Checklist for a Harassment Free
Employers are liable for harassment by a employees that results in a negative employment action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages. To minimize the risk of an employee committing harassment, it is important for employers to make sure that employees know what is (and isn't) acceptable behavior. Employers should ensure their workplaces are places where fairness and responsible behavior are encouraged.
Harassment and bullying in the workplace lower employee morale, absenteeism, reduced productivity, turnover, loss of corporate reputation, damages, and legal liability. Employers should not tolerate will not tolerate behavior that could be viewed as harassment or bullying of other workers/customers/clients.
Employers can avoid liability only if they can prove that: 1) they reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior; and 2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.
Employers can work towards creating workplaces free from harassment by implementing the following steps:
Create a Policy against Harassment / Bullying
The policy should:
- Define harassment and bullying
- Give examples of inappropriate conduct and conduct that may be appropriate
- Include federal, state, and local statutes
- Include a complaint form
- Outline the complaint procedure
- State that harassment and bullying will not be tolerated and actions may be taken against those committing these acts as well as managers/supervisors who knowingly permit these acts to occur
Train Employees on the Policy
Conduct interactive harassment and bullying prevention training with all employees. Offer the training at least once a year.
Promote a Work Environment Free from Harassment and Bullying
Do not tolerate harassment or bullying in the workplace. Train employees.
Report Allegations to HR or the Appropriate Authority
Employees and supervisors should report any harassment or bullying they observe. Supervisors are responsible for any harassment they should have known about. Employees and supervisors may be subject to discipline for failing to report harassment and bullying.
Take Immediate Action to Investigate the Allegations
Conduct a confidential investigation. Gather relevant documentation, emails, texts, or other work products. Interview the accuser, accused, and witnesses.
Do not Retaliate Against the Acuser
Employees may be subject to discipline for retaliating against others.
Seek Resolution and Document Actions Taken
Take Corrective Action as Needed