Sexual Harassment is a challenge for every business to prevent. Even though the laws have been on the books for some time (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), we continue to see major cases of sexual harassment in the news.
What is Sexual Harassment?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is "Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment." It really depends on the individual. What one person finds offensive, may not be the same for someone else. This makes it even more important for employers to constantly train their employees about what behavior is appropriate at the work place and what is not and that those guidelines are followed by ALL employees, especially owners and supervisors.
Sexual Harassment usually occurs in one of two ways;
Quid Pro Quo - One person is asked to do something that they do not want to do, but participates anyway, out of fear of losing a job, not getting a promotion etc.
Hostile Work Environment- being around a situation where you are made to feel uncomfortable or intimidated because of someone else's unwelcomed behavior.
Remember, the harasser does not necessarily have to be an employee or supervisor. Customers, vendors or visitors to the business can also create these situations.
Establish a Policy
A company must establish a formal Sexual Harassment Prevention policy. The policy should be very clear as to what behaviors will not be tolerated. It should also inform employee on what to do if a situation occurs and it should have a statement regarding how retaliation will not be tolerated should an employee file a complaint. This policy should be included in the company's Employee Manual
Once the policy is established, employees should be trained. Supervisors must be well versed on the rules and make sure that the policy is implemented consistently with all employees.
Our Agency Can Help Protect Your Business
First, if you don't have a Sexual Harassment Policy, we have the tools and the resources to help you create or update a policy for your company.
Second, your business should consider purchasing and Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy. Typically, an EPLI policy is the only way to insured against such allegation since these exposures are excluded under other types of coverage.
Our Agency represents many carriers who provide EPLI insurance, so we can find the policy that is right for you at extremely competitive prices.
Just give us a call at (806) 763-7311 and we would be glad to help your company.
Want more information on how we can help your Business? Check out our Business Insurance page.
EEOC resource links
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