Best practices against harassment cases at the workplace.
Regardless of what industry you work in, there is a chance your business may someday be sued for harassment. In fact, roughly 30% of the cases brought to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are related to harassment of some kind.
While you may have created a safe, comfortable working environment for your employees, you never know when a supervisor, manager, or co-worker will act inappropriately. With that in mind, here are 4 steps you can take to protect your employees, your business, and your financial stability.
1. Company Policies:
Prevention is by far the best method for protecting your business from harassment cases. Past studies have shown that companies with a complete harassment policy and proper training are far less likely to be sued for harassment.
The first and most important step you can take to protect your business from harassment lawsuits is to create a well-defined company policy that clearly prohibits harassment and other disruptive behavior. Make sure everyone on the team, from the highest-ranking executive to the newest ground-level employee, understands this policy. This policy should outline the types of behavior your company won’t tolerate and inform your employees on how to properly file a complaint. This policy should almost always be in writing and distributed to all of your employees.
2. Mandatory Training:
To make sure that your team complies with the harassment policy, you should also use a thorough training process. Through this training, make it clear that harassment of any form is not tolerated, and that your company will deal with issues in a swift and effective manner. Depending on the location where you operate, harassment training may be required by law, so make sure you are informed on the laws in your area. There are many techniques you can use for training, including group discussions, videos, power point presentations, and more.
3. Faragher/Ellerth Affirmative Defense:
We won’t go too deep into the specifics of court procedures here, but just know that the Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense is a tool that employers can use to protect themselves from liability in a harassment case. To take advantage of this defense, employers must prove that they used reasonable care to prevent and correct the harassment and the accusing employee did not use the preventative measures provided by the employer.
4. Employee Practices Liability Insurance:
Even the most thorough policies and the best company training can’t completely protect your business from harassment suits. That’s why Employment Practices Liability Insurance, also known as EPLI, may be very important for your business. With this insurance, certain expenses related to a harassment suit can be covered by your insurance provider. They are helpful for harassment cases, but they can also protect your business from cases involving discrimination, wrongful termination, defamation, and more. Make sure you talk with an experienced professional who can assess your business needs and give you an honest recommendation on EPLI.
Keep these ideas in mind, and you’ll have less harassment issues in the future, you’ll also be better prepared to deal with them. Avante Insurance offers Employee Practices Liability Insurance to make sure your are fully protected. Contact us today for further details.