Creating a sexual harassment policy for a small business

When you’re running a small business, you likely know the importance of keeping sexual harassment out of the workplace. However, creating a sexual harassment policy and making sure guidelines are specifically outlined may not be at the top of your to-do list.

Nonetheless, it is important to have a policy in place, and to make sure you and your employees are aware of sexual harassment.

All employers must follow certain requirements under the law to keep a workplace free of harassment. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers a variety of resources for employers, such as this Q&A about employer's liability for harassment by supervisors.

Even if you know these rules, your employees may not. This is why it is so important to set guidelines that all employees follow. A sexual harassment policy should include:

  • Clear guidelines: It is important for employees to know what constitutes sexual harassment. This information should be posted or be readily available.
  • Complaint procedure: Ensure employees know what to do if they are being harassed. You should establish a way for employees to confidentially report harassment and know their complaint will be taken seriously.
  • Steps for correcting the issue: Once a complaint is filed, you should have a process to investigate and take measures to stop the harassment.

These are just a few of the items small business owners should keep in mind when creating sexual harassment guidelines. Consulting with an attorney with experience in the field can be a good way to ensure you create a comprehensive plan that protects the business and employees.

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