Sexual Harassment, it can happen to any employer, manager or employee, we are all at risk! Herman Cain may be completely innocent of these allegations. However, most employers when these issues arise will often times settle the cases before they go to court as the legal fees alone will usually be a far great dollar amount than the amount settled for in a much quicker time frame for resolution. Neither side is admitting fault but the settlement makes the matter go away.
What can we do to protect ourselves? There are a number of rules to set in motion as employers to ensure we protect our companies and employees from frivolous law suits. Here is an easy set of guidelines to follow to protect you, your employees and the company.
1. Create and maintain an up-to-date Employee Guideline or Manual. This Manual should contain all of the legal laws and regulations required by local and national laws. In addition, please ensure that all employees sign a notice of acceptance of this Manual and keep those signed/dated documents in a safe and secure place.
2. Provide annual Sexual Harassment Training for your entire company. This training should help employees understand the do’s and don’ts of supporting a positive work environment. In addition, have each employee sign a letter of acceptance that they have gone through this annual training.
3. Ensure that the Policy in the Employee Guideline/Manual for Sexual Harassment is followed and supported by all in the company. If there is an employee that is feeling as though they are being sexually harassed ensure that proper procedures and or an investigation ensues in order to determine what the issues are. Whatever you do don’t turn your head and act as though nothing happened, this can only make the employee angry and create a better likelihood of the employee suing the employer and or the employee. Remember that not only is the Employer subject to liability but so is the employee if they are the one doing the harassing.
4. Purchase an EPLI policy from your Liability Insurance Provider. EPLI stands for Employment Practice Liability Insurance. This is the only insurance in place to protect the employer and its employees from this sort of litigation. Without this insurance coverage the employer will run blind and the meter will start ticking with any attorney hired to defend you. This policy will also insure that you will be provided Legal Representation. These suits can bankrupt a company if the damages are great enough and they don’t have this insurance.
5. Enlist the services of a strong HR Outsourcing Company or have HR Professionals on board as employees. These professionals can help ensure that you are doing the right thing every day in every way. Notify them early on of any potential issues so that they can start the process of investigating and working on making sure level heads prevail and move forward in a positive way.
For more information please feel free to contact Jeffrey C. Garr, CEO of HR Knowledge, Inc., www.hrknowledge.com. This article was written by Jeffrey C. Garr, CEO.
(Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license)Button Text.