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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
WHAT EMPLOYERS SHOULD DO
- Make sure your harassment policy is up to date and has been recently communicated to employees.
- Conduct harassment training for management if you haven’t done so within the past year. We recommend that the training be live and interactive if possible, or computer-based and interactive if live training is not possible. The senior management should make an appearance at the training to show support for the initiative.
- Conduct harassment training for non-management employees. Employee training should cover the following: (a) the type of behavior that can get an employee in trouble/ examples and guidance on what would be considered “harassment” in violation of company policy, (b) what the employee should do if the employee believes he or she may have been a victim of harassment and (c) prohibition on retaliation and how to report it.
- Ask yourself whether the company has been tolerating, or ignoring, an employee who has a reputation for acting inappropriately. If you are aware of an employee whose bad behavior has been tolerated for years, this would be a good time to stop tolerating it and start addressing it.
- Get outside help for investigations. In many situations, including if individuals in senior management roles are accused of harassment, a third party investigator can provide an objective investigation and legally sound guidance on whether and what remedial action should be taken.
WHAT EMPLOYEES SHOULD DO
- DON’T QUIT! If you quit your employer can contest your unemployment benefits and in some cases, you may be hurting your ability to recover damages for your claims.
- DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT: Employees who believe they are being sexually harassed should keep documents and a diary of the details of the unwanted conduct.
- ADDRESS THE PROBLEM: If comfortable, talk to the person who is engaging in the unwanted behavior and tell them to stop. Alternatively, report the behavior to a manager or someone with authority.
- SEEK LEGAL ASSISTANCE: In most cases, there is a strict time frame in which you can bring legal action. Seek assistance immediately. An attorney can assist you by working with the employer to seek a resolution or advise you on you legal rights to file a claim.