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Creating a harassment-free workplace

It is unlikely you have missed the news stories about the many women coming forward to accuse powerful men of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. While the details of these encounters may have horrified you, they also may have caused you to take a closer look at the policies in your own business.

If you have concerns that you are not doing enough to protect your employees from harassment and, as a result, to protect your business from a devastating lawsuit, you may benefit from seeking advice about the best practices for creating a workplace culture that does not tolerate harassment of any kind.

Do you have a policy in place?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is no longer something that is an acceptable part of the private business environment. You can be the one to impress upon your employees the shameful consequences of someone who uses his or her position in the business to take advantage of another person. This begins by establishing and publishing a formal policy against sexual harassment. If your business does not have such a policy in place, it may be to your advantage to make this an urgent priority.

By adopting a sexual harassment policy, you can provide your employees and managers with clarity about behaviors that you will not tolerate in your business. Additionally, such policies generally include important information for any employee who is a victim of harassment. Your employees will know what steps they can expect you to take to protect them.

Important elements in your sexual harassment policy

To ensure that your policy is legally sound, you may benefit from seeking assistance from a California employment law attorney. An additional benefit to this is having a ready advocate in the event an employee complains of harassment on the job.

There are a range of terms business owners may find it important to have in their policies. These include:

  • An anti-retaliation clause: It is illegal to retaliate against someone who complains of harassment, but a policy can further back up this prohibition to ensure victims of their safety on the job.
  • A zero-tolerance clause: Such clauses can help employees know that claims of harassment or sexual assault will be taken seriously and responded to strongly.

Of course, having a policy in place and easily accessible is only the first step. Your dedication to the safety and well-being of your employees will be evident in the way you encourage respect among your workers. Meeting regularly to discuss the anti-harassment policies and remind workers of their obligations to adhere to the code of conduct will go a long way to maintaining a respectful work environment.

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