Most employers recognize that they are required to treat employees with respect and may not sexually harass their workers. However, what many employers may not realize is that they also have a duty to provide a workplace that is free of sexual harassment from coworkers and management. This may seem like a daunting task, especially for employers that reign over a large workforce, but there are certain measures an employer can take to create a harassment-free work environment.
For starters, employers should adopt a clear policy with regard to sexual harassment. When a policy is thorough and explicit, employees have guidance as to what behavior falls outside the lines. This policy should define sexual harassment, explain that it will not be tolerated, offer guidelines as to discipline and provide victims with a procedure for filing claims of sexual harassment. This policy should be printed in employee handbooks and put in the hands of every worker.
Further, employees should be trained at least once a year about sexual harassment. While it may be obvious to some employees, others may not recognize that their behavior rises to the level of sexual harassment. If an employer takes the time to outline what this harassment is in a direct way, it offers its employees an education that could reduce future problems. This training should also be extended to supervisors and managers who are not immune to such behavior and, in fact, may use their senior roles to oppress and silence employees who fear retaliation.
Beyond training, employers should do their part to monitor the workplace. This includes directly supervising employees’ behavior as well as taking any claims of harassment seriously. If an employee reports harassment, an employer should immediately investigate the complaint and take swift action if it proves valid.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in your workplace, speak with an experienced New York employment law attorney at Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC.