Harassment Can Happen Anywhere. Is Your Business Taking the Necessary Steps?
By: George Morrison
During the past weeks, the news has featured allegations of sexual harassment against various public officials, celebrities, and others. These headlines should serve as a reminder to all employers of the importance of developing and enforcing written anti-harassment policies. An effectively written policy will typically address zero tolerance, examples and definitions of prohibited conduct, the duty to report, retaliation, complaint procedures and confidentiality.
The first step to enforcing a policy is properly communicating it to all employees – from entry level to C-Suite. All employees must also be trained on how to make internal complaints of harassment, including who they should contact to disclose improper conduct without fear of retaliation. Training must also be offered to employees responsible for handling complaints to ensure they can properly recognize harassment and take all necessary remedial action when faced with a complaint. Appropriate disciplinary action and re-training should follow the investigation if it is determined that harassment occurred. The failure to follow these “best practices” will likely result in legal liability, negative publicity and other adverse implications, including the potential loss of goodwill with customers.
We routinely assist our clients with the development and enforcement of anti-harassment policies and with presenting customized training programs. If you need assistance with the development or review of your policies or training programs, please contact any member of our Firm.