It is not a new phenomenon for individuals to date others in their workplaces. But the climate around interoffice romances has changed. There are examples of this in large corporations such as McDonald’s, where the CEO was terminated because of poor judgement in pursuing a romantic relationship. The employee was supervised by the CEO. This is one example among many.
In order to avoid any sexual harassment issues, employers should think ahead and create a safe environment. Seeking the advice and council of Columbus employment attorneys can help.
Steps Employers Can Take to Avoid Issues
While each workplace is unique in its own ways, there are things every employer can do. Being proactive can help you to manage problems when they arise. It is helpful to have plans in place because workplace romance issues may occur. Putting some expectations on record can be beneficial, including prohibiting all romantic relationships.
It is also time to look over all of your human resource policies and be sure every workplace policy is current. Sometimes, anti-harassment policies are antiquated. All of these policies need to be reviewed and updated, if necessary. All language that is no longer applicable needs to be deleted. Language to be added includes updates that make it easy for employees to report complaints of harassment. Also, outline behaviors that will not be tolerated.
Examples of sexual harassment that can happen in the workplace:
- Frequently commenting on an individual’s appearance.
- Asking about the sex life of an employee.
- Sharing photos of people nude or barely dressed.
- Giving unwanted romantic gifts.
- Touching that is unwanted.
Train Employees and Investigate Swiftly
Once you have updated documents and policies, train staff appropriately. Managers in particular need to be aware of how to recognize harassment and how to handle complaints should they occur. While supervisors could be in charge of leading conversations about harassment, all employees need to know what is tolerated and what is prohibited. Then, a culture that discourages harassment can be fostered.
With a policy in place and expectations known, an employer can investigate swiftly and follow the policy that all have been made aware of. All complaints should be looked into, do not let personal conflicts color the validity or an employee’s account of a situation.
As more and more reports of harassment come to light, it is essential employees understand their rights. As an employer, you need to foster a workplace that is harassment free. And if you have experienced harassment at work, talk to our Columbus employment attorneys as soon as possible.
Grow a workplace culture that everyone can trust, including discouraging all forms of sexual harassment. This must ring true at all levels of an organization, including senior management.
If you have experienced sexual harassment, you need experienced lawyers on your side. The lawyers at Coffman Legal LLC analyze conduct and are able to devise a plan to protect you from further sexual harassment. Our attorneys are advocates for all Ohio workers. Contact us today. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.