In October 2017, twelve women came forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault and rape. This sparked the nationwide #MeToo movement, and before long, similar accusations were splattered across the headlines. While these women have addressed an issue in Hollywood, they have brought light to a problem we have with society as a whole.
As all of this comes to the surface it’s a good time to review your company or organization’s sexual harassment policy. This applies to everyone from nonprofits and churches to nanny agencies and large corporations. Even “mom ‘n’ pop shops” need to have a policy in place. According to NPR, #MeToo complaints have skyrocketed and are overwhelming HR professionals. When asked, 100 percent of them said they are dealing with some type of sexual harassment claim at the moment. Could you imagine dealing with these claims without some sort of policy and procedure in place?
A sexual harassment policy protects employees from abuse and exploitation. It also protects the company from liability suits through promoting an open-door approach and having official processes in place for handling claims of sexual harassment.
So what should be in your sexual harassment policy? Our friends at SHRM have given some pretty good guidelines of what you should include:
- An explanation of equal opportunity employment
- Anti-retaliation statement
- Defining both harassment and sexual harassment specifically
- Who and what behavior falls under the policy
- How to report an incident
- What happens after the report has been made
You should also have a form you use for investigation. We’ve use some other guidelines from SHRM to create this form to help you document the complaint and the company’s findings.
SHRM has some additional tools and resources for its members to us in navigating sexual harassment policies and claims. If you have any questions or concerns, please always reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.