Employers are responsible for creating a safe and secure workplace, including an environment free from sexual harassment. Preventing harassment is easier than dealing with it, or the resulting lawsuits. Follow these tips to keeping your company free from the destruction sexual harassment causes.
1. Begin by understanding exactly what sexual harassment entails. According to the EEOC, there are two forms of sexual harassment.
a. The offering of a promotion, raise, or other perks in return for sexual favors.
b. Creating a “hostile/negative work environment” through crude sexual jokes and/or obscene gestures, sexually explicit pictures, and/or sexually offensive remarks.
In other words, sexual harassment can consists of any sexual advance, conduct, or language on the job that creates an offensive, negative atmosphere and intimidates coworkers at any level.
2. Provide sexual harassment training. When everyone understands the expectations, it is much easier to maintain a workplace free of sexual harassment.
a. Be upbeat and open in your training. Include a list of don’ts, but focus on the dos. Do treat coworkers with respect. Do maintain professional relationships. Do avoid office romances, favoritism, sexual innuendos, and comments.
b. Require all employees – including top management – to attend training.
c. Conduct training on a regular semi-annual basis.
3. Create a written policy. Include:
a. Clear explanation of prohibited conduct.
b. Guide for filing a complaint.
c. Protection against retaliation to those who file a complaint.
d. Confidentiality protection.
e. A filing process that assures a prompt, impartial, and thorough investigation.
4. If a complaint is filed, take accusation seriously.
a. Monitor the workplace and maintain open communication that encourages victims to come forward.
b. Create a safe compassionate environment for the employee filing a complaint.
c. Listen, evaluate, and document the situation.
d. While there is a need to be aware of motivations for false accusation, remember that rarely will someone put them self through the stress of reporting sexual harassment unless it is true. In fact, they often wait longer than they should have before reporting.
5. Maintain a zero-tolerance policy – this is the crucial key to prevention.
Springborn Staffing advocates freedom from sexual harassment. Contact us for best matches between professional candidates and companies in Bangor and Portland, Maine.