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By LegalEdge News

Sexual harassment: how to avoid workplace claims and protect your business

Sadly, sexual harassment is still prevalent in many areas of society and, as the #MeToo movement has shown, across many different types of workplaces.

The term “sexual harassment” covers a wide variety of behaviours, some of which might not be immediately obvious as areas of concern, such as comments about dress or appearance and general office banter or teasing. There are also situations where the risk of a sexual harassment claim is heightened, for example, at work socials or where there is a personal relationship going on between staff.

Fast growing businesses need to ensure that they nurture the right conditions within their working environments to prevent sexual harassment. A culture of zero tolerance towards harassment and discrimination is a good start.

Also, litigation involving sexual harassment is not only a potential PR disaster, it is expensive, likely to suck up large amounts of management time and negatively affect staff morale and possibly recruitment.

But, even the most progressive employer may occasionally find itself dealing with a complaint of sexual harassment from one of its staff; there are some important things which it can do to be in the best position to defend any such legal claim.

Have a good suite of policies in place.

Training, training, training.

Policies are meaningless if the workforce isn’t aware of them.

Keep it current.

Make it your job to detect harassment.

Make it simple for staff to report concerns.

Deal with harassment complaints sympathetically, efficiently and effectively.

We regularly help our clients draft and review their harassment and discrimination policies and deliver high quality training to ensure staff understand those policies. Our bespoke training looks at what is acceptable behaviour, how policies on equality, anti-harassment and anti-bullying work, give examples of how things can go wrong and consider why this matters.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss our training packages.

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