Invest in Training to Prevent Workplace Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment claims can be expensive for your business, and damage your reputation. These claims are usually covered extensively in the media, leading to bad publicity for your business.
When it comes to sexual harassment, it is not nearly enough to outline the strict policies of your workplace in an employee handbook that is handed over to every employee when they join. It is equally important to make sure that managers and higher-ups as well as supervisors are all trained to recognize sexual harassment in the workplace, and step in to control damage.
Supervisors tend to be some of the first persons who might become aware of teasing, joking, lewd gestures, and other signs of workplace behavior that are completely undesirable and unacceptable. The small business owner, or the boss, is very rarely aware of what is going on on the ground, and it is the supervisors and the middle managers that may be tuned to the office environment much more than you, and may be privy to all of these goings-on at the office that could spell litigation trouble for you.
For instance, if male employees are cracking off-color jokes in front of female employees, a supervisor could over hear these conversations, or could have these conversations reported back. If a supervisor at your workplace notices male employees making such jokes, the matters must be brought to your attention immediately, and the employee must be corrected. It does not matter if the female employees are laughing at those jokes. It does not even matter if nobody immediately objects to such jokes. You may find later when a harassment lawsuit is filed that those very same off-color jokes are labeled “obscene” or “lewd”, and used as evidence of sexual harassment in your workplace.
These situations occur far too often for employers to be blasé about these matters. Invest in training for supervisors and managers, and make sure that focus is strongly on topics like obscene jokes, sexually explicit images or jokes being shared via email in the office, or off-color comments. If you have a workplace with more than 50 employees, you must provide at least two hours of sexual harassment training for supervisors every two years.