Fighting Workplace Harassment: The Important Role of Policies

Fighting Workplace Harassment: The Important Role of Policies

Does your organization have well-written policies in place to fight workplace harassment, identify inappropriate behavior, and provide employees an easy method of reporting such behavior? In today’s age, it has become increasingly necessary for your organization to raise awareness for workplace harassment and communicate that it will not be tolerated.

Without a comprehensive, well-written policy though, your organization is opening itself up to potential liability. For example, if your organization does have a policy and an employee did not follow said policy, or an employee did follow it and your organization also followed it as well, this could be pivotal for the defense in a potential harassment case.

Policies help your organization build:

  • Disciplinary measures - What will happen to employees who violates your organization’s harassment policy? It should be clear that they will be subject to discipline, although to what extent is in your discretion. A great policy that is well written is a foundation but is also a liability if not communicated and enforced/followed properly.
  • A comprehensive reporting policy – Any employees that feel they are experiencing harassment should be encouraged to report it to through the proper channels. Managers, supervisors, and executives need to take all complaints seriously.
  • Anti-retaliation - It must be clear to all employees that retaliation for reports will not be tolerated. Retaliation happens when a manager or executive (or someone else within the organization) fires or harasses an employee for filing a complaint or revealing harassment.
  • Effective training - Employees have to be trained effectively, on both harassment prevention and on the policy itself.
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