How to Build a Harassment Prevention Initiative
Sexual harassment is a hot topic in the news. But harassment in the workforce comes in many flavors: sex, race, disability, age, ethnicity, color, and religion. Your best defense is a strong offense: roll out a harassment prevention program that’s thorough and built on best practices. We’ll show you how.
What is a Harassment Prevention Initiative?
Every employee deserves a work environment that is free of unlawful harassment. A harassment prevention initiative helps organizations share their views on harassment in the workplace and demonstrate the actions they will take to ensure all employees are held accountable for acting in line with these views.
The EEOC studied the topic of harassment in depth, publishing a thorough report on their findings. In their research, they determined that there are two keys to preventing harassment in the workplace:
Costs of Harassment in the Workforce
When employers consider the costs of workplace harassment, they often focus on legal costs, and with good reason. In 2015, the EEOC alone recovered $164.5 million for workers alleging harassment and these direct costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Workplace harassment affects all workers, and its true cost includes decreased productivity, increased turnover, and reputational harm. All of this is a drag on performance – and the bottom-line.
Risk Factors for Harassment
Studies show that organizational conditions are powerful predictors of whether harassment will happen. The EEOC has highlighted 13 factors that can put a workplace at risk for harassing behavior. Based on their research, we’ve developed an assessment to help you identify your risk factors and provide you a roadmap for taking proactive measures to reduce harassment in your organization.
What Should an Anti-Harassment Program Include?
Best practices demonstrate there are four steps to creating a holistic harassment prevention initiative:
Leadership & Accountability
The first step in creating a holistic harassment prevention program is for the leadership of an organization to establish a culture of respect in which harassment is not tolerated.
An organization needs a stated policy against harassment that explains the behaviors that will not be accepted in the workplace and the procedures to follow in reporting and responding to harassment.
A holistic effort provides training to employees regarding an employer’s policy, reporting systems, and investigations. Managers also need to learn how to respond appropriately and effectively to harassment before it becomes a legal issue.
Reporting & Investigation
Provide reporting systems for allegations of harassment for both employees who have experienced harassment as well as those who have observed occurrences of harassment. Partner these with a thorough investigation and disciplinary process.
Harassment Prevention Resources
Here are our most recent tools to help you stay up-to-date on harassment prevention initiative best practices.
Picked for You from the Resource Library
Are You Ready for New York’s Harassment Prevention Laws? By law, your program should be in place right now. But does it meet the requirements? [More]
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Is your anti-harassment initiative following best practices? Use this checklist to find out. [More]
Is your workplace a harassment ticking time bomb? Use this assessment to measure your workplace against the EEOC’s 13 risk factors for harassment. [More]
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