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Sexual harassment during business travel: It's a problem

Many companies send employees away on trips. From tradeshows to meetings with clients, this happens on a regular basis across almost every industry.

While there is nothing wrong with this, as business travel has been common for many years, there is something to consider: the potential for sexual harassment.

When male and female employees travel together, there is always the chance of sexual harassment. This doesn't happen often, but it is something to keep in mind.

If a person feels he or she was sexually harassed on a business trip, it is imperative that the conduct be reported to the appropriate party, typically the HR department. From there, it is the company's responsibility to gather more information and take immediate action with regard to an investigation.

Here are some things to consider while the investigation takes place:

-- The harasser and victim should not have any contact.

-- All complaints, regardless of the party, should be taken seriously and added to the investigation in the appropriate manner.

-- Don't make any rash decisions, such as allowing an employee to work under a boss who was accused of harassment.

As an employee, you have the right to go on business trips without any fear of being harassed. If you find yourself in a bad position, tell the other person you are not interested. From there, don't wait to report the behavior to the HR department.

You have rights as an employee, and these often extend beyond the four walls of the office. Sexual harassment during business travel can and does happen.

Source: HR.com, "When Employees Don't Pack Their Inhibitions for Business Trips," accessed Dec. 09, 2015

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