What You Need to Know About Creating a Sexual Harassment Policy
Every company has specific rules and policies in place. For example, you may be given a week of vacation time after one year of employment. Perhaps you can work from home on Fridays. Maybe jeans are not allowed. Perhaps you need a badge to enter your building.
As you skim through your company handbook, you may come across dozens of pages of rules and policies. There is probably one thing that is missing though – a sexual harassment policy.
While sexual harassment is against the law, it is not the focus of many companies. They are under the impression that it will not happen in their workplace, and if it does, they will be able to handle it appropriately.
No matter how many employees a company has, creating a sexual harassment policy is always a good idea. A good policy outlines what to expect and how situations are handled. A good policy is clear and complete and leaves no room for misinterpretation.
Does your company have a sexual harassment policy in place? If not, now is a good time to create one. Here are some guidelines to follow.
Sexual Harassment Policy Checklist:
When it comes to creating a sexual harassment policy, there is no room for vagueness or ambiguity. A good policy is specific and detailed. Here are some elements it should include.
- Zero Tolerance: There are often gray areas when it comes to sexual harassment, which means that employees often feel free to harass others. It helps to have a zero tolerance policy in place. Employees will not have to worry about whether they crossed the line because they will not get that far in the first place.
- A clear definition with examples: It is good to include as much detail as possible. Examples are helpful, as well. Nobody should have questions as to whether or not a certain situation would constitute sexual harassment.
- Duty to report: Those who have been sexually harassed in the workplace should be aware that they have a duty to report it as soon as possible so the offending party can be appropriately punished.
- Protection against retaliation: Many victims and witness are afraid to report sexual harassment because they fear workplace retaliation. Your policy should make it clear that those who report sexual harassment will not face retaliation from management.
- Detailed procedures: Your sexual harassment policy should have a step-by-step procedure. Everyone should know what to expect.
- Training: Training should occur when the policy is first implemented and continue on a regular basis. Training is important because it teaches employees what sexual harassment entails, what to do when it occurs, and the procedures that must be followed.
Contact a New York Sexual Harassment Attorney
All employers should have a solid sexual harassment policy in place, but the policy also needs to have the required elements to make sure it works.
Whether you are an employer needing help creating a policy or an employee who has been harassed in the workplace, the experienced New York sexual harassment attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help. We know New York sexual harassment laws and can give you the advice you need. Contact us at (347) 464-8694 to schedule a consultation.