If you’re smart you’ll make sure your company has a solid harassment policy to protect it against the potential of a law suit! Because without it you will be putting it in jeopardy even if you don’t know that your supervisor’s or regular employee’s are breaking the law. That’s right you are responsible for making sure that you protect your employee’s from harassment! That means you need to make sure that you inform everyone of your policy!
First you’re probably asking yourself what constitutes harassment! In order for it to be harassment the individual must be a part of a protected class! A protected class is race, religion, sex, sexual preference, national origin, age, etc. This means that in order to be harassed you would need to fall into one of these categories! However, the truth is that almost all of us depending of those around us fall into one of these categories. For instance you may be a Caucasian, which by itself is not considered a protected class. However, if you were a Caucasian and a Christian and the other members in your office were Muslims and continually criticized you for being a Christian this may be a form of harassment!
It doesn’t matter whether you know that it is occurring or not!
If this was happening and you did not have a harassment policy you would be putting your organization at risk. You have a responsibility to insure your organization protects individuals from harassment! If you don’t you are throwing the dice! It doesn’t matter whether you know that it is occurring or not! If you did nothing to inform your employee’s that it is not tolerated in your organization you will most likely be held responsible!
The easiest way to take care of this is to add a harassment policy to your employee policy manual. If you don’t have an Employee Handbook. I would highly recommend you put one together using a low cost software program that offers information on workplace harassment laws for your state. It’s to inexpensive and easy to not do it.
The next step is to take your Policy very serious!
Once you have your employee policy manual in place the next step is to make sure you add it to your annual training and most importantly to your initial orientation. Make the entire employee policy manual including the information on your Harassment Policy a regular part of your training sessions. You can instruct all your newly hired employees to read and sign acknowledging that they have done so. Then take the signed document and place it into their Personnel File! It’s that easy.
The next step is to take your Policy very serious! This starts from the top down. If you don’t enforce it then it becomes almost null and void. Once again you will be placing your organization at risk. If your employee’s don’t know how and who they can report harassment to then you have not done your job! Your job is finished when your employee’s understand, including most importantly your supervisor’s.
Good Luck and May God Bless You!
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