The #MeToo movement has been pivotal in exposing the abuses many people suffer both in and out of the workplace. The rise of the movement has helped expose areas where companies failed to implement protocols and training that could prevent and immediately address instances of reported sexual harassment. As the movement continues to help people find the courage to speak up, companies of all sizes need to proactively work to prevent instances of sexual harassment in the workplace as well as ensure protocols are in place if and when a situation arises.
While all companies should work to prevent sexual harassment to protect its employees, doing so also protects the company as a whole. As we have seen, the #MeToo movement hasn’t just had implications for the individuals involved, but has also caused irreparable damage to companies. Sexual harassment claims damage a company’s reputation, destroy company moral, and can lead to significant financial issues.
Preventing Sexual Harassment In The Workplace
Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace begins with proper training for all employees. Training should explain what actions are considered harassment. This training needs to include the obvious and not so obvious ways sexual harassment occurs, including unacceptable physical contact, inappropriate comments, and discrimination practices. In addition to this basic training, management personnel will also need training explaining how to manage employees in a sexual harassment free workplace. Managers need to be instructed on how to handle claims of sexual harassment when they do arise. Having a process in place empowers employees and managers to come forward and report instances of sexual harassment in a safe and professional manner, which ultimately protects the company if litigation should result.
Implementing Conflict Resolution Protocols
Many victims of sexual harassment in the workplace report experiencing repeated instances of harassment, even after reporting it. This occurs because companies often do not have conflict resolution protocols in place to handle sexual harassment claims, or they simply choose to ignore them. All companies need to have a written procedure for the handling of claims. These procedures should include which personnel are involved, what path the claim takes through the hierarchy of the company, and how claims will be heard and resolved. Some companies rely on third parties to investigate claims of sexual harassment, but if a company chooses to keep the claim in-house, they need to designate an individual to investigate the claim, and this individual must remain impartial throughout the process.
Preventing Sexual Harassment Claims Is Possible
With proper planning and care companies can protect employees from sexual harassment and prevent these claims from occurring. If you would like to learn more about implementing preventative sexual harassment measures, contact MehaffyWeber today to speak with one of our experienced employment lawyers.