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Days of our [employment] lives: workplace harassment

December 06, 2017

You Too – Time to Review Your Anti-Harassment Policies (part 3)

workplace harassmentNew allegations of sexual harassment against well-known figures, from Harvey Weinstein to Roy Moore and Matt Lauer, fill our newsfeeds on a weekly basis. Millions of people have joined the #metoo movement and shared their own harassment experiences on social media. The movement is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. While not all #metoo allegations relate to the workplace or trigger applicable employment laws, there is certainly a renewed focus on sexual harassment and public support for victims to come forward with their experiences.

With this in mind, now is the perfect time to review and update your unlawful harassment policies to ensure that your policy is up to date and clearly communicates your company’s anti-harassment position and reporting expectations. The following elements are integral to an effective program to prevent and respond to unlawful workplace harassment:

  • A clear and concise description of the behavior that is not acceptable in the workplace;
  • A statement that makes the policy applicable to all employees – including executive leadership;
  • A reporting protocol that mandates reporting of all violations of the policy and provides for multiple reporting mechanisms (e.g., employees should not be limited to reporting policy violations to a single member on the human resources team); and 
  • A provision that unmistakably prohibits retaliation for reporting harassment or participating in an investigation.

Finally, a policy is only as good as its implementation. Accordingly, regular communication and training regarding the policy is critical to any employer’s efforts to address and discourage harassment in the workplace.

Our team is here to help review and revise your policies. In addition, we offer training on these matters to assist in the education of your workforce.

This post is part of Godfrey & Kahn's mini series The days of our [employment] lives.

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