Companies with strong personnel policies may reduce the risks of sexual harassment complaints. As described by the Society of Human Resource Management, harassment policies generally define misconduct and how employees may report it.
Employment documents could outline specific actions that classify as sexual harassment or misconduct. Physically assaulting an employee, for example, may include unwanted touching or grabbing. Telling lewd jokes or commenting on someone’s sexuality could qualify as harassment.
Outlining how and when to submit complaints
When a policy describes those incidents that represent sexual harassment, employees could put a stop to them. An employee dealing with a coworker’s inappropriate actions may put an end to it by calling out the unwanted behavior. The employee may also decide to submit a written complaint to the human resources department.
A policy may include instructions on how aggrieved employees should document offenses and then report them. A company document may explain how management addresses complaints such as by conducting an internal investigation or questioning witnesses. A policy document could also include details regarding how the HR department handles the results of harassment investigations.
Defusing hostile work environments and preventing retaliation
Some employees may choose to put up with harassment. As reported by the Denver Post, Colorado employees no longer need to suffer repeated incidents before taking action. Not reporting harassment could allow the misconduct to fester and lead to a hostile work environment. Supervisors who fire or demote employees in retaliation for complaining may face allegations of employment law violations.
Colorado law regarding sexual harassment forbids misconduct even when it occurs as an isolated incident. Employment policies may include information about how to prevent issues from escalating and what to do if they occur.