Mainstream media has cast new light on workplace sexual harassment in recent years. Every business owner should be aware not only of what constitutes sexual harassment but also how to handle those complaints. Mistakes in responding to a complaint can be costly to a business.
Every business owner should understand the basics of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Sexual harassment is not gender-exclusive
Sexual harassment is often thought to originate with men and target women. Anyone can be the target of sexual harassment, regardless of gender. Not only that, but harassment can come from either gender as well. Do not dismiss a claim coming from a male employee or one referring to a female employee’s actions.
Sexual harassment is not authority-based
Sexual harassment is not limited to the actions of a superior. Harassment of this sort can occur between equals as well as by a subordinate to a superior. Do not consider the position of either party when you assess a sexual harassment complaint.
Sexual harassment does not have to be direct
Sexual harassment complaints can come from those who were not directly affected by the situation. Simply overhearing a statement or witnessing an action is enough to warrant a complaint if it made the observing party feel uncomfortable.
Protect your company’s interests with a thorough understanding of sexual harassment cases. This helps build a reputation for your business as a safe working environment. Establish procedures to take every complaint seriously, including defined steps for legal assistance when it is necessary.