Workplace Sexual Harassment in the Spotlight

Policy and training are key to prevention

Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Glenn Thrush, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Kevin Spacey, Russell Simmons, Roy Moore, and the list goes on and on. This renewed focus on sexual assault and sexual harassment is guaranteed to bring more emphasis on this hot topic in the workplace in the coming years. This national discussion makes it all the more important that employers reemphasize their commitment to a harassment-free workplace.”

Three things that every business should have:

  1. Up-to-date Harassment Policy
  2. Communicate Policy to Employees
  3. Proper Training for Employees
This starts with making sure your harassment policy is up to date. An effective and compliant policy must: identify what harassment is, state the company’s prohibition in no uncertain terms, tell employees what to do if they become aware of harassment, identify a few key people or positions to receive complaints, state that you will promptly and thoroughly investigate and take appropriate action to address harassment, and finally, prohibit retaliation. 
The next step is to make sure that policy is widely communicated to employees. This should be done in connection with and in addition to effective annual harassment training.
The EEOC states that “An employer should take all steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment…” 29 C.F.R. § 1604.11(f). Logic dictates that includes training. The law dictates it too. Training is a key element of proving the affirmative defense against liability for supervisor harassment of an employee.
This training can take many forms: video, online, in person via your human resources, or in person via outside counsel or consultants.
Each of the lawyers in the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group is qualified and capable of delivering dynamic training to your management team and staff (preferably in a separate session with management and then with management and staff). We can provide cost-effective sessions with staff or we can “train the trainer.”

For more information or if you have further questions about labor and employment law, please contact one of our attorneys. Click here for more about this practice group and a list of attorneys. 

This news alert is written by Daniel Herrington, an attorney in the Labor & Employment Practice Group at Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP. The information provided is not a substitute for legal advice and should be considered for general guidance only. Please contact one of our attorneys for specific legal advice regarding this matter.

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