trainings: Provide supervisors and managers with informative trainings designed to educate them about the types of questionable activity to watch for. You should also verify that each department has an anti-harassment policy printed and posted in a noticeable place.
In the event that sexual harassment does occur, you can keep it from spreading or worsening by encouraging victims to come forward immediately without questioning his or her judgment. Additionally, you will benefit from performing a thorough and timely investigation to establish the root cause of a problem and prevent it from happening again.
Workplace Sexual Harassment: Seeking the Help of an Attorney
No two situations are the same, and so it is very logical to reach out to a workplace sexual harassment lawyer to determine if you may have a case. We strongly encourage that you seek out an attorney for a personalized consultation, as there is no other way to make an initial determination. With offices in Oakland and San Anselmo in Marin County, our law firm makes it easy to have a private, confidential consultation.
This information is intended to educate only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.