From the SymbianceHR Newsletter.
If you have watched or heard any of the attest news highlights in recent weeks, the topic of sexual harassment is popping up all over the country and across industries. Increased education and awareness of the behaviors and conduct that lead to violations of employee’s rights in the workplace have and will continue to lead to an increase in complaints and litigation. Ignorance in this arena is not bliss, and your failure as a manager, supervisor or business owner in what your obligations are to protect your workforce will not excuse you in court.
You must take proactive steps to educate your leadership on the laws and regulations they must adhere to and follow to protect your employment practices. Employers need to take steps to prohibit, prevent, and protect employees from all forms of harassment. Let us also not forget the critical training needed to ensure no one in the organization is retaliated against for raising their concerns to management.
When you think about harassment, do not limit yourself to sexual quid pro quo harassment. Instead recognize there can be workplace bullying that could fall into the category of harassment, sexual harassment by peers, vendors, customers, etc., and there is the recognized topic of a hostile work environment that reveals itself as harassment based on a protected characteristic.
Building a culture and workplace environment that is harassment free should be not only a goal of the business, but a strategy to attract and retain the best employees. Regular and periodic training is important to support the goals of your harassment prevention programs, and appropriate open-door policies and two-way communication empower the success of these initiatives.
Take this topic seriously regardless of how small or large your business is. The financial risk and exposure to the community and the customers and clients you serve can be destroyed overnight if you fail to manage your employment practices effectively.