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Preventing Harassment in Businesses: Improving Reporting Methods





Although many want to claim that their business is harassment free, experts found that at least 96 percent of workers have felt some kind of unwanted workplace tension. And only two percent of those workers won’t seek some kind of recourse through levels of aggression. This kind of information should be a little unsettling for business owners.


Harassment comes in all kinds of forms; having prevention methods for all of them is incredibly important for a business to flourish. The biggest part of the puzzle, however, is complaint methods. If employees are unable to safely report harassment, the problem will continue to fester and exacerbate into something worse.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found five essential ways to improve reporting methods on workplace harassment. While having a management liability policy in place will safeguard a business, being able to take more preventative measures means that the last resort doesn’t have to be used.

Who Can Bring Complaints Should Be Clearly Known

It’s not about just giving employees the power to report their harassment freely without retribution. Others who witness harassment should be able to voice their concerns safely as well.

Even if the conduct isn’t unlawful, it can still be reported. Not all harassment comes in immediately illegal forms. By enforcing strong standards, it’ll be clear to employees that no form of harassment is tolerated.

While one sexist joke isn’t against the law, it’s enough to breach company policy, for example. It’s not just about sexist issues, though. Racial, ethnic, religious, ageist and gender problems must also be addressed thoroughly. How they all relate to harassment, discrimination and retaliation comes into play as well.

Multiple Points of Contact Are Crucial

Considering that harassment can happen at any level, it’s important to remember that you just can’t trust everyone that works for your company. With that in mind, having a system in place where multiple people can take in complaints is key for workplace growth.

Then having another set for disciplinary measures is even better. Unfortunately, supervisors can be capable of harassment. Which means having different sets of eyes will help balance out any possible workplace bias.

Be Concise With What Constitutes Harassment

Being detailed when describing what falls under workplace harassment is the best way to make sure that every employee is aware of what type of behavior is prohibited at work. This includes harassment through email, social media, at public work events, in the office and other third-parties.

There Must Be Protection Against Retaliation

When someone reports harassment, this puts them in a place to be targeted by the harasser themselves. That’s why it’s imperative that no one gets caught in the crossfire for trying to do the right thing.

Complaints and witnesses equally need protection. Policies against retaliation should be loud and clear for every employee to read. And just because a complaint might not be court-worthy doesn’t mean that a harasser is going to be in the clear to do what they please.

Strong, Corrective Action is Needed

Once a complaint has been addressed, it’s time to discuss what disciplinary options are available moving forward for the harasser. No matter where the conduct takes place, if it is reported there are grounds for actions to be taken.

It’s also good to note that it should be clear that an employee might face termination for their actions. When there’s harassment policies in place that work, there’s going to be more complaints.

But knowing about them means that a business can tackle them sooner; and will ensure that management liability insurance and employment practices liability insurance will only have to be a backup.



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.



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