This week on the eESI podcast the topic is sexual harassment. It seems like employers and Congress are finally getting serious about making workplaces a safe place for everyone. Many of us are asking, “What took so long?”
If you’ve wondered what your business needs to know to prevent sexual harassment from taking place or what to do when an employee makes a complaint, this podcast is for you. Join us as we talk to HR business partner and consultant Karla Saenz to discuss this serious issue and answer many of the questions you may have.
In this podcast, Karla explains the difference between a hostile work environment and quid pro quo issues, and what employers can do to prevent misconduct in the workplace. As Saenz notes, a failure to respond to harassment in the workplace can be costly. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), monetary benefits exclusive of litigation awards totaled over $46 million in 2017.
We’re not the only ones talking about sexual harassment, of course.
From Twitter to your local news station, everyone has something to say.
What got everyone talking?
Perhaps it was the list of famous and infamous men accused of harassing others in the workplace. One such list The (incomplete) list of powerful men accused of sexual harassment after Harvey Weinstein was published by CNN in November of 2017. In May of 2018, Glamour added to the list with Post-Weinstein, These are the Powerful Men Facing Sexual Harassment Allegations. But, it is an issue that pervades every major industry, including Congress.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has a few words to say, too.
Tasked with ensuring that employers obey the law when it comes to preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, the EEOC has created several documents to serve as guides. In Facts About Sexual Harassment, the agency defines what constitutes harassment and what employers and employees can do if they believe an incident of harassment has occurred.
What should employers know?
You don’t have to be famous or powerful to commit sexual harassment. And, behavior doesn’t have to be physically aggressive or emotionally abusive to be actionable.
Further, as Vanessa Bohns and Lauren DeVincent explain in their Harvard Business Review article, To Reduce Sexual Misconduct, Help People Understand How Their Advances Might Be Received, an offender may not even realize that his or her behavior is inappropriate or harassing.
Sexual misconduct isn’t something businesses should put off addressing until something happens. Nor should employers focus solely on avoiding litigation. Saenz advises employers to take a proactive approach to ensure every employee feels and is safe in the workplace. Employers can protect their employees and themselves by creating clear written policies prohibiting harassing behavior and enforcing those policies equally throughout their organization.
We’ve put together a simple ‘Anti-harassment’ program checklist that gives you the steps you’ll need to create an effective program at your workplace. Simply click this link to receive a free download.
EEOC compliance is serious business.
It’s not just sexual harassment claims that can cause the EEOC to investigate your business. Do you need help managing your HR compliance? Talk to the risk control experts at eESI. We can help you establish policies, create training programs, and identify risks. If you’d like to find out more, call us today. We have over 500 workplace training programs and resources to fit your specific business needs.
To learn more, contact eESI at 210-495-1171, or email [email protected] – ask for one of our Risk consultants.