As a business owner, your employees are very important to you. While you have been at the center of establishing your firm and ensuring its growth, you couldn’t have done it without them.
You do not condone any form of harassment in your company, especially sexual harassment, and you’d like to make this as clear as possible. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for you to monitor all the behavior within your company at any given time.
A sexual harassment policy is a written document that outlines a company’s approach to preventing and tackling sexual harassment within the business. What should such a policy include?
A clear stance on sexual harassment
When it comes to sexual harassment, prevention is better than cure. You want to make sure that your sexual harassment policy includes terms that indicate zero tolerance.
Sexual harassment comes in numerous forms. In some cases, it can be as blatant as unwanted sexual touches and advances. However, it can also be more subtle. For example, inappropriate comments that are masked as jokes could fall into this category. Providing a solid definition of this broader phenomenon and clear examples of sexual harassment should give your workers a strong idea of conduct that is deemed unacceptable.
A safe reporting process
Reporting sexual harassment can be very difficult for victims. Those on the receiving end often fear that they will not be believed or that no action will be taken after reporting their circumstances. Your sexual harassment policy should include instructions on how claims will be handled.
Your employees should feel safe in the knowledge that an impartial and sensitive investigation will take place, followed by disciplinary measures if inappropriate behavior is established. Your policy should also make clear that there will be no form of retaliation taken against employees who file claims.
Employing clear documentation that outlines the ethics and ethos of your company can be very beneficial, and a sexual harassment policy is a key part of such efforts. It may help to seek legal guidance when drafting provisions for your policy, given the consequential nature of the documentation in question.