In recent years, discrimination and harassment has become an important topic among employers and employees. Employers do not want to have their employees discriminated against or harassed but unfortunately it still occurs. Having updated anti-harassment policies can help both employers and employees get on the same page when it comes to these important issues. The following is a three-step approach to update harassment policies:
1. Upgrade anti-harassment policy
All companies have corporate policies that all employees have to agree to. But upgrading the harassment policy is important. All forms of harassment should be addressed in one policy. Real life examples of harassment can be important. It is also important to include forms of conduct that are not acceptable. Including examples of classic sexual harassment is important. Ensure the scope of the prohibited conduct will protect the company. Be sure to make the policy applicable to everyone who works there as well as third-party vendors. Conduct outside of work for co-workers should also be covered.2. Strengthen the complaint process
If an employee believes they have been harassed, they need a clear-cut complaint process. A company should clarify who can bring a complaint. If someone witnessed harassment, they must be able to bring a complaint as well as the person who received the harassment. There should also be multiple ways that an employee can bring a complaint. These may include through their supervisor, through HR, an anonymous tip line, email, etc. Complaints should be investigated in a fair manner and strong corrective action needs to be taken by the company.
3. A company needs to have an anti-retaliation policy.
Even if the harassment has no merit, an employee or witnesses should not be retaliated against. The policy should protect an employee from retaliatory termination along with less obvious adverse consequences. The anti-retaliation policy needs to be communicated with everyone involved in the investigation complaint.
A legal professional who is skilled in workplace discrimination can be a good resource for an employer looking to update their harassment policy. They can help an employer understand what is important to be included in a policy and make sure it is thorough and protects both the employer and the employees.