How-To

Sexual Harassment Policies

A good way to avoid any legal hassles and headaches caused by your employees is to have a policy regarding sexual harassment. Typically, businesses, even small businesses, have an employee handbook in which all policies are clearly written for the employees to understand.

Sexual harassment policies are probably among the most important policies that are to be implemented by businesses, including small businesses. This policy should state forcefully that your company will absolutely not tolerate actions or activities that violate the sexual harassment policy, including, but not limited to:

Crude comments of a sexual nature, e-mails, jokes, messages, drawings, or photographs.

Unwelcome and inappropriate physical contact, sexual advances, requests of a sexual nature, or suggestions.

Behavior or statements that imply that someone is to perform sexual favors or acts in return for a raise or a job, to keep a job, and any other form of compensation.

In the case of an employee claiming sexual harassment within your company, it is required that you investigate the claim. And remember, a claim can be against those outside your company, including a contractor, vendor, client, or consultant. In your policy, it should be clearly written how sexual harassment claims will be handled and reported and what other steps will be taken to determine what happened exactly. The most important thing you can do is to remain neutral during the investigation. Do not make the mistake of taking sides; this can cause more problems. You need to gather all of the facts before you can dismiss a claim or accuse anyone of anything.

If it has been decided that sexual harassment has taken place, disciplinary action needs to be carried out. This should also be outlined in your policy on Sexual Harassment. And do your homework when drafting this policy; it is important that you don’t leave something out when making the policy.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.eeoc.gov) has made it their goal to help prevent against any type of workplace discrimination, whether sexual or in any other form. For more information on sexual harassment, visit www.eeoc.gov/types/sexual_harassment.html).