Employers in Texas, and throughout the U.S., have a responsibility to protect their employees. This includes ensuring that workplace does not become hostile or uncomfortable as a result of sexual harassment. At The Jackson Law Firm, we understand how allowing sexual harassment to occur unchecked in your workplace can result in decreased productivity, low employee morale and costly employment litigation.
In general, sexual harassment occurs when one employee makes persistent, unwelcome sexual advances towards another worker, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Furthermore, requests for sexual favors from employees against their wishes or displaying sexually explicit images may also be considered sexual harassment. So too can other physical and verbal conduct that is sexual in nature. Often, this type of harassment includes a connection between sexual activity and benefits, promotions and employment reviews.
One of the most important steps that you can take as an employer to prevent sexual harassment in your workplace is to establish a clear sexual harassment policy. Such policies should thoroughly define this type of harassment and clearly specify that this behavior will not be tolerated. Additionally, it can be helpful to include your procedure for filing complaints and the potential consequences.
Beyond establishing and implementing policies, training can also be a useful tool for keeping sexual harassment out of your workplace. Managers and supervisors should be educated at least once a year about this type of harassment and how to handle complaints. Employees should also complete annual training that educates them about what sexual harassment is and the complaint procedure. It is generally best if these training sessions are completed separately.
By carefully monitoring your workplace, you may be better able to stay on top of preventing sexual harassment. This includes regularly talking with your employees about their work environment, as well as discussing what is going on with your managers and supervisors. Additionally, it can be important to look around the workplace for yourself to check for offensive posters, pictures or notes.
In order to encourage your employees to file complaints when sexual harassment occurs, it is important for you to take all complaints seriously. It is best to immediately investigate such complaints and to respond quickly and effectively should a complaint be validated.
For more information about sexual harassment in the workplace, please visit our employment and labor litigation page.