Harassment is illegal, and no one should tolerate it. Both federal and California law specifically prohibit harassment on the basis of an employee’s age, race, sex, religion or other protective characteristics, like physical disability. The law also protects workers against retaliation for reporting misconduct.
Nevertheless, harassment still exists despite the law. How can employers in California limit the possibility of a harassment claim?
1. Proactive training
There are certain forms of training, like sexual harassment training, which are mandatory under California state law. Every employee should receive basic sexual harassment training when starting a new job and then every two years.
More involved and expansive anti-harassment education programs may be a smart investment for an employer. Carefully defining harassment and training workers to not engage in harassment will be part of a company’s defense against harassment claims.
2. Safe reporting options
Having an anti-harassment policy at your company does little good if workers can’t actually ask for protection. By having a clear policy in your employee handbook that explains how to report harassment through management or human resources, your organization limits the likelihood that someone can allege they had no way to report the harassment safely to the company.
3. Careful records and a commitment to investigating
It is important to be thorough in documenting a worker’s complaint of harassment and how the matter was investigated and handled. That way, whether the company substantiates or disproves the claim, there will be documentation affirming the investigation process and proper handling of the complaint.
Businesses that have thorough anti-harassment policies and proper training, not just for their workers but also for management and human resources, can ensure a more appropriate response to allegations of harassment. This helps reduce the risk of the company facing legal action over a failure to intervene and protect a worker. Addressing your potential vulnerabilities as an employer can help you limit your organization’s risks for future claims by staff members.