Sexual harassment policies and procedures lacking in small businesses

There are many different types of discriminatory practices that happen within the walls of workplaces all across the country. Today, however, sexual harassment is one of the most frequent forms of discrimination-even despite anti-discrimination legislation passed during the last several decades. It's likely because it has evolved into an ever-expanding gray area. No longer is sexual harassment simply defined as, for instance, the obvious and inappropriate female groping.

And because of this, many large employers have taken proactive measures to define these gray areas and have created a comprehensive sexual harassment policy that is spelled out in the company's employment manual.

However, the latest trend indicates smaller businesses have come up short in taking action to mitigate sexual harassment within the workplace. Data reveals that many small employers today many not understand enough or may be simply apathetic.

But smaller entities, along with Fortune 500 companies, are still mandated by law to prohibit and discourage sexual harassment on their premises.

Creating a streamlined sex harassment policy is the first step.

Creating a workplace sexual harassment policy

Experts advise small businesses put in place a written policy and procedures manual on sexual harassment that outline these basic premises:

  • Define the law and provide examples: Within the policy, small businesses should first define the law against sex harassment in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Second, they should explain the two main sexual harassment instances as well as the different types of common and uncommon examples of both.
  • Create a procedure: Small employers should also create a company procedure the business will follow in the event of a sexual harassment claim including the steps employees should take to report an incident, and disciplinary penalties, among others.

Along with specifics of the law and procedural actions, small business are also encouraged to offer training or seminars to supervisors, managers, owners and employees on the policies and procedures outlined in the manual and the particular types of activities that are prohibited.

Further, small employers should take steps to make sure employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns. All employees should understand that any claims they make will be kept strictly confidential and that there will be no negative repercussions or retaliation as a result of making a claim.

Consulting with an employment discrimination attorney

If you work at a small enterprise and have questions or concerns about particular sexual harassment employment discrimination practices, consulting with an experienced employment law attorney who has vital knowledge of the law is advised. Your lawyer can offer advice as it pertains to your situation.