BY : ANDREW TURNBULL STERLING INSURANCE GROUP
When it comes to sexual harassment claims at work , it is no longer a question of “ if .” It is quickly becoming a question of “ when .” Not only can these claims make work difficult for the employees , but they also create a toxic work environment which can lead to decreased productivity and increased absenteeism . To make matters more complicated , there are myriad laws on the books about sexual harassment which also need to be followed . Unfortunately , the ins and outs of these laws are often lost on employers , leaving them in a precarious situation .
The circumstances under which sexual harassment can occur are varied , but the following should be kept in mind :
• The victim can be either male or female .
• The harasser isn ’ t always going to be a supervisor . It could be a vendor , a coworker , a friend of an employee , or anyone else who visits the workplace .
• Sexual harassment does not always bring with it economic consequences to the victim ( such as not getting a raise or getting fired ).
• The conduct is unwelcome .
Sexual Harassment At Work : Navigating A Dangerous Path
As an employer , what should you be doing to handle these types of situations ? For owners , it is important to remember that all claims , valid or invalid , need to be treated the same and investigated to the fullest extent possible . Develop policies specifically designed to handle these situations and let your employees know where they can turn to if these situations arise . It is essential to get this information down on paper somewhere to act as a playbook . Further , address these situations in training . Prevention is always better than dealing with the alternative . Our Risk Path IQRM for Employment Practices evaluates your preparedness and compliance before a claim occurs .
What should victims do ? Initially , they should inform the harasser that the advances or conduct is not welcome and needs to stop . They should also inform the employer , either through human resources or some other means , of what is going on . It is important to understand that victims often don ’ t come forward simply because they are embarrassed . That is precisely why it is so important to make it clear that these issues not only won ’ t be tolerated , but it is essential to report them if they do occur .
Sexual harassment at work is a difficult situation to deal with for everyone involved . In a world that is becoming increasingly sensitive to these types of situations , gender biases , and discrimination , it can be frustrating for owners to navigate through their daily workload while also maintaining a safe work environment for everyone . The light at the end of the tunnel , however , is that with education and the promotion of a healthy awareness of these issues , they can be overcome .
What are your policies at work ? Do you have any ? Where can your employees turn to if they have a problem like this ? For a thorough review of your policies and to get started mitigating your risk in this area , contact me at 586-843-2759 or aturnbull @ sterlingagency . com . +
Andrew Turnbull joined Sterling Insurance Group in 2014 and has been a licensed independent agent since 2002 . Andrew ’ s expertise is in the development and implementation of creative Benefit , Property Casualty and Management Liability programs for private practice healthcare providers . He also specializes in those programs for both non-profit and for-profit organizations . Contact Andrew at aturnbull @ sterlingagency . com or 586-843-2759 today .