How To Stop Workplace Harassment
Despite legislative efforts and public awareness campaigns, workplace harassment remains an issue throughout California and across the country. As lawyers dedicated to protecting the rights of workers, we have handled multitudes of harassment cases in our careers. Along the way, we have learned what employers can do to prevent workplace harassment. Whether your employees wear blue collars or white, the tips discussed below can help you avoid harassment claims.
Develop an Anti-Harassment Policy
If you do not already have an anti-harassment policy, this should be your top priority. Unfortunately, many employers think that anti-harassment policies are nothing more than a way to protect themselves in the event that someone files a claim. The truth is that a carefully drafted harassment policy can form the foundation for a more positive work environment. Your policy should contain the following elements:
- A provision clearly stating that harassment will not be tolerated in any form
- A process for reporting harassment that is clear and easy for employees to follow
- A provision stating that you will protect the confidentiality of your employees who report harassment or participate in an investigation
- A provision stating that employees will not be punished for reporting harassment or participating in an investigation
- A clear and easy-to-understand description of the efforts that you will undertake to respond to and investigate complaints
- A description of the consequences of violating the harassment policy
If you already have an anti-discrimination policy, it should be periodically reviewed to see if it is in need of any updates. Furthermore, copies of the policy should be provided to each employee and posted in high-visibility locations around the workplace.
Ensure that the Policy Is Implemented and Followed
Your anti-harassment policy is worthless if it isn’t properly implemented. Management personnel and employees should be periodically reminded that there is a process for reporting harassment. Employees who want to report harassment should be referred to the process laid out in the policy.
One of the biggest mistakes that employers make is failing to follow their own policy. Receiving a complaint and failing to conduct a thorough investigation, dismissing it out of hand, or simply doing nothing will expose you to tremendous liability if the worker decides to file a complaint.
Train Your Managers
You may want to consider sensitivity training for your managers aimed at identifying and preventing workplace harassment. At a minimum, managers should be reminded that they have an obligation to report any instances of harassment they are aware of. More importantly, they should take immediate steps to address and prevent further harassment.
Talk to an Anti-Harassment Lawyer at Attorneys for Employees
Attorneys for Employees is an employment law firm focused on protecting the rights of workers. If you have been the victim of harassment at work, we can help you protect your rights and your career. Contact us online to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.