There has been a myriad of instances in the media where someone has been accused of sexual harassment, with accusations springing up left-right and center around Hollywood.
However, it is important to scale this down a bit and consider what sexual harassment looks like in a standard workplace. With more people than ever before setting up their own businesses, having sexual harassment policies and procedures in place can save a headache further down the line, as well as being a legal requirement in the US.
Here are some things to consider when you begin looking at sexual harassment issues that may occur in your workplace.
Policies Are Protection
It is an unfortunate fact that smaller businesses are equally at risk of someone reporting a case of sexual harassment. With as many as 67% of small workplaces having no reporting policies in place, that can spell trouble for you as the owner or manager.
Why? Because financially speaking, it puts you in a much worse position financially. Suppose one of your employees reports sexual harassment to you, but there is no policy in place for you to pursue it. You may then find yourself in hot water relating to a lawsuit for failing to protect your staff.
If you need guidance on where to begin when building a sexual harassment policy for your workplace, consider looking at Baird Quinn and associated websites for more information.
Understand The Policies and Why They Are Needed
There is more to having a sexual harassment policy at work than protecting your finances. It is beneficial for your employees’ mental and physical health too. Sexual harassment policies are important for helping all of your staff to feel safe and giving them something to pursue legally if they don’t.
There has been a lot of pressure on business owners in recent times to be inclusive of all of their staff safety; by creating a sexual harassment policy and procedure, you are highlighting that you care about your staff and have their best interests in mind.
The Law Is Clear
In the US, if you have more than 15 employees, federal law protects them from sexual harassment in the workplace. If you have less than 15 employees, you will need to look into the laws of your state that may highlight different policies and procedures from the ones you are planning to draw up.
Its also worth noting what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace to discuss with your employees as part of their training. Such incidents of sexual harassment in the US include things like telling sexual jokes, unnecessary touching, commenting on someone’s physical attributes, displaying sexually suggestive photographs, telling sexually graphic stories, or using demeaning terms. It is worth noting that taking photographs of an employee without their consent may also fall into the category of sexual harassment, so be well versed in your knowledge surrounding this area.
Remember, if you aren’t sure where to begin when drawing up your workplace sexual harassment policies, there are many workplace lawyers in person and online who can help to clarify things for you.