Litigation against businesses makes it essential for most companies to adopt a policy against sexual harassment. More importantly it is important for company personnel to know how to respond to a complaint of sexual harassment by conducting an investigation or in some instances hiring an attorney to conduct an investigation.
The following is an example of a sexual harassment policy:
Small Business Notes
Small Business Notes will not, under any circumstances, condone or tolerate conduct which may constitute sexual harassment on the part of any of its employees. It is our policy that all employees have the right to work in an environment free from any type of illegal discrimination, including sexual harassment.
Any employee found to have engaged in such conduct will be subject to immediate discipline, up to and including discharge.
Sexual harassment is defined as:
We, at Small Business Notes, do encourage healthy friendships among its employees; however, employees, especially management and supervisory employees, must be sensitive to acts of conduct which may be considered offensive by fellow employees and must refrain from engaging in such conduct.
It is, also, expressly prohibited for an employee to retaliate against employees who bring sexual harassment charges or assist in investigating charges. Retaliation is a violation of this policy and may result in discipline, up to and including termination. No employee will be discriminated against, or discharged, because of bringing or assisting in the investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment.
The above policy does not address the investigation process that will be followed in the event of a complaint. Normally, this policy would be beyond the scope of the employee handbook. However, many of the losses incurred by companies in these cases were the result of reported complaints that were not acted upon by the company. Thus, employers should be aware of the investigation process, and provide formal training to personnel staff and supervisors when applicable.