No employer wants to think of his or her company as a hostile environment for any employee. Unfortunately, harassment can happen at any place of business, especially without a system to prevent it.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassment is discrimination and violates the Civil Rights Act. To protect your company against allegations, you need a system that discourages harassment from occurring.
Be clear about employee expectations
Let your employees know that you do not tolerate harassment. Harassment can include offensive jokes, intimidation, mockery, epithets, slurs and insults. When other employees feel unsafe because of a supervisor, colleague or client’s actions, it may constitute harassment.
If you find out about harassment, you have to prevent and correct the behavior. For example, if you have a supervisor treating an employee differently, failing to promote or creating a hostile work environment, you have to take action against it. The law describes harassment as conduct against another person based on race, religion, color, sex, age, disability and genetic information.
Put together a system for complaints
Make sure your employees feel welcome to talk to you or your managers about harassment in the workplace. You should have a policy that allows people to make reports without worrying about retaliation. Give employees confidence that you take all allegations of harassment seriously. The system you create should ensure someone investigates claims of harassment immediately.
Business owners from a wide variety of industries should worry about harassment allegations. Mishandled allegations can land companies in employment law disputes. Forgetting small details with your harassment policy may result in serious issues later.