Employee Handbook Small Business  Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Policy

Making sure your organization produces comprehensive professional Employee Policies is our priority therefore we created an “Employee Handbook Small Business” section on Leadership Skills for Life. Below we have provided a Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Policy to include in your employee policy manual.

Also included are “Insert Your Business Name Here” so that you can personalize this to your company. As always make changes as you see fit to ensure it meets your needs and works for your own employee policy handbook.

Employee Handbook Small Business

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Policy

“Insert Your Business Name Here” is committed to a work place environment in which all staff members of either gender are able to work freely, in a congenial environment, free from any form of sexual harassment whatsoever. Every employee of the company has the right to work in a safe and professional atmosphere that promotes healthy discourse while actively prohibiting unlawful discriminatory practices, specifically harassment. Therefore, “Insert Your Business Name Here” expects that all relationships among persons in the workplace will be free of any kind of sexual harassment whatsoever.

Definition of sexual harassment as per the Federal EEOC

The Federal agency responsible for the elimination of all forms of discrimination at the workplace is known as the Equal Employees Opportunity Commission or EEOC.

It defines sexual harassment as:

“It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.”

Sexual harassment at the workplace is covered under, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964*



Company policy regarding sexual harassment

For the purpose of this policy “Sexual Harassment” has been defined in the following terms by the company:

Sexual harassment constitutes a severe form of discrimination and is considered to be an unlawful practice under all relevant federal, state and local laws. For the purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined, (as per the guidelines established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines) as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when, for example;

★     Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment.

★     Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual. ★     Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile and or offensive working environment.

Here at “Insert Your Business Name Here” sexual harassment of any sort may include a range of subtle as well as not-so-subtle behaviors and may not be restricted to employees of different genders, which is why this policy also covers individuals of the same gender as well. Depending on the circumstances, these behaviors may include, but not limited to:

★     Unwarranted sexual advances

★     Requests for sexual favors

★     Sexually explicit jokes and innuendo

★     Verbal abuse that is of a profoundly sexual nature (Non sexual verbal abuse is covered under the anti-bullying policy of the company)

★     Remarks about an individual's body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies

★     Leering ( looking suggestively)

★     Whistling

★     Touching without consent

★     Insulting or obscene comments

★     Sexual gestures

★     Display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures (Either during or after working hours at any offices of ancillary facilities of “Insert Your Business Name Here”.

★     Any other physical, verbal or visual conduct of a definite sexual nature.

★     Under this policy any form of sexual harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is also strictly banned. Such harassment may consist of:

★     Verbal, written or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her gender and/or sexual orientation, and whose purpose is the willful creation of an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

★     Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance.

★     Any behavior that otherwise adversely affects an individual's employment opportunities with “Insert Your Business Name Here”.

Harassing behavior also includes epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; and written or graphic material that denigrates or shows sexually predatory intent toward an individual or group and that is placed on walls or elsewhere on the employer's premises or circulated in the workplace, on company time or using company equipment via e-mail, phone (including voice messages), text messages, tweets, blogs, social networking sites or other means.

“Insert Your Business Name Here” encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination or harassment. It is the policy of “Insert Your Business Name Here” to promptly and thoroughly investigate such reports. “Insert Your Business Name Here” prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or harassment or who participates in an investigation of such reports/ incidents.

Coverage of the policy

These policies apply to all potential applicants as well as current staff members of the company, whether related to conduct engaged in by fellow employees or someone not directly connected to “Insert Your Business Name Here” (e.g., an outside vendor, consultant or customer).

Any sort of sexual harassment is completely unacceptable in the workplace and in any work-related setting outside the workplace, including but not restricted to

★     Business trips

★     Business meetings

★     Business-related social events

★     Corporate retreats

★     Any other activities taking place outside company premises but nevertheless for and on behalf of “Insert Your Business Name Here”.

Procedure for filing complaints of sexual harassment

All staff members of “Insert Your Business Name Here” who think they have been the victims of any and all behavior specifically banned by this policy and moreover any and all employees who believe they may have been in a position to witness such behavior should immediately discuss their concerns with their supervisor or any member of management they feel comfortable with.

Whenever possible, “Insert Your Business Name Here” actively encourages all staff members who think they are being subjected to such inappropriate behavior to quickly and politely inform the offending party that his or her behavior is definitely ‘not’ welcome and in a very firm manner ask that said behavior be discontinued with immediate effect. Sometimes this action alone will resolve the issue.

However, if that does not happen “Insert Your Business Name Here” recognizes that a staff member who continues to be victimized may well opt to pursue the matter through a formal ‘complaint processes.

“Insert Your Business Name Here” encourages the quick reporting of such complaints or concerns so that prompt action can be taken before relationships become irreparably strained. Therefore, although no pre-specified reporting period has been established by the company, early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of sexual harassment.

Any reported allegations of harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be investigated by the company as soon as possible and with complete impartiality. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved and, where necessary, with individuals who may have observed the alleged conduct or may have other relevant knowledge of the unsavory incident.
“Insert Your Business Name Here” wishes to inform its entire staff members that the strictest confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent consistent with adequate investigation as well as the law and any subsequent correction that may be required by the offending party.

Any sort of retaliation against any individual who has reported sexual harassment or has participated or is participating in an ongoing investigation of a claim of harassment or discrimination, is strictly prohibited as per this policy and, just like the actual incident of sexual harassment itself, will be subject to strict disciplinary action as per the process of progressive discipline . Any acts of any sort of retaliatory behavior or willful incitement towards such conduct, whether conducted by the party currently under investigation or any of his friends and colleagues, should be reported immediately by the victim since said incidents would be investigated and addressed vigorously and as soon as a complaint has been filed.

The company wishes to inform all its staff members that any and all types of misconduct constituting harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be dealt with appropriately by the management.

If a party to a complaint does not agree with its resolution, that party may appeal to management.

However, it is pertinent to note that all false and malicious complaints of harassment, discrimination or retaliation made, may be the subject of rigorous disciplinary action under the relevant steps of the progressive disciplinary procedure.

Consequences of sexual harassment

Any employee of “Insert Your Business Name Here” under investigation of misconduct contained in this section will at a minimum be relocated to another area of the facility until the results of the investigation are completed. If an employee under investigation can’t be relocated they may be suspended without pay until the results of the investigation are completed. If the employee under investigation is found to be not responsible for the action they will receive any pay and benefits they missed as a result of this investigation.

If the employee that is being investigated is found to be responsible for the actions they will be subject to the progressive disciplinary process up to and including possible termination. Any repeat offense would almost inevitably mean the eventual termination of the offending staff member irrespective of his seniority and importance to the company.

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Employee Handbook Small Business – Sexual Harassment Policy