How to Avoid a #MeToo Claim
This article appeared in the "Consult the Counsel" special advertising section in the Orlando Business Journal on February 23, 2018.
The #MeToo movement has empowered many women (and men) to speak out about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Smart businesses should act now to address these issues by taking all of the following steps:
- Create a culture of respect, where all employees are valued and where all employees feel safe. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
- Prepare a well-written policy prohibiting unlawful harassment. Specific examples of improper conduct can be helpful to include in the policy.
- Train all employees on the policy, including upper management. Training should be informative, effective, and not boring.
- Promptly and thoroughly investigate any claimed or suspected instances of prohibited harassment.
- Do not take any retaliatory action against a complaining employee.
- Take prompt appropriate action in response to an investigation. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that any harassment does not continue.
A good employment attorney or experienced HR professional, who can assist with all of the above steps, can also be a shrewd investment.