Good policy cuts down sexual harassment claims

On behalf of Fox & Fox, S.C.

An employer has a duty to ensure that employees feel safe in the workplace and that discrimination claims are taken seriously. Many employers make wise decisions when they anticipate issues beforehand and create workplace policies that protect individuals from sexual harassment. Businesses in Wisconsin and across the United States can take preventive measures to reduce unfair bias in the workplace. Employees can then depend on the company to enforce anti-discrimination and harassment measures so that the workplace remains a positive environment for all. 

Experts agree that the backbone of a harassment-free workplace is having good policies in writing. When an employer clearly defines what is and is not allowable, especially when the policy is tailored to the specific industry, all employees can understand what is expected from management and workers alike. The policy should set guidelines on how an incident is reported, and offer several points of contact in case the supervisor is involved in the complaint. The policy should share how a complaint is handled, and give a time frame for resolution. 

A workplace may also choose to host employee education through training sessions. If an employee is trained upon hiring, and undergoes additional periodic training, they will have a greater chance of understanding and implementing proper ethics and behaviors. Employers should be careful to avoid gender bias in the formation of dress codes and other policies. Finally, when corrective measures are taken, the incident should be documented in writing. 

In Wisconsin, sexual harassment is a serious employment issue with legal ramifications. Employers should take proactive steps to avoid the problem as much as possible. Even with good policies in place, however, it is still possible that discrimination or harassment could occur. An employee who has been a victim of either in the workplace may wish to consult an experienced employment law attorney in order to explore options for pursuing a lawsuit. 

Source: CBS Los Angeles, “Avoid A Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit“, Janelle Sheetz, Sept. 8, 2017

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