Decisively Preventing And Addressing Workplace Sexual Harassment
The United States has come a long way in recent decades in promoting gender equality and making workplace environments more welcoming to everyone. A large part of that progress has been focused on taking sexual harassment seriously and working to both prevent it and hold perpetrators accountable.
Unfortunately, this is a persistent problem that continues to harm victims directly and harm companies by lowering productivity and employee morale. Put another way, sexual harassment is universally toxic, and everyone should be in favor of combatting it.
Whether you are a business owner or a sexual harassment victim, Traub Law can help you address this problem effectively and seek justice on behalf of those who have been harmed.
Recognizing Two Kinds Of Sexual Harassment
While there are dozens if not hundreds of behaviors that constitute sexual harassment, they can broadly be categorized into two categories. The first, known as “quid pro quo” harassment, occurs when someone in a position of power offers a benefit or threatens punishment to a subordinate based on acceptance/refusal of sexual favors. In these scenarios, the harasser is willing to trade benefits for sex or extort sex through the threat of punishment.
The other type of harassment is known as a “hostile work environment.” It basically encompasses all the comments, behaviors and physical actions normally associated with sexual harassment other than those that are a direct quid pro quo. They include unwelcome comments, unwanted touching, crude jokes, disparaging an entire gender, graphic images or even the viewing of pornography at work.
If you’ve been a victim of either (or both) types of sexual harassment, you may first need to report the behavior to higher-ups within the company. Your complaints will carry more weight if you can provide evidence or detailed notes. If the problem is not adequately addressed, contact my firm to discuss more direct legal action.
Helping Employers Prevent And Respond To Harassment
As a business owner or manager, you have both a personal and professional duty to keep harassing behavior out of the workplace. Positive actions may include:
- Drafting clear and unambiguous sexual harassment policies with specific enforcement mechanisms
- Creating anti-harassment training materials and conducting training sessions with all employees
- Learning how to best respond to employee complaints in a way that both addresses the issue and protects the company from undue liability
- Ensuring that employees have easy access to a trusted company resource where they feel safe to bring complaints
As an employment lawyer with over 30 years of experience, I am ready to help you with all of the steps mentioned above and more.