As a business, a sexual harassment claim can be disastrous for your finances and your brand. Even if you are victorious in the end, any press that is generated could make it difficult to hire the best employees in the future and can have an impact on how your customers and potential customers see your brand. One way to avoid some of these issues is to ensure all your staff are educated about what sexual harassment is so you don’t have supervisors or others engaging in such behavior.
Sometimes, cases of sexual harassment are fairly blatant. Firing or demoting employees because they refused to provide sexual favors or to engage in sexual relationships is one of these types of situations. Other times, actions might appear to walk the line. A supervisor who has a close and friendly relationship with his or her staff can inadvertently cross the line with inappropriate comments or jokes without even realizing it. This is why education about these matters is important to protecting your business.
While you are educating staff about sexual harassment, don’t forget to include information about other forms of discrimination and harassment. Human resource decisions such as hiring, firing, demoting, promoting or giving a raise should never be made — at any level — by using information such as gender, sexuality, age or race.
By providing appropriate and ongoing education to your staff, you can help prevent harassment and discrimination from occurring in your workplace. Since you can’t control what every person does every minute of the day, issues can still occur. If your company is involved in such a case, seeking early assistance from an experienced professional can help you protect your interests while cooperating within the law in Michigan.
Source: Michigan Department of Civil Rights, “Sexual and Other Forms of Discriminatory Harassment,” accessed March 04, 2016