Best Practices for Preventing Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment claims have become increasingly more widespread form many of Californias employers. It is best said that the best offense is a good defense. In that spirit, here are best practices employers should undertake to help protect itself from workplace harassment claims.
First, a plain language policy outlining an organization's stance on workplace harassment. However, merely having a plan is worthless if it is not regularly communicated to all employees, and reinforced with regular employee training. Employers should implement training programs that help employees understand their rights, know how to inform their employer of harassment complaints - better the employee inform you before contacting a lawyer, and understand the consequences of engaging in harassing behavior.
Second, create a simple complaint procedure that's easy for the aggrieved employee to follow. Giving an employee a few avenues to report wrongdoing will diminish claims of bias later on.
Third, implement regular training sessions for supervisors and managers. Make sure your management team is acutely aware of the repercussions of retaliation. Make the training as interactive as possible (e.g., hold live training sessions as opposed to online questionnaires).
Fourth, if you have concerns about ongoing harassment, think about obtaining a disinterested investigator. By disinterested I mean an unbiased person with no skin in the game. This investigator should be familiar with these types of investigations and be in a position to do something about it.
Implementing these best practices can help reduce and hopefully prevent workplace harassment and diminish an employer's exposure.
Omri A. Ben-Ari, Esq.