Keeping Your Workplace Harassment-Free

by tylercook on March 15, 2013

  • Sharebar

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. Harassment refers to unwanted behavior or contact that occurs in the workplace. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and offensive remarks about a person’s body or gender. The harassment can be verbal, written, nonverbal or visual. An employee can be harassed by a boss, supervisor, coworker, customer or client.

Just as men and women can become victims of sexual harassment, both sexes can be guilty of harassment. Sexual harassment can also be perpetrated by someone of the same sex. Although teasing is not illegal, if the behavior is so pervasive that it interferes with the victim’s ability to perform his or her work effectively, it may rise to the level of harassment.

Any decisions related to hiring, promotion or employment that are intended to punish an employee who does not submit to sexual advances also fall into the category of sexual harassment. Because sexual harassment can take many forms, it is important to educate your employees about appropriate workplace conduct.

Avoiding Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Employers have a responsibility to promote and maintain a work environment that is free of harassment. It is the right of your employees to feel safe, secure and comfortable while working. The best way to prevent harassment in the workplace is to implement strict policies that deter harassment from occurring in the first place. It is a smart idea to have the policy reviewed and updated every year or two to ensure that it reflects current law. Not only does having a clear policy for investigating and resolving harassment claims promote a healthy and safe work environment; it also protects your company from a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Implement Strict Policies

To avoid sexual harassment in the workplace, adopt a no tolerance policy. Make it clear that any employee who engages in sexual harassment will be punished. Clearly designate penalties for sexual harassment, including disciplinary action or termination. Remind your employees and management that retaliation is illegal.
Conduct trainings to educate your employees about what types of behavior and statements constitute harassment. Implement a clear policy for reporting harassment. Ensure that the management understands their obligation to act on any allegations of workplace harassment.

Take all complaints seriously. Act quickly to investigate the complaint. Document your attempts to remedy the situation. Even if you believe you have a friendly working relationship with the complainant, do not take the claims lightly.

If an Employee Has Been Sexually Harassed

An employee who feels harassed must tell the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome. In some cases, the harasser may be unaware that his or her conduct is unwelcome or offensive. Telling the person to stop the unwelcome conduct may put an end to the harassment. If the harasser continues to engage in the unwelcome behavior, the victim should follow the company’s complaint procedure.

If your company fails to take action, the victim may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the appropriate state agency. Once the agency receives the complaint, a representative will conduct an investigation into the claim. The representative will review your company’s sexual harassment policies and the steps taken to address the victim’s complaint. If your company is being investigated for a sexual harassment claim, contact an employment law attorney to learn how to protect your rights.





Latest posts by tylercook (see all)

No related posts.

Previous post:

Next post: