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How to Prevent Harassment in the Workplace

07/17/2018

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In the wake of the recent #MeToo movement, many employers are focusing more diligently on the prevention of harassment situations in their workplaces, while also addressing any harassment claims that may arise. The renewed attention on this important issue is needed, not just from a legal perspective but also from a human one.

So, what can employers and organizations do in advance to prevent potential workplace harassment issues? Here are some effective principles to know and apply, as well as a few helpful checklists to assist you in your efforts.

5 Core Principles for Preventing Workplace Harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently published a report that identified five core principles that it feels have generally proven effective in preventing and addressing workplace harassment. These include:

  1. Committed and engaged leadership;
  2. Consistent and demonstrated accountability;
  3. Strong and comprehensive harassment policies;
  4. Trusted and accessible complaint procedures; and 
  5. Regular, interactive training tailored to the audience and the organization.

4 Checklists for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Harassment

The report also includes four checklists, based on these principles, to assist employers in preventing and responding to harassment. Although these checklists and principles are not legal requirements under federal employment discrimination laws, they provide beneficial guidance for employers’ compliance efforts, while hopefully mitigating employers’ legal risk.

The four checklists address:

  • Leadership and Accountability—organization leadership must establish a culture of respect in which harassment is not tolerated
  • Anti-Harassment Policy—a key component of holistic harassment prevention efforts
  • Harassment Reporting System and Investigations—a reporting system that allows employees to file a report of any harassment they have experienced or observed and a process for undertaking investigations
  • Compliance Training—training regarding the employer’s policy, reporting systems, and investigations

How LBMC Employment Partners Can Help

Need some direction or assistance with establishing workplace harassment policies or training?

Connect with our team today to learn more about ways our team can help you prevent and address potential harassment issues in the work environment.