No one should have to endure sexual harassment on the job just to bring home a paycheck. Both federal statutes and Ohio state law make it clear that employers have an obligation to protect their workers from sexual harassment.
Hostile work environments and quid pro quo harassment situations might lead to lawsuits against companies that fail to protect workers. Companies have an obligation to their workers to prevent sexual harassment and to respond appropriately when it occurs, and the failure to meet that standard can lead to litigation.
What are some of the most commonplace and basic means of an employer protecting workers from harassment on the job?
1. Providing appropriate training
It is appropriate to include training on what constitutes sexual harassment when onboarding new employees. Ohio state law does not mandate sexual harassment training for workers or managers like other states do.
Still, many businesses invest in special training to reduce their liability. Companies that teach their workers about a no-harassment policy can often minimize the risk of people acting out in the workplace.
2. Offering multiple reporting options
If the only way to report sexual harassment is to advise your direct superior, then you would have no recourse if the person harassing you is your supervisor. The larger company is, the more important it becomes to have multiple different options for someone to make an official report regarding sexual harassment on the job.
3. Investigating earnestly and fairly
Many companies claim to take sexual harassment seriously but then ignore any complaints filed by their workers. Companies should listen to workers who believe they have experienced sexual harassment and thoroughly investigate the situation. Witnesses, email records and security camera footage often corroborate complaints of sexual harassment, but only if an employer properly investigates.
Workers frequently struggle to make use of their protection against sexual harassment because they don’t know their rights. They may also fear retaliation from their employer, which is certainly reasonable if the company has utterly failed to protect them and may instead have policies that protect the person harassing the worker.
Recognizing the warning signs that your employer has not adequately protected you from sexual harassment might motivate you to speak up for yourself and for anyone else who will work there in the future.