Texas employers know that a workplace harassment claim by an employee can be costly. If you are a business owner, a harassment claim can cause your business reputation to suffer and potentially result in the loss of customers or clients, affecting your bottom line.
There are many things you can do to reduce your chance of facing a harassment claim. Make it clear to your employees that harassment in any form will not be tolerated and that there will be serious consequences for engaging in harassment.
A good harassment policy can make a big difference
Have a solid harassment policy in place that clearly states that harassment is not tolerated. List the specific forms of harassment, such as harassment based on race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or gender identity.
Create a culture that makes employees feel comfortable about reporting harassment. Your harassment policy should explain how employees can report harassment and stress that their confidentiality will be protected.
Educating management on harassment
Encourage your management level employees to take harassment claims seriously and respond to them promptly.
Proper training is essential. Your management should be trained on the different types of harassment, how to prevent harassment and the proper steps to take if an employee reports harassment.
Let employees know they will not be penalized
In addition to your written harassment policy, it can help to have regular meetings where employees are reminded of the harassment policy and letting them know that they will not be punished for reporting an incident of harassment.
Taking these steps can help minimize conflict in your workplace and encourage your employees to report incidents of harassment so you can handle them appropriately.
Defending yourself against a harassment claim
There may come a time when an employee files a harassment claim, alleging that you did not do anything to stop the harassment. It is vital that you know how to respond to this, since litigation can be expensive and harmful to your business. Luckily, there are professionals who can help.