Developing a Harassment Policy: Tips for Small Business Owners
Having a harassment policy protects your employees from a hostile work environment and protects you from lawsuits. Small businesses need to have harassment policies in place in the same way that larger corporations do, and developing one is easier than you may think. It’s important to work with an employment law attorney in San Jose when you create your policy to ensure that you are not overlooking any important elements that it should include. These tips will help you make a policy that works for your company and your employees.
Explicitly State What Is Prohibited
Spell out in clear, straightforward terms which groups are protected from harassment . This language can include stating that harassment based on sex, race, color, religion, age, or disability will not be tolerated. It is important to identify all groups who are protected from harassment under federal, state, and local laws. Since these groups may vary depending on where you live, consult with a labor attorney in your area who is experienced in working with your local laws.
Create a Procedure for Complaints
Your policy should tell employees exactly how they can make complaints if they believe they have been harassed. It is helpful to have one person who is not directly responsible for supervising an employee who can take these complaints. For instance, you may wish to state that any manager can take a harassment complaint. State that employees will not be protected from retaliation for making a complaint or cooperating in a harassment investigation and that the employee’s confidentiality will be protected as much as possible.
Make a Response Plan
Your harassment policy should also describe how managers should respond to complaints and provide a timeline for harassment investigations. Clearly define the consequences for harassing employees. Your plan should also include a framework for keeping the employee who made the complaint up to date with the investigation and any action taken against the person who violated the policy.