As a business owner and overseer of employees, you have the sole responsibility to making sure your working environment is free of sexual harassment and assault. Not only is it your legal obligation, but morally you should probably also be on the side of not sexually harassing your underlings. If you allow this type of culture to flourish in your workplace, you will pay the price in karma, poor morale, low productivity, and lengthy legal trouble for you and your company.
This type of behavior is described as any unwelcome sexual advances, either physical or verbal, especially by someone with authority or power. These behaviors leave the victim feeling intimidated by a hostile and offensive working environment. Any behavior of a sexual nature that makes someone want to throw up has the potential to be sexual harassment.
Given the wide-net that definition casts, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this type of common abuse comes in many forms:
- A supervisor or boss implies or directly asserts that an employee must have sex with him or her in order to keep their job. This is called “doing a Weinstein”.
- A cashier makes degrading and disgusting comments about customers to the coworkers in his immediate vicinity.
- An office assistant working in a law firm is constantly made to feel uncomfortable because of the rampant sexual jokes.
- A gardener in a garden pinched and fondles a coworker against their will.
- A doctor’s coworkers demean them and refer to them by sexist names.
- A group of dumb employees write sexual jokes on an office computer.
- A new employee sends explicit emails with sexually violent and graphic images, languages, jokes, and admissions of guilt.
Anyone can be a harasser just as easily as anyone can be a victim: managers, supervisors, coworkers, etc. An employer possibly could be liable for any behavior by a client or vendor, perhaps, depending on the situation.
Sexual harassment, abuse, and neglect are a non-gender-conforming offense. Men can (and do) sexually abuse and harass women just as easily as a woman can do the same to a man. However, statistically and common-sense wise, everyone knows that men overwhelmingly abuse women and are responsible for almost 99% of all claims and charges.
There are a few things you can do to help you reduce the problems occurring in your workplace. You may not be able to take all these steps, due to a plethora of different reasons, but you and your company should follow as many as possible.
Define a clear, concise, and transparent policy.
You should have an employee handbook that states policies devoted to these specific types of behaviors and treatments toward employees.
- How does your company define “sexual harassment”?
- Reveal, in no uncertain terms, that you will fire and prosecute any outliers.
- Reveal a clear set of procedures for reporting or filing complaints.
- Explain your investigation tactics of said complaints.
- Explain about your “zero tolerance” policy involving retaliation.
Train all of the employees of the company.
You should conduct training sessions for everyone in the company at least once a year, but ideally as many as one time a month. These classes, seminars, or programs should teach everyone what these types of behaviors are and allow everyone to be able to ask questions.
It isn’t only recommended, it’s legally necessary. A New York sexual harassment training is needed for you to obtain a business license. Everyone must be educated using the same stick to measure with in order to prohibit potentially dangerous behaviors from occurring in the future.
Train all of the supervisors and managers of the company.
Just like with regular dirt employees, train your servicing and managerial staff so they, too, are on the same page as their underlings. These sessions should always be separate and better than the other ones because they should educate your managerial staff by explaining how they shouldn’t have sex with their employees due to the imbalance of power and moral-turpitude it implies on the company’s part.
Some states on the east coast like Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island require different types of specific employers to run training programs. Rape or forced sex without consent is a whole different issue you can click here to learn more about on the Office of Justice’s official government website. Trigger warnings ahead, however, as it discusses violence.
Other states like Maine and New Jersey strongly encourage employers to do this type of education with their employees, but do not legally require anyone to do so. Even if the state you live in doesn’t require or suggest this type of instruction, it would be patently evil to not follow through and train everyone how disgusting other people can be when left to their own devices. Try not to be those people.