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How to deal with sexual harassment problems with your employees

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Sexual harassment problems have plagued employees for years. It has become a national media sensation in some rural areas that are still struggling with sexual harassment issues.

One large court case gained national attention about sexual harassment. Clarence Thomas has now heard his first cases as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Prof. Anita Hill, whose charges of sexual harassment against Thomas were rejected by the U.S. Senate in its vote to confirm him, is back in her law-school classes. The impact of this high profile case is still being felt by companies.

The three main point companies typically use to discuss sexual harassment are as follows:



  • State clearly that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace.

  •  Set up procedures for dealing internally with complaints promptly, thoroughly, and fairly.

  •  Provide training programs to ensure that all employees understand what constitutes sexual harassment and the employer's plans for dealing with it.

As many people are aware, sexual harassment is degrading, inappropriate and embarrassing. Many companies have lost millions of dollars on court cases won by employees who were sexually harassed. Not only is your company's financial future at stake, but the entire reputation of the company is in question. Here are a few steps you can take to set up a sexual harassment policy.

Adopt a Clear Sexual Harassment Policy

Every company should have a clear policy on how employees should behave in the workplace. To go along with this policy, you better have a sexual harassment policy in place as well. Sexual harassment can be verbal or physical, it is an inappropriate behavior that should not be tolerated.

Reporting System
Having open communication in your company should encourage employees to feel comfortable to report any negative problems they are having. Having such an environment allows staff to report employee sexual harassment problems when they first arise before they escalate into a larger problem.

Handle Allegations

When an employee comes to you with a sexual harassment issue, it is always difficult to handle. It is typically difficult for the employee to come forward and their fears need to be assured. Your employees need to trust the company that they will take their concerns seriously and properly handle the situation. All allegations need to be investigated thoroughly by trained staff. If the case is more serious, the case needs to be handled by the police with permission of the victim.

Educate Staff
Spending money on producing and communicating information about sexual harassment and what is inappropriate and appropriate will benefit the company in the end. Having staff meetings to discuss sexual harassment problems need to be done in a comfortable environment where staff can learn with their peers.

Suspend Offenders
If an allegation of sexual abuse is brought to the attention of the organization, always suspend the offender. It is unfair for the victim to continue working with this person and is the allegations are false, it is unfair for the suspected offender to be judged by their colleagues. Victims should never be punished for reporting sexual harassment.

Investigation Team
Since sexual harassment at work is such an issue, you need to have an appropriately trained staff member to investigate allegations. This member needs to be non-judgmental, understanding, and overall they need to be a good investigator at finding out the truth.

If your company spends the time and money to properly handle sexual harassment problems, you will avoid financial disaster and PR problems. Keep open communication between your staff and management and make your company a comfortable place to work. Employee sexual harassment is not something to take lightly. Be sure to work hard at this problem and watch your company become successful.

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Posted by DF
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