Legally, companies can also be held responsible for their staffs’ actions in workplace sexual harassment cases. Employers can only defend themselves if they prove that they took reasonable steps to prevent harassment.
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A sexual harassment lawyer Austin can guide you better on navigating your case and claiming damages.
Here are 4 practices that both employers and employees can implement to ensure a safe working space for all –
Get The Management Involved
The Board and CEO must show that harassment is unacceptable. They should make it clear that harassment is a matter of equal punishment across all company levels, regardless of if employees are involved. The Board should review critical data about sexual harassment, such as the number of cases and the average time taken by the company to resolve them. They should approve the anti-harassment policies and participate in training courses about sexual harassment at work.
Employees should be aware of and have access to reporting channels for sexual harassment cases.
If that is not possible implementation channels can include a case management system and make sure they are communicated. Note that reporting channels make it easier to report if you feel unsafe. Although such channels can make it more challenging to investigate, a 2-way communication with the anonymous reporter can build trust and lead to the reporter disclosing additional information.
Make sure all employees are aware of your anti-harassment policy.
Your anti-harassment policy should:
- Clearly define sexual harassment. It may include unwanted touching, sexual remarks or jokes, and sexual gestures etc.
- Make use of examples and case studies for better understanding.
- Encourage employees to report harassment. The policy should also include information about the reporting channels.
- Describe the procedures for investigating complaints, formal/informal resolution, and other related matters.
- Specify the disciplinary sanctions which will be applied if harassment has occurred (including dismissal if necessary).
All employees should be trained on how to prevent sexual harassment.
Not only does education help to prevent inappropriate behavior and unwanted advances, but it also empowers people who might encounter sexual harassment to report and recognize these cases. Training creates a sense of safety and community within a workplace, and everyone works towards the same goal. Bystander training should be included in the training content, which teaches employees what they can do if they see sexual harassment happening to another person.
Do not wait for employee reports to discover the extent of the problem within your company.In your annual employee engagement survey, be proactive and ask questions to determine if other staff have been harassed or witnessed something similar.
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Find out if they have ever reported it. This will allow you to assess the effectiveness of your company’s reporting program.
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