Employers: Avoiding Sexual Harassment Lawsuits Begins with Training

Almost no employer opens their office or shop with the intention of harassing its employees in any way.  Most wish nothing but the best for their employees and work diligently to improve conditions, opportunities, and compensation so their employees are happy in their work and eager to go the extra mile.

As a result, many employers are surprised when they find themselves facing a sexual harassment lawsuit.  Luckily, it is relatively easy to avoid such scenarios.

Step One: Don’t Take It Personally

The biggest mistake an employer can make regarding sexual harassment in the workplace is to be offended that they must consider it.  Sexual harassment can be subtle, and it does not require the employers’ direct involvement.  If the employer allows harassment in their workplace, they are liable.

Step Two: Clear Policies

The most powerful weapon an employer has against sexual harassment lawsuits is a clear policy regarding harassment and employee safety.  Work with your Human Resources or other advisors to craft a clear policy of behavior.

Step Three: Training

Most importantly, both you as the employer and your employees should be given training in recognizing harassing behavior and how to stop it.  Sexual harassment often seems like harmless pranking or friendly behavior to those standing outside of the situation.  Training can ensure that employees monitor each other and stop situations before they go too far.

Step Four: Monitoring and Communication

Finally, employers have to establish clear lines of communication for their employees to communicate problems or perceived harassment, and respond quickly and effectively to any complaint.

Don’t be blindsided by sexual harassment claims and litigation.  A strong defense is a strong offense – create a workplace that resists harassment scenarios and you won’t have to worry about lawsuits.