How to Create a Clear Harassment Policy in Your Workplace - Hackstaff, Snow, Atkinson & Griess, LLC

How to Create a Clear Harassment Policy in Your Workplace

workplace harassment policy

Creating a policy around workplace harassment may not be high on an employer’s to-do list. There may be the temptation to cut and paste a policy from another employer and be done with it. However, this common shortcut can leave your business exposed to serious liability issues in the future. Instead, your harassment policy should be a measured and considered approach meant to foster a positive work environment and protect your business from harm. 

See the Problem from the Ground Up 

When thinking about your harassment policy, think about the issue from the perspective of an employee facing the issue. How can such an employee report the harassment? Who should receive the report? Who should investigate the report? How will the employee know that the report is being taken seriously? 

It is generally a good idea to have a designated party, preferably one not in the reporting employee’s chain of command, responsible for receiving harassment complaints. Employees need to feel confident that reports will not subject them to illegal retaliation. Reports should be confidential.  

The response to a report should be professional, prompt, and thorough. Problems arise when employees are left in the dark, as well as when complaints are ignored. 

See the Problem From the Top Down 

The skill to investigate or respond to a harassment allegation is not innate. Managers, Human Resource personnel, and others need proper training on responding to harassment allegations. A well-structured policy can avoid confusion, delay, and errors that lead to legal expenses down the road.  

Harassment claims are uncomfortable. There is a strong human impulse to ignore or dismiss things that make people uncomfortable. A defined harassment policy, including timelines and accountability benchmarks, can help overcome that human tendency.  

A complaint that receives a timely response with due diligence can stop an issue from getting out of hand. Harassment left to linger over time can lead to serious issues in your workplace. 

Documentation Is Key 

Your policy should not come as a surprise to the reporting employee or management at any level. The policy should be documented and easy for employees to access. When everyone is clear on the rules, they are less likely to break them. 

Contact Us to Learn More About Creating an Effective Harassment Policy 

At Hackstaff Snow Atkinson & Griess, LLC, our attorneys have substantial experience helping businesses. We can guide you through the process of creating a harassment policy that serves the needs of your workplace. Reach out to our legal team to discuss your situation.