Discrimination and harassment complaints against your company can be time-consuming, costly, and embarrassing. To have a safe and healthy work environment, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page about harassment and discrimination.
A detailed anti-harassment policy is your company’s first line of defense against claims, but just having a policy isn’t enough. Here are five ways to proactively protect your company from harassment complaints.
Five ways to avoid harassment complaints in the workplace
1. Develop an anti-harassment/discrimination policy
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a good anti-harassment policy should contain:
A detailed description of prohibited conduct
Protection from retaliation for those who report harassment or discrimination
Procedures for reporting harassment
Assurance that best efforts will be made to keep complaints confidential
A quick, thorough, and unbiased investigation
Assurance that immediate corrective action will be taken if harassment is found to have occurred
Clearly defined consequences for violating the harassment policy
2. Distribute and post your policy company-wide
You need to make sure all members of your organization receive and understand your policy. Have your employees sign an anti-harassment agreement and keep it in each employee’s file. It is a good idea to outline your policy and display it in a common space where employees gather.
3. Educate and train management
Harassment can be difficult to identify and sometimes managers do not know how to respond to harassment complaints appropriately. By training your managers with specific examples, you can eliminate much of the guess work. Provide workplace harassment training that is interactive so they can ask questions or receive feedback.
4. Provide training to new hires and all employees on an annual basis
Providing harassment training to new hires is important because it helps to ensure that all employees understand harassment and discrimination and how to avoid it. You should also train your employees on the consequences of violating your anti-harassment/discrimination policy.
5. Give your employees options for reporting harassment
To ensure employees feel safe reporting harassment or discrimination, designate at least one person of each gender to receive harassment complaints. There have been cases where someone committing workplace harassment is the same person to whom an employee would need to report the harassment. This can obviously discourage the person experiencing the harassment from reporting it. That's why your employees need a few options for making harassment complaints quickly and confidentially.
Need to upgrade your company policies? We can help!
If you would like more information on how to protect your company from harassment complaints, schedule a free consultation with one of our HR representatives today.