Employers face the risk of lawsuits and turmoil for their workers if they do not take steps to prevent workplace harassment or promote a harassment-free workplace. Sexual harassment, in particular, is an ongoing and often unreported problems in many workplaces. Business should consider implementing measures to help prevent harassment.
Employers can help prevent sexual harassment and other unwanted illegal behavior such as discrimination by placing an emphasis on respect, diversity, equality, and inclusion. Each employee must be held responsible for negative behavior and face appropriate sanctions for relatively small transgressions. Openly acknowledging and rewarding employees who commit to a positive and respectful culture may be helpful.
Owners, officials, management, and supervisors must also lead by example. They should display appropriate behavior and deal with situations where employees do not adhere to expectations and policies.
Formal Policies and Procedures
Employers need clear policies which set forth acceptable and unacceptable conduct at work. The range of inappropriate behavior and comments, from subtle behavior to blatant misconduct, must be addressed.
Polices are meaningless, however, unless they are quickly and meaningfully enforced. There should be uncomplicated and clear procedures for dealing with harassment allegations. Employers must be able to report harassment and managers need to have the ability to respond to these allegations quickly and methodically.
Effective training should take place regularly and address other matters beyond anti-discrimination and harassment laws and legal issues. Active employee participation is important, and training need to address situations that can occur in a workplace.
It is helpful when workers have the opportunity to anonymously submit experiences and scenarios for discussion. Bystander training is also effective. This allows employees to act when they see harassment.
Attorneys can help protect rights in sexual harassment claims. They may assist parties in dealing with these cases in legal proceedings and negotiations.