How a Sexual Harassment Prohibition Policy Can Help a Business
At some point within the life of a business it is possible that a legal dispute related to employment will arise. In addition to being disruptive to the business, incidents of this nature can be expensive, both in terms of money and time. These matters can also negatively impact the work environment, decreasing employee morale. This is true in a wide variety of situations including allegations of sexual harassment by employee.
As is the case with many employment disputes, the best way to deal with them is to avoid them in the first place. Creating a plan to prevent sexual harassment is required of employers by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Accordingly, it is important that businesses take the time to create and disseminate not only a sexual harassment prohibition policy but a reporting procedure as well. There are a variety of things the policy should contain.
The first is a statement of the company’s policy regarding sexual harassment. The policy should also define what constitutes sexual harassment and provide information regarding what the company has in place to protect those involved from retaliation. In addition, procedures regarding investigation, reporting and remediation should be outlined. Timing requirements for making reports should also be conveyed.
The creation of this type of policy should serve as a guideline for employees regarding what steps to take when they feel they have been sexually harassed and what to expect after making a complaint. It is also beneficial to the employer as its existence is part of the defense a business can use if it is sued for sexual harassment. To be an effective defense, the employer must also demonstrate that after the harassment occurred, it took steps to remedy the issue.
This, of course, is just a high level overview of how a sexual harassment prohibition policy can be helpful and what should be included. When a policy is created, it needs to be thorough. Accordingly, businesses should work with an employment lawyer who has experience in such matters to create an effective policy.