Employers have an obligation to prevent sexual and other forms of harassment in the workplace. Unfortunately some employers are under the mistaken belief that their sexual harassment policy adequately covers them. Here are some common mistakes I have noticed while conducting employment compliance reviews:
- The written policy against harassment doesn’t include an anti-retaliation provision for those employees who report harassment.
- The written policy does not provide and communicate in writing multiple channels for the complaint procedure. Employees should be able to report harassment to more than one person within the company. The complaint process should be clearly defined in your employment manual.
- Supervisors are not trained each year and supervisors are not required to report harassing conduct. Consequently employers often miss out on a possible defense in any lawsuit.
- Once notified of harassing conduct employers fail to take immediate action to investigate. Employers have the attitude that the employee must "deal with it." Complaints of harassment are often not taken seriously.
- Offenders are not disciplined or terminated as appropriate.
Commit these mistakes at your peril.