[Don’t miss the Advice and Resolution Corner Plus members-only webcast scheduled for Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 8:30 am. Register now at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3756783106283455234.]
What should our organization be doing to minimize the potential for liability for workplace harassment issues?
In regard to the issue of unlawful workplace harassment, a company must show that it took immediate and appropriate action to eliminate the offensive conduct. Prevention is the best tool for avoiding harassment charges. For this reason, employers should:
- Maintain a written policy on harassment, communicate it to all employees, and provide multiple avenues for employees to register any complaints.
- Provide training to supervisors on a regular basis.
- Make it clear to all supervisors and employees that harassment on the job will not be tolerated.
- Place particular emphasis on the company’s strong disapproval of this conduct.
- Require members of management to report any known harassment.
- Thoroughly investigate any claims of harassment.
- Provide appropriate discipline in cases of harassment.
Furthermore, under EEOC enforcement guidance, an employer’s workplace harassment policy must prohibit harassment on all protected categories, not just sex harassment (i.e., harassment on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, genetic information and disability status). According to these EEOC guidelines, the policy must include at a minimum:
- Assurance that employees will be protected against retaliation.
- The ability to make a complaint to more than just the employee’s immediate supervisor.
- Confidentiality– to the extent possible.
- Prompt, thorough and impartial investigations.
- Assurance that the employer will take immediate and appropriate corrective action when it determines that harassment has occurred.
For more information on this issue, attend the Advice and Resolution Corner Plus webinar, scheduled for January 28, 2015 (8:30 am until 9:00 am). You can self-register for this webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3756783106283455234.