If you are the owner of a business and are concerned about your liability if an employee files a sexual harassment complaint, then you are right to be concerned. A single badly-behaving employee can do serious damage to your business and you could find yourself in the middle of an expensive lawsuit. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to protect your business from this fate.
Here are some sexual harassment lawyer-approved tips for protecting your business from liability in the case that an employee files a lawsuit against you or one of your employees:
Tip: Make Sexual Harassment Training Part of Onboarding All Employees
Every person your business hires should be required to attend either an in-person or online sexual harassment course. This training will teach your employees about what behaviors constitute sexual harassment and what behaviors do not. Additionally, they will instruct your employees about how to report inappropriate behavior and help them understand that there will not be any retaliation if they report a problem. This training will also reduce your liability because you can show the courts that you care about this problem and have taken steps to avoid it.
Tip: Make a "No Tolerance" Policy for Inappropriate Jokes and Conversations Between Coworkers
If you do not already have one in place, your company needs a written "No Tolerance" policy against inappropriate jokes and conversations between employees. The policy should outline inappropriate behaviors so that everyone working for you clearly understands what is appropriate behavior. Every employee should sign the policy and you should strictly enforce it. As with training your new employees on this topic, a written policy is another sign in a court case that the business owner cares about the issue and is working to prevent it.
Tip: Avoid Alcohol at Staff Parties and Holiday Gatherings
Finally, as an employer, you should always avoid having alcohol at events and parties where coworkers will be celebrating together. Even the best-behaved employees may not behave quite so well after they have been drinking, and this can open your business up to a variety of legal liabilities. While it is fun for your staff to celebrate and party with co-workers, it isn't so fun when your company ends up in the middle of a sexual harassment suit or someone gets a DUI. To prevent liability for your company, it's always best to have sober events.