<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=290086984736480&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

Is it Time to Update Your Sexual Harassment Policy?

Jun. 26, 2018 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
employee_handbook

 Revelations of sexual misconduct in the worlds of culture and business, as well as the rise of the #MeToo movement, should serve as a clear warning to CEOs and business owners. In today’s hypersensitive environment, business leaders ignore signs of workplace harassment (or worse) at their peril. A company without a viable, enforceable sexual harassment policy leaves itself open to beleaguered employees leaving a hostile work environment in droves and brings, at its worst, a bevy of costly lawsuits and threats of personal liability.

For these reasons—and to mitigate risk and the effect of brand-damaging news coverage—it’s essential to re-examine your company’s sexual harassment policy and update it as needed. Here are key steps to consider:

Ensure the policy is clearly defined. Many people cling to the misguided belief that “I know sexual harassment when I see it.” Unfortunately, that approach is too vague and subjective to have any value. The key to effective harassment prevention is ensuring that everyone throughout the organization understands specifically what constitutes sexual harassment, the consequences for taking part in unacceptable workplace conduct, the ways in which incidents of harassment can be reported and what will happen next.

Removing all ambiguity from your policies is among the most important elements of a formal anti-harassment program.

Don’t disregard or procrastinate on reports of harassment. As disagreeable as this behavior is, business owners and CEOs should never disregard reports that come to their attention. As writer Eric Rosenberg warns us, if you “ignore sexual harassment, you are sitting on a ticking time bomb.” It’s impossible to predict “when a claim may arise that could take down your business.” Updating and enforcing a viable policy can help prevent this dire outcome.

Anticipate likely situations in your workplace. Business settings differ widely, as do the ways in which employees interact with each other (and with their supervisors). Overt sexual harassment is generally easy to spot, but more subtle misconduct may occur in ways that are specific to a certain type of culture and workplace. Take time to anticipate scenarios involving harassment that might take place in your business. Imagining such circumstances can then lead to updates in policy that reflect a changing workforce culture.

Have your policy reviewed by a legal expert. As thorough as your policy might be, you must be sure it complies with all relevant local, state and federal statutes. The best strategy is to engage the services of an attorney experienced in this area, who can review the document and confirm that it’s both appropriate for your workplace and complies with the law.

 Implement training schedules for all employees. Different states impose different types of regulations governing conduct in the workplace. Regardless of what’s legally mandated, ongoing training about how to avoid sexual harassment, and to identify and report incidents when they occur, should be required of your entire workforce. Knowledge and awareness are powerful resources in the effort to eliminate all workplace misconduct at your place of business.

Finally, do your best to lead from the top. Acknowledge at company meetings that company policies include zero tolerance for any form of sexual harassment. “Make gender equity a part of your daily conversation,” advises organizational culture design expert Jessica Higgins. “Be sure it’s not only stated, but that it filters through meetings and informal interactions.”

Employees will follow your lead. It’s up to you to show the way.

 

Learn more about creating a safe workplace environment and leveraging your employees’ talents for strategic growth. Consider joining a peer board made up of local business owners like you.

 

 

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by The Alternative Board Worldwide

Related posts

Automate Small Tasks and Stay Focused on the Big Picture
May. 23, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
A sizable portion of business operations involves tasks that are repetitive, annoying to those charged with handling them, and fairly easy to automate. In case you’re wondering which tasks fall into...
How Business Visualization Tools Help You Persuade and Communicate
May. 16, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
There are two fundamental truths about information and human nature that CEOs and business owners should probably come to grips with: We are drowning in data. Humans process information through...
How A Sales Performance Plan Can Help A Struggling Rep
May. 2, 2019 | Posted by Joe Zente, TAB Austin
Whenever a sales rep isn’t performing, it is time for swift and decisive action. Let’s say our rep (we’ll call him John) is falling short of his goals. Depending upon the extent to which John’s...
How One on One Meetings Create a Positive Office Culture
Apr. 30, 2019 | Posted by Max Woolf
As a manager, you have a lot of plates to spin and many hats to wear. With all of the work adding more meetings might be the last on your list. But, if you don’t run 1 on 1's with employees, you’re...
How A Positive Company Culture Is Built By Aligning Employees
Apr. 25, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
What does company culture mean? Every organization comes with a unique culture, a set of agreed-upon values that govern the way the company does business. Some cultures grow with the company and...
When You're the HR Department for Your Business
Apr. 23, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
Human Resources (HR) is an area that seems to cause most business owners the highest amount of stress. Unfortunately, without an HR Department, HR issues become the responsibility of you, the...
How to set up virtual office for a small business
Apr. 18, 2019 | Posted by Gary Hoffman
Virtual Office Space Dos and Don'ts You’re ready to give your business an impressive corporate presence, but you’re not willing to plunk down millions of dollars for the office space, the permanent...
Can You Have a Fun Workplace that's also Productive?
Apr. 11, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Somewhere along the line, the idea of a serious, no-fun-zone workplace became institutionalized among American businesses. For a long time, that meant no intersection between “work” and “fun.”...
How to Manage Your Small Business' Cash Flow
Apr. 9, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
In the past 30 plus years I’ve spoken to many business owners who have encountered cash flow issues over the course of running their businesses. The proper management of your cash flow can help you...
How Stronger Vendor Relationships Can Spur Growth
Apr. 2, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Vendors may not seem like a high-priority constituency to most CEOs and business owners, but in fact, a strong business-vendor relationship can significantly boost growth. Unfortunately, many people...