Sexual Harassment Back in the News
From NFL locker rooms to the boardrooms of corporate giants, sexual harassment is back in the news. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that sexual harassment claims continue to be a serious issue, with 12,696 complaints reported in 2009 alone. Additionally, awards in sexual harassment complaints nearly doubled in recent years, to more than $325,000, on average, according to LRP Publications.
Employers simply cannot afford to ignore the threat of sexual harassment. How companies react to allegations of harassment is now more important than ever. It is crucial for organizations to take all harassment complaints seriously, investigate them quickly and take prompt remedial action. These actions help retain the good will of their employees, customers and the public, and they are critical for minimizing the risk of liability.
Here are some practical tips to help your company minimize sexual harassment harms:
- Training: Companies should conduct harassment training every year for all supervisors and managers.
- Harassment policy: Companies should review their anti-harassment policies every year.
- Lead by example: Executives and managers need to lead by example.
With the cost of defense of harassment claims easily entering into the six-figure range, sophisticated employers recognize that prevention is the best investment.
This article appeared in the November 1, 2010 issue of Columbia Regional Business Report.