How employers can educate employees on sexual harassment

Regular training related to sexual harassment may help employees remain familiar with their rights, the prohibited conduct and the discipline procedures.

Sexual harassment can be a major problem for Texas workplaces. Employers often try to create an environment that discourages any type of pestering. Yet they try to encourage victims to come forward if they feel they are being mistreated by a customer, coworker or supervisor. Because this topic can be hard to deal with, it might be hard for victims to feel comfortable coming forward. Employers can best serve their workers by making sure everyone is aware of the company's sexual harassment policy.

Explain employees' rights

When a person feels they are being mistreated by someone within the company structure, it is important they understand what they can do to make the unwelcome advances stop. Every business may have slightly different rights for their employees. An example of what a person can do when he or she is feeling sexually harassed includes the following:

  • Report the issue to a direct supervisor or a responsible department official.
  • File a grievance against the wrongdoer.
  • Go through mediation to resolve the issue.
  • End direct communication with the offending person.

When a worker understands what he or she is able to do, it is easier to feel empowered enough to get out of an unwanted situation.

Define sexual harassment

Employers need to make sure everyone is on the same page by clearly defining the conduct that is prohibited. For example, some people may not realize that telling lewd jokes at a person's expense could be considered sexual harassment. Human resource officers should make sure all employees know promising a raise for sexual favors is just as much of a misconduct as attempting to grab a person's body.

Review discipline procedures

Finally, employers can make sure everyone completely understands the policies by going over any discipline procedures that would take place in the event of a sexual misconduct allegation. Typically, the discipline procedures start with an investigation. Employees involved in a harassment case, whether the victim or the perpetrator, may be suspended or have their hours changed, for a short time during the investigation. If a person is found guilty of sexual harassment, he or she may face a variety of consequences ranging from a written reprimand to a termination. Depending on the extent of the interactions, a person guilty of sexual misconduct at work may have to face consequences at a criminal or civil level as well.

Texas workers need to fully understand the procedures and policies that surround sexual harassment in the workplace. It may be beneficial for anyone dealing with an uncomfortable situation in the workplace to work with an attorney who is familiar with this type of employment law case.