Nov 12

Avoid Sexual Harassment Suits (Part I)

By law, you don't have to have a sexual harassment policy, but it is definitely a good idea. A sexual harassment suit can wreak havoc on your business, even if it turns out to be unjustified.

First, make sure that you and your employees are clear as to the definition of sexual harassment. Unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature qualify as acts of sexual harassment, especially when these actions affect someone's employment, interfere with someone's work performance or create an uncomfortable work environment.

Both men and women can be victims or offenders, and victim and offender need not be of opposite sexes. The harasser doesn't have to be a superior but can be a supervisor, an agent of the employer, a co-worker or even a non-employee.

Furthermore, the victim does not even have to be harassed directly. Anyone offended by someone else's conduct can claim to be sexually harassed.