If you are an employer, it is your legal responsibility to maintain a sexual harassment-free workplace. Not only is it the law, it is good for business. Allowing a culture of harassment can lead to low employee productivity and morale, and it can also lead to lawsuits. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. In the article below, you will learn what constitutes sexual harassment, and you will also get some preventive strategies.
Sexual Harassment Explained
Any unwelcomed on-the-job sexual conduct that creates an offensive or intimidating work environment can be considered sexual harassment. If an employee is uncomfortable with any type of sexual conduct, there is a potential for a harassment accusation. With such a broad definition, harassment can come in many forms, such as:
* Supervisors implying that an employee must grant sexual favors to keep a job or get a promotion
* A worker making degrading comments about customers of a certain gender
* Office personnel telling off-color jokes
* Touching against an employee’s will
* Using sexist or degrading names to refer to a co-worker
* Posting sexually explicit material on employee message boards
* Sending sexually explicit emails
The perpetrator of harassment can be the victim’s co-worker, manager or supervisor, and an employer can be held liable if a nonemployee such as a customer or vendor commits the harassment.
Sexual Harassment can Happen to Anyone
Contrary to popular belief, sexual harassment is gender-neutral. However, women who have been harassed by men bring the majority of claims and accusations. Same-sex people can harass each other, if the conduct is based on sex instead of orientation (which is not a protected status).
Employers can take a few steps to reduce the incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace. The first step is to adopt a clear policy on sexual harassment, and put it in the employee handbook for all workers to read. The policy should:
* Clearly define harassment
* State that such conduct will not be tolerated
* State that perpetrators will be sanctioned or terminated
* Set forth a procedure for the filing of harassment complaints
* State that all complaints will be investigated, and that retaliatory actions will not be tolerated
Every year, employees, managers and supervisors should undergo sexual harassment training. All workers should learn their rights and responsibilities, and how to file a complaint if necessary. If you need help understanding Sexual Harassment Law Springfield MA, call a lawyer today.