Sexual harassment in the workplace is unfortunately a problem for many businesses across the country. A 2018 survey done by nonprofit organization Stop Street Harassment found that over 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime.
Considering that most people spend at least 40 hours a week at their job, this is a very likely place for harassment to occur. But businesses can help combat the problem. Thanks to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, more people are starting to fight back against negative work culture. It all comes down to being able to take long-term action.
In the age of increased awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere, it's important that businesses understand the issue and have changed their ways to reflect the times, particularly if your policies were written many years ago and have not been updated. Through awareness, training and policy updates, sexual harassment claims can be effectively reduced, making a more positive workplace environment for everyone and reducing employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) claims.
The Basics That Should Be Considered For Any Workplace
Law Business Media advises that every management liability policy be comprehensive, with multiple ways to report on harassment. When there’s more than one way to report, employees feel safer about their position. It’s the best way to ensure that no one is scared of retribution at their job. And if harassment is coming from higher levels, having multiple contacts means that no employee has to fear reprisal.
On top of that, employees need extensive training focusing on anti-harassment every so often. Procedures that provide for investigation and resolution of any harassment complaints need to be raised underneath the employer’s policy as well.
These preventative measures make sure that everyone stays in check and the workplace remains positive and productive. The next thing to do is reviewing policies. Having them up-to-date ensures that a business is protected if anything happens. No one wants to deal with a claim, but they happen. Preparation is key.
What Your HR Policies Should Contain
When updating business HR policies, this is what you should consider:
- Are the policies compliant to the law? It’s not just about complying with state laws. You need to adhere to federal laws as well. Harassment needs to be covered from every angle.
- Policies need to clearly state what kind of behavior is prohibited. They also need to provide access to multiple avenues for employees to report sexual harassment. There shouldn’t just be one supervisor in charge of everything. It’s almost like checks and balances; these things are implemented in order to provide a safe workplace for everybody.
- It needs to be clear that sexual harassment is taken seriously and every case will be thoroughly investigated. It’s also important to mention that retaliation will not be tolerated.
- Consequences need to be explained clearly and fully. If your policy is lacking any of these things, it’s time to add them in.
- Your policies should be enforced consistently. Whatever your disciplinary measures are, they should be uniform across the business, no matter what department someone works in or how senior they are. Inconsistently applied punishments could be grounds for an employment practices claim, and employees will be less likely to take them seriously.
About Axis Insurance
At Axis Insurance Services, we aim to help our customers identify their exposures and protect themselves. Founded in 1999, we offer insurance programs to a wide variety of professionals and industries including attorneys, real estate, healthcare, architects, and more, and also have a wholesale division. We pride ourselves on offering flexible insurance coverage tailored specifically to each customer’s needs. To learn more about our solutions, contact us at (201) 847-9175 to speak with one of our professionals.