All of the reports about sexual harassment have become so widespread that you’re starting to think about your own situation. The businesses involved in harassment charges faced lawsuits, which resulted in the business closing for good. Because you’re a business owner yourself, you don’t want to get yourself and your own business into this sort of trouble. For you, being involved in lawsuits is too risky. You want your business to operate in a very conducive working environment where employees across all levels maintain healthy relationships. You can only do all of those things if you know how to protect your workplace against harassment. Let this article show you how:
- Think about your policy on sexual harassment first: Since you are the business owner, you have the right to come up with policies your employees will have to follow. Make sure that you include one which clearly prohibits any form of sexual harassment. Your policy should also detail the different types of sexual harassment and where victims can report the incident.
- Never laugh at or encourage inappropriate jokes: When you are a business owner, your employees will look up to you as a role model – so make sure that you’re using that kind of image positively to enforce a workplace which has zero tolerance when it comes to harassment. You should be mindful on what jokes you laugh at or what kind of conversations you get yourself into. Don’t encourage or even patronize jokes, conversation and small talk that can make someone feel uncomfortable in any way. When you hear employees doing it, speak to them privately and reprimand them about their actions. Don’t let situations slip as this can have a snowball effects in the future.
- Your office parties should be rated “PG”: You might not be working per se but when your office holds parties with the employees, the policy on harassment should still be followed. Before an event happens, talk to all of your employees and remind them how they should behave during social gatherings. You should be consistent in implementing policies about harassment and employees’ parties should not be an exemption.
- All upper-level employees should attend anti-harassment workshops: The upper-level employees are the people who resonate what the business is all about. If these people are practicing harassment, chances are, the employees below their level will think such behaviour is acceptable. Avoid going into that situation by letting your upper-level employees attend anti-harassment workshops. This will serve as an avenue for them to be aware of their actions, and to never tolerate harassment in their own respective departments.
- Respond immediately to harassment complaints: If an employee has a complaint about harassment, attend to him/her right away. Don’t leave the impression that employees who are accused of harassment can get away with that easily because you’re not doing anything about the case. Yes, you might have a lot on your plate, but you should allot time to handle complaints like these as this can affect your image as a leader and the integrity of your business as well.
As a business owner, you can only do so much. Even if you have tried your best to protect your workplace against harassment, you can still experience it if other employees are not open to changes pertaining to workplace harassment. If you’re involved in a situation like this, you can work with a sexual assault lawyer like this one here to help you out. You should not try to do everything by yourself as this might cause more harm than good in the long run.
When you’re a business owner, you want your endeavor to last for years as you’ve exerted time and effort. You don’t want everything that you’ve worked hard for to vanish into thin air – and having a workplace that’s free of harassment is one way for you to achieve that goal. Yes, the precautions you have to take might require your resources, but at the end of the day, if your employees can work peacefully because they have a healthy working environment, all of your efforts will be worth it. You just have to make sure that you can inject the changes in the workplace carefully and consistently.