It has seemingly become the norm to turn on your TV or mobile device and hear about yet another member in the public eye being accused of, or confessing to sexual harassment. Politicians, actors, judges - the list goes on. This heightened awareness is causing employers to take notice.
Employers are requesting increasing guidance on how to have constructive conversations with their employees and how to handle claims of harassment or general workplace conduct concerns. This is the time to make sure your organization isn’t caught unprepared.
If you don’t have a current, up to date anti-harassment policy, now is the time to write one. If you have a policy but it hasn’t been reviewed or revised recently, work with your HR department to ensure your policy is current. Most importantly, this policy needs to be communicated and reviewed with employees throughout your organization.
If action is needed, take it. Whether it is a rumor going around the office or a social media post that insinuates something is amiss, it is always worth looking into. Each complaint must be addressed and investigated thoroughly. Organizations need to send the message to their employees that harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated under any circumstance.
While every California employer with more than 50 employees is mandated to provide anti-harassment training to all managers and supervisors, no organization is free from a harassment claim. Every organization can benefit from anti-harassment training, no matter their size.
Harassment training must be renewed every two years and provided to supervisors and managers within 6 months of hire or a promotion. In recent years, the requirements for these trainings have been amended to include anti-bullying policies, anti-retaliation prevention and will soon need to include preventing harassment due to gender or sexual orientation.
This conversation is not going away. Employers must be ready to take proactive steps now, and address claims should they arise.