It’s easy to focus only on the positive when you recruit someone, telling them what a wonderful place it is to work. Yet, highlighting your anti-harassment policies from the outset is also a positive, even if it might not appear that way.
Harassment lawsuits from employees can divide a workforce and disrupt productivity. The best way to tackle this is to make sure there are no issues for them to be upset with in the first place. Then, when there are issues, make it simple for workers to highlight them, and ensure you take appropriate action.
Let a new worker know that you will not tolerate harassment. Let them know what they should do if they see or experience it, and back up what you say via your employee handbook and training sessions.
Why highlight an issue that might not occur?
Talking about harassment from the outset achieves two things:
- It warns employees not to do it: If you constantly remind people of the standards you expect and the consequences of not meeting them, they are less likely to stray.
- It protects you if it does happen to that employee: Someone makes a lewd comment toward the new worker. She remembers what you said about the importance of reporting it and goes straight to the person you told her to. They call the guilty party into their office and issue them a warning. The new worker feels confident that you have her back and are serious about stamping out workplace harassment.
Employees are often afraid to report harassment because they fear their employer will ignore them or retaliate against them. Showing you are different from the outset makes it less likely an unhappy employee will take you to court.