In recent years, sexual harassment has gained a substantial amount of attention through initiatives such as the #MeToo movement. Victims feel more empowered to come forward to stop this type of behavior, and they expect their employers to take their claims seriously.
While you want to make sure that your employees do not have to tolerate this type of behavior, you also want to protect your business from any potential litigation. The federal government and the state of Florida require you, as an employer, to take certain steps to prevent sexual harassment, to investigate any claimsthat may arise and take the appropriate action if evidence of harassment exists.
The importance of an investigation
In addition to making sure your business has clear policies and procedures and conducts training for all employees, including managers and supervisors, the best thing you can do to protect your business is make sure to conduct an investigation into every claim of sexual harassment. Below are some of the reasons why the investigation is such an important part of the process:
- How your business reacts to allegations of sexual harassment gives your employees an indication of what you expect from them and what they can expect from you in these situations.
- You will want to avoid your employees thinking that you do not take their issues seriously, so you will probably want to make sure the response to a sexual harassment claim is timely.
- You want those who work for you to know that you will not tolerate this type of behavior.
- You may want to consider making sure your sexual harassment policies are posted around the workplace and that training is repeated periodically in order to make sure everyone understands the policies.
It is vital that your company keeps meticulous records of training and dissemination of your policies to all employees. Further, complete and accurate records of any complaint will come in handy should an employee decide to take legal action against your company. The more documentation you have regarding your efforts to resolve the situation, the more likely it is that your company will come through any legal action with its reputation intact. It may also help avoid costly legal expenses that could interfere with your business’s success.
If you do end up facing litigation in the aftermath of a sexual harassment claim, it would be beneficial to seek out the experience and support of an attorney to increase the odds of achieving the best outcome possible under the circumstances.