Sexual harassment has been a long-standing issue here in the U.S. causing a disruption in various workplace environments. Sexual harassment is when one or more people in a workplace make unwanted sexual advances, requests sexual favors, or displays other types of unwelcome physical or verbal conduct that is of a sexual nature.1
Sexual harassment generally falls into one of two categories which include:
- Quid pro quo. This is when an employer, supervisor, or someone holding a managerial position “conditions an employment benefit on submission to sexual advances or takes an adverse employment action based on rejection of sexual advances.”
- Hostile work environment. When an individual uses inappropriate language, teases in a sexual context, sends photos or texts of a sexual nature, etc., making the work environment unbearable to work in, this is considered a hostile work environment.
Because business owners can sometimes be the subject of a sexual harassment claim, even when it doesn’t involve them directly, they need to be sure they have done all they can to reduce their risk of being sued for sexual harassment. According to The Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association, there are a few steps business owners can take to do this.
- Create a zero-tolerance culture.
Employees need to understand that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace. In the event someone attempts to display unwanted sexual behavior, they should be aware of the consequences they will face.
- Create a zero-tolerance anti-harassment policy.
In order for employees to understand the types of behavior that will and won’t be tolerated in the workplace, owners need to be sure they have policies in place that outline the rules workers are expected to follow. Business owners who do not have an anti-harassment policy or one they find ineffective can enlist the help of an Orlando business law attorney to help them write one up.
- Make the complaint process accessible and easy to understand.
While business owners can put into place policies to help prevent harassment in their place of business, they can’t prevent all incidents. Therefore, if someone is sexually harassed at work, the owner of the establishment should have an easy-to-follow complaint process so that an employee can report their issue and get help.
Business owners who neglect to do this could be held liable if an employee doesn’t have a way to report the inappropriate behavior to someone higher up.
If a business owner is interested in learning more about how they can protect themselves from sexual harassment claims, they are encouraged to contact Legal Counsel P.A to discuss this with an Orlando, FL business law attorney. A lawyer can assist them with creating effective policies and procedures so that they reduce their liability in the event a sexual harassment dispute arises.
Legal Counsel P.A. is located at:
189 S. Orange Avenue, Ste. 1800
Orlando, FL 32801
Email: [email protected]