According to a 2018 study done by GfK, 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men have experienced some form of sexual harassment, with verbal sexual harassment being the most common form. It’s important to know how to combat this and ensure that your work environment is safe, enjoyable and productive.
Some business owners think that the only line of defense necessary is a commercial liability insurance program, specifically employment practices liability insurance. It is crucial that you have insurance to protect your business, but instead of using it as your sole defense, think of it as a safety net to protect your company. No business should want its employees to feel uncomfortable at work, so your first step should be creating a safe, comfortable workplace. Here’s some steps your business can take to curb sexual harassment, courtesy of the National Women’s Law Center.
- Work From the Beginning.
The best thing you can do for your company is make sure that the very top is reporting on issues regarding sexual harassment. Make it an annual thing that’s addressed for all employees to hear. It’s one thing to have your human resources department say something. It’s another to have the director or a CEO of a company say the same thing, according to Forbes. There’s more of a seriousness instilled when a higher-up gets involved, which is why it’s so much better to address sexual harassment that way.
- Keep Your Eyes Open.
One way to address sexual harassment is by having an annual anonymous survey for your employees to fill out and return later. Ask things like whether an employee feels comfortable reporting sexual harassment and whether they understand the company’s policies on the issue. This will help with the internal process and with training down the line, and will allow employees to voice their concerns.
- Train Efficiently.
Make sure you train from the very beginning. Conduct regular, in-person, interactive training for all employees on responding and preventing harassment. This will help employees and supervisors recognize and understand sexual harassment, giving them the ability to effectively report, intervene and discipline when needed.
- Keep Resources Available.
Make a one-stop shop of all sexual harassment resources in the office for your employees to grab when they want it. Make sure employees receive training handbooks when they first start that address these issues; another way is to direct them to the web, where resources can be posted for those to access.
- Provide Ways to Report.
Ensure that there’s multiple ways that one can report sexual harassment in the workplace. Include one option for bystanders, anonymous reports and witnesses.
- Be Transparent.
As a business owner, you need to be transparent and prepared for any future situations. Make sure that HR and upper management uphold their end of the bargain by holding those accountable for their actions.
Focus on preparation, transparency and accountability, and you will develop a workplace culture that is comfortable for your employees and less likely to result in costly and damaging suits.
About David G. Sayles Insurance Services
At David G. Sayles Insurance Services, we strive to protect the investments of business owners like you. Our comprehensive policies are customized for you to provide the exact coverage you need. For more information, contact us today at (800) 439-0292.