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Tips for employers to address sexual harassment in the workplace

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2019 | Employment Law |

It is imperative to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. In recent years, this issue has gained a lot of attention. Many employers have come under fire after workers stepped forward saying that they were sexually harassed in the workplace. This can be disastrous, not only from a financial perspective but also in terms of a company’s reputation.

If an employee steps forward saying that they were sexually harassed, it is important for employers to approach the issue carefully. So, here are some essential tips to help California employers manage these complicated cases.

Employers must:

  1. Take all claims seriously: The Society for Human Resources Management advises all supervisors or employers to take all complaints seriously. That being said, it is critical that employers do not take sides, so to speak, while investigating these claims. Employers must focus on the facts to resolve these situations efficiently.
  2. Create a plan to investigate the claim: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides employers with a guide to navigate sexual harassment claims. In addition to this guide, employers must determine how they will collect the facts and conduct interviews with the employees.
  3. Determine how to manage the accused employee: It is important to be civil with the accused employee, but it may also be necessary to put them on leave. Employees may get hostile when they learn of a complaint against them, so employers should discuss matters with Human Resources before approaching the employee.
  4. Look out for retaliation: Employers must prevent retaliation in the workplace. Filing a sexual harassment complaint is a protected activity and employers could face even more legal issues if they do not prevent or handle any retaliation against the employee who filed the claim.
  5. Revisit the company’s policies: After the investigation, employers should ensure their company policies regarding sexual harassment are truly effective. This can help prevent future issues, as well as continue to protect the business.

It may be possible to resolve these incidents out of the courtroom. In many cases, however, employees who allege that they were subjected to sexual harassment decide to file a complaint or a lawsuit. It might be beneficial for employers to consult an experienced business attorney to determine how they can create a plan to protect both their employees and the future of their business.