All employers must be proactive in preventing and discouraging incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace. Victims of harassment may be able to file lawsuits against their employers if the employer has not sufficiently implemented or followed protective policies.
Here are a few examples of some of the steps employers should take to prevent issues with sexual harassment:
- Written policies: There should be a written nondiscrimination policy that includes policies against sexual harassment, and all forms of harassment. This policy should explicitly define sexual harassment, and it should be published in the employee handbook and posted in the workplace.
- Complaint avenues: Employers should have specific instructions for how employees can report incidents of harassment, beyond just the employee’s immediate supervisor. This could include a hotline or interactive website.
- Records: Employers should keep careful records of all reports and all steps taken to investigate those reports.
- Training: Employers should conduct regular training seminars on harassment and require attendance at those seminars.
- Investigation: Employers should investigate all complaints thoroughly and promptly, and have objective parties conduct the investigations.
- Corrective action: If the investigation reveals the complaint was in fact justified, employer should take immediate corrective action against the harassing employee. The complainant should also be informed of the action taken and given the opportunity to bring any other issues to the attention of the employer.
- Closing investigations: If the investigation reveals the complaint was unfounded, the employer should close the investigation and inform both the complaining party and the accused party.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace and believe your employer’s actions (or lack thereof) created a culture in which that harassment was allowed to exist, contact an experienced Bradenton, FL attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh to discuss your potential lawsuit.