Business owners and employers have a duty to their employers to make sure the work environment is safe and welcoming for all. Most of the time, employers have procedures in place to address things such as fire safety, inclement weather, power outages and other incidents, but what about methods for reporting wrongdoing in the workplace? Unfortunately, sexual harassment and discrimination still occur in the workplace, so employers should have strict policies and procedures to address such issues.
DEVELOP A PLAN
Employers should develop and implement strict policies regarding sexual harassment, discrimination and other unlawful practices in the workplace. They should also adhere to the following suggestions when dealing with sexual harassment and other issues:
- Ensure the complaining employee that his or her matter is being taken seriously
- Give the employee one’s full attention and take care to record the specifics of the harassment and when it occurred
- Reassure the employee his or her claim will remain confidential
- Meet privately with other employees who either witnessed the incident or can provide trustworthy testimony regarding the incident
GET THE OTHER SIDE
While investigating the sexual harassment claims, the employer must also meet with the alleged offender and remain objective when listening to his or her side of the story. Upon determining sexual harassment did take place, the employer must also impose proper and swift action against any offending employee, using the procedures the employer has in place to address such issues. Finally, an employer will do well to work with an experienced employment law attorney for assistance in developing sexual harassment policies and procedures as well as having someone to rely upon for any resulting litigation.