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3 Strategies for Handling Workplace Sexual Harassment in New York

January 7, 2019
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Everyone has the right to a safe work environment. Not only does New York have laws for dealing with sexual harassment, but you’ll want your business’ work environment to be as safe and secure as possible. Before your employees accept their responsibilities in providing a safe environment, management is going to have to take the lead. Here are three steps you can take to get a handle on preventing sexual harassment and discrimination in your workplace.

1. Create a Company-Wide Sexual Harassment Policy

A lot of people don’t understand what sexual harassment looks like, how it can be prevented, and who to tell if it happens. To prevent any confusion and under New York law, you’ll need to create a harassment prevention policy for your employees, spelling out clearly what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. Because the definition of harassment can be confusing, spell everything out in black and white. Harassment comprises a range of actions such as lewd and unwanted jokes; clothing bearing offensive language; or, touching and grabbing around the waist, shoulders, back. Showing sexually suggestive photos, videos, or objects to co-workers is also unacceptable. There are other examples as well, but it’s important that the list of unacceptable behaviors is comprehensive with as few gray areas as possible. Within the policy, it’s also important that you spell out a clear and concise means of reporting sexual harassment and emphasize that such behavior won’t be tolerated.

2. Sexual Harassment Training

The policy is merely the start. To drive the point home, you’ll need to put your employees through a sexual harassment training course. California, Delaware, Connecticut, Maine, and other states—as well as New York—have mandated that employers provide harassment prevention education to their employees. To keep the subject matter fresh in everyone’s mind, it’s recommended to hold training sessions twice a year. Also, it’s important that you provide training that is relevant, well designed and professional. Train your managers as well, so they’ll know how to handle any complaints that they should receive.

3. Take Complaints Seriously

Sadly, it’s all too common for even companies with comprehensive sexual harassment policies to be unresponsive once they get a complaint. Regardless of who is named in a complaint, take it seriously and avoid any retaliation. You’ll need to set your personal feelings aside and act as impartially as possible in order to resolve the complaint.

You’ll need to carefully monitor your workplace to look for signs of inappropriate behavior. The more supportive and transparent you are with your employees, the easier it will be for them to report incidents of sexual harassment. At the same time, the increased visibility of an authority figure can also help prevent unwanted advances from taking place to begin with. Before setting up your own company’s program, you’ll want to research online sexual harassment training in Delaware, California, New York, or wherever your company is located. There’s no sense in delaying something so important, so get started today. Give Impact Compliance Training a call to request a free course trial.

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