Employees have the right to be able to do their jobs in an environment that is safe, free from aggressive behaviors and protective of the rights of employees. This means that any Georgia business has the legal obligation to shield the rights and interests of the men and women who work for their company. Part of this includes having proper procedures in place that will reduce the chance of mistreatment, discrimination or harassment occurring, particularly sexual harassment.
When an employee experiences sexual harassment, he or she may feel reluctant to speak out. Due to the sensitive nature of sexually motivated discriminatory treatment, it is critical to have a way for employees to report incidents in a way that is confidential. Additionally, every company will benefit from policies that outline what constitutes inappropriate behavior in the workplace and what will happen to those who engage in it.
What to do about sexual harassment at work
Sexual harassment is unwanted physical contact, as well as a variety of other actions. While it does include touch, it can also include aggressive comments, inappropriate comments, subtle threats, sexual advances, gestures and more. Employees may feel unsure whether what they experienced counts as sexual harassment, and they may be reluctant to say anything. Victims need support and the ability to report incidents in a way that allows them privacy and dignity. Businesses can do the following to accomplish this:
- Take all complaints about sexual harassment seriously, and properly investigate all claims made about an employee’s behavior. This is important, even if the complaint seems minor.
- Report any claims made by an employee to the human resources department as soon as possible in order to initiate an investigation.
- Take action to prevent retaliation against the victim and stop the harassment from continuing.
Employers, managers and others involved in the leadership of your business have the responsibility of handling claims effectively, promptly and appropriately. If your company does not handle these claims in the correct manner, it may expose the business to the possibility of litigation and other issues. It may be helpful to seek an evaluation of your current policies, and if your company is facing ongoing allegations, you may benefit from seeking an opinion regarding how you can protect your company’s long-term interests.