Reporting sexual harassment is everyone's responsibility. The training must include everyone and be reviewed continually to preserve the dignity of every worker, so learn how to educate and lay down the law.
- TIP: Even mild jokes or statements can create an atmosphere of hostility.
- Step 1: Require all employees to attend training, read the policy manual, and sign a legally binding document stating that they have read, understood, and will comply with the policy.
- Step 2: Continue with yearly trainings to review and keep the sexual harassment issues on everyone's mind. Circulate anonymous surveys each year to uncover situations before they grow into a lawsuit.
- FACT: 16 percent of sexual harassment cases with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were filed by men in 2009 -- up from 12 percent over 10 years.
- Step 3: Provide strategies for preventing sexual harassment, as well as processes and remedies available to victims. Especially, supply everyone with a supervisor's or hot line number to contact in case of a suspected incident.
- TIP: Be supportive and encourage participation and questions. Some fear that the incident can be taken out of context or will not be supported if they report someone.
- Step 4: Prepare trainers and senior management to conduct proper, consistent, and legal presentations. Educate them, as they will be expected to do for the rank and file, based on principles of mutual respect.
- TIP: Communicate a zero-tolerance attitude that must be followed in any incident.
- Step 5: Emphasize the morale issues that trigger low productivity when bad behavior is condoned. Detail the impact of lawsuits on company survival, to further drive the point home.
- Step 6: Employ video programs and scenarios to illustrate real-world sexual harassment in the workplace. Reinforce the training through role plays, case studies, and group discussions.
- Step 7: Develop a sexual harassment policy for the organization in compliance with state law, and produce a manual with advice on what employees should do if harassed or accused. Define in no uncertain terms what constitutes sexual harassment.