How to Write a Sexual Harassment Policy for Your Workplace

Category: Harassment
Posted: 08-19-2012 09:41 PM
Views: 1447
Synopsis:

Sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a problem throughout the USA and the world.  Every organization who is serious about prevention needs to provide employee sexual harassment training.  Part of this training is a concise, unambiguous sexual harassment policy statement.  It needs to be direct and leave no doubt that your workplace has no tolerance for harassing behavior.  The following are some tips for writing your organization's policy.

Sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a problem throughout the USA and the world.  Every organization who is serious about prevention needs to provide employee sexual harassment training.  Part of this training is a concise, unambiguous sexual harassment policy statement.  It needs to be direct and leave no doubt that your workplace has no tolerance for harassing behavior.  The following are some tips for writing your organization's policy.

1. First of all there needs to be a definition of sexual harassment.  There are plenty of sources for a definition of sexual harassment from legal organizations to government agencies out there, but any accurate definition will include the following.

  • An explanation of Quid Pro Quo harassment and Hostile Workplace Harassment.  Provide an example of both types of harassment to help with the definition.
  • A list of behaviors that are unacceptable. The longer and more explicit this list the better.
  • Lastly, make sure that your employees understand that harassment can occur manager to subordinate employee, subordinate employee to manager, peer to peer, employee to third party contractor or customer and third party contractor or customer to employee.  This understanding is integral to any sexual harassment policy.

2.  Provide a clear method for employee to file a complaint.  List the appropriate person(s) to file a complaint to and list exactly who oversees the sexual harassment in your workplace.  In this section, let your employees know that all complaints will be investigated thoroughly and fairly and that organization has a zero tolerance policy for retaliation against an employee who has filed a complaint.

3.  Lastly, write a very clear, detailed statement about the consequences for perpetrating harassment.  The possible penalties should be listed, so that employees understand what will happen if they engage in inappropriate behavior.

4.  A signature page where employee can sign and agree that they have read and understand the policy.  It is crucial that you have proof that everyone in your organization has seen the policy.

A thorough, easy-to-understand policy is the first step in preventing harassment and to beginning employee harassment training.  If your organization is serious about preventing sexual harassment and staying out of court, then this policy is a critical first step.

Charlie Bentson King is a writer and VP at TrainingABC, a producer and distributor sexual harassment videos and DVDs.

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