With the #MeToo movement taking center stage in much of the news, employers are finding themselves increasingly concerned about the potential for sexual harassment in their work environment. Since many employers are undereducated about the legal facts surrounding these charges, it's important that you familiarize yourself with the basics in order to protect your business and your employees. Here are a few things that you need to know.
Don't Dismiss Claims Based On Gender
Some employers are too quick to dismiss a sexual harassment complaint filed by a male victim or a claim that's focused on a female assailant. The widespread belief that only women can be victims of sexual harassment, paired with the belief that the only ones who can be guilty of such acts are men, has led to this common and costly mistake. Remember that any claim of sexual harassment needs to be treated seriously, no matter who is involved.
Don't Dismiss Claims Based On Hierarchy
Another common misconception about sexual harassment is that it can only occur as a result of actions from a supervisor to a subordinate. This isn't the case. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome advance or statement, no matter who it is coming from or directed to. In fact, sexual harassment claims don't even have to involve employees as both parties. If one of your employees makes a customer feel uncomfortable, or vice-versa, that is still a valid claim.
Don't Dismiss Indirect Claims
You might dismiss a claim that's filed by someone who wasn't actually the intended target of the statement or action in a wrongful assumption that sexual harassment claims can only be filed by the party directly involved in the situation. The truth is that a sexual harassment victim doesn't even have to be the person that the statement was made to or that the action was involving. If the incident made the individual feel uncomfortable, they have a valid reason to file a complaint.
Don't Dismiss Claims Because There Was No Measurable Loss
It's easy to assume that a claim is no big deal because the victim wasn't fired as part of the harassment, nor did they lose any form of compensation in the process. Don't fall into this trap of believing that there must be some form of loss for the claim to be valid. Sexual harassment claims don't require any form of monetary damage in the process of the harassment to be considered a valid claim.
If you have any reasons to be concerned about the potential for sexual harassment in your workplace, reach out to a sexual harassment attorney today for more information.