Setting up anti-sexual harassment policies for your workplace is an important task, but it can also be challenging for anyone without legal expertise. California employment law attorneys can help businesses refine their policies and create a safer work environment.
Sexual harassment can occur in any kind of business, and owners are responsible for preventing it in the workplace. With the help of a professional, you can fill in any gaps in your workplace policies and protect your employees from harassment of any kind.
Creating a Written Policy
When it comes to business-wide policies, it’s essential to have them down in writing. A great start is by clearly communicating which behaviors constitute sexual harassment. This list should include types of physical harassment and verbal harassment.
When you have a comprehensive list of sexual harassment behaviors, you can add them to your employee handbook so that every team member will be able to refer to it. Ideally, the handbook should also provide employees with options for reporting sexual harassment and a guarantee that the company will investigate any claims they receive.
It’s also important to clarify that the company will not retaliate against an employee who makes a complaint. In California, retaliation includes termination of employment, demotion, a poor job reference, being relocated, or being reassigned to a less convenient shift.
To ensure that everyone is aware of the policy, you can require employees to sign off on these forms.
Formal Training Sessions
After distributing your new policy to employees and having them sign an agreement, you can take things a step further by having employees attend formal training sessions. These formal sessions can clarify any questions about appropriate behavior and ensure that every employee knows their options for filing complaints.
Company-wide training sessions also provide legal proof that you put time and effort into clarifying your policies on sexual harassment. This can be useful as part of your legal defense should problems arise in the future.
Upper Management Training
Training is important for employees at all levels, but many companies choose to give their upper management additional training. These employees reflect upon your company and have the power to make crucial decisions, so it’s essential that they act in accordance with the law.
Educating your managers will enable them to make the right decisions. They’ll be better able to protect your employees and handle any issues related to sexual harassment with competence. Well-trained managers can prevent legal complications.
Local Laws Compliance
As you put together your policy details, local law should be at the forefront of your mind. Many areas legally require anti-harassment training for employees. The amount and type of training needed vary by state and local jurisdiction. It can also vary depending on the size of your company.
An employment lawyer can help ensure that your training meets local standards and provides suitable legal protection for your company. If you’ve had the same policy and approach to training for years, it may be worth it to have a lawyer assess your policies and training and update them.
If you find a lawyer specializing in this area, you can benefit from expert advice to create effective policies.
Updating Your Policies and Training
If you already have an anti-sexual harassment policy in place, there are several ways you can improve yours to make your workplace safer and more welcoming for employees. Updating your policies also shows your dedication to employee safety and that you take sexual harassment seriously.
When listing prohibited behaviors and guiding employees on how to file complaints, you may want to avoid legal jargon. Instead, you can use language that’s easier for the average person to understand. This will ensure that your employees fully absorb your policies and understand their real-world consequences.
Another way to improve your policies and training is by tailoring them to your specific workplace. Many training programs are focused on office settings, but your business may not be a traditional office. Finding or creating a more customized training program can improve the employee experience and make it feel more relevant to their everyday experience.
Some training programs also dedicate time to positive behaviors. They show ways for employees to engage respectfully and professionally with their coworkers. This can range from email etiquette to how to offer constructive criticism.
An experienced legal team can help you find ways to improve your specific policies and training sessions. They can provide the legal advice and protection you need.
Benefits of Instating Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies
One of the most important benefits of updating your policies around sexual harassment is making your workplace safer. When your employees aren’t worried about dealing with harassment and other issues, they can focus on productivity instead.
Another benefit is the legal protection it provides for your business. Businesses need to show that they have taken steps to prevent harassment in the workplace, and creating formal policies is a crucial step.
If your company is ever involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit, having a clear, well-written policy in place can protect you. If your policy is thorough and effectively protects employees, you can use it to prove in court that you have taken steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Work With a Trusted Employment Lawyer in California
Overall, anti-sexual harassment policies are important for legal purposes and productivity. When your employees feel safe and secure, they can work productively and efficiently. Effective policies will also show employees that they can rely on you as their employer, building trust and confidence.
LibertyBell Law Group P.C. can help employers and corporations in need of legal counsel. We provide actionable legal advice to our clients and help them stay on top of legal issues before they develop further.
Contact us today to speak to our knowledgeable lawyers in a free consultation! We can assess your case and suggest a plan of action with our legal team to protect your interests and prevent lawsuits.