Workplace Harassment is a very real issue in companies of all sizes. It is your job as a business owner to make sure you have a solid policy in place to deal with any situations that may arise within your organization. Many employers are unfamiliar with the rules and obligations that businesses need to follow to ensure that their employees are being protected from harassment of any type. In this blog we are going to talk about what you can do to prevent harassment from happening in your organization, and how we can help you put processes and plans in place to deal with any issues that arise.
What is Workplace Harassment?
Workplace Harassment is defined as “Any unwelcome or offensive content in the workplace based on an individual’s identity. This can include offensive jokes, slurs, epithets, name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule, mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.”
Many people think harassment is only sexual, but it can also involve various identities such as sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
What are employers responsible for when it comes to workplace Harassment?
While we would like to think that our employees are wonderful and are not going to participate in these negative behaviors, it happens all the time. If you are not proactive in providing tools and resources to educate your employees, you may be responsible for any legal repercussions that stem from harassment that takes place.
The Supreme Court states that it is an employer’s primary duty under federal harassment law to exercise “reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct harassing behavior.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, ensures that employers must guard against unlawful discrimination and implementing anti harassment training is considered a reasonable preventative practice and will help cover the organization to limit liability in the case of a lawsuit or any other lega action that stems from inappropriate workplace conduct.
Developing an Effective Workplace Harassment Program
It is the employers responsibility to prevent and correct any and all forms of harassment that happen in the workplace. This can be done by properly developing a program that provides education, training, and to clearly communicate the anti-harassment policies that have been put into place by the organization. By providing proper training, you will educate your employees as to what is acceptable and what is not. This training will also provide your employees with information on what to do if they feel they are being harassed by another employee.
How Doyle Can Help
We have helped many of our clients develop policies and procedures that will help your business become compliant and reduce or eliminate all harassment issues within your organization. The key to a good anti-harassment policy is to have solutions in place that allow your employees to become educated on what is acceptable and what is not and how to handle any issues that may arise within the workplace.
The first step we take is to develop formal anti-harassment policies that are compliant with federal and state laws. These policies will live in the employee handbook that all employees receive upon being hired. We will also require all employees to e-sign and verify that they have read and understand the policies outlined in the handbook.
We will also develop a Learning Management System where employees training needs are managed. You can track what employees have received training and who has not. The courses provide interactive training that use real life scenarios to educate your staff.
We will then create an online portal that will allow employees to anonymously report any issues they have with the organization or if they are experiencing harassment from other employees. The portal will allow your HR to to efficiently manage any issues and report and track progress on how they are going to resolve the issue.
Benefits of Doyle HCM’s Workplace Harassment Prevention Program:
Doyle HCM’s workplace harassment prevention program helps to:
- Ensure employees understand what harassment is, that it is prohibited in the workplace, and how it will be handled if it does occur.
- Our training interacts with the employee and asks participants to answer questions about their knowledge or participate in role-playing exercises.
- Training courses teach both employees and managers how to identify, handle, and report difficult, real-world situations in the workplace.
- Diversity, equality, and inclusion training help contribute to a safe, respectful culture.
- Provide a positive workplace where employees feel supported.
- Minimize liability and the negative consequences of sexual harassment.
- Protect the employer’s right to ascertain affirmative defense against hostile work environment claims involving supervisors if specific criteria are met
We would love to work with you to develop a plan that makes sense for your business that also helps protect you from any issues that may arise. Being proactive and educating your staff is the most important step to having a positive harassment free experience for all of your employees!