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November 2020  Volume 18, Number 11        

Taking #MeToo Allegations Seriously

Even though employers and human relations departments discourage sexual harassment in the workplace, the #MeToo movement has highlighted the need for employers to show that they understand the problem and are creating a culture that holds perpetrators accountable.

It's no longer enough to just show anti-harassment videos and distribute flyers. Human resource departments need to enact procedures that make clear what is acceptable and what is to be done if someone crosses the line. Those steps and procedures should include:

  • Conducting a Risk Assessment: Examine your organization and identify any possible problem areas. If an allegation goes to court, it's important to be able to demonstrate it is an isolated incident, not a systemic problem.
  • Establishing a Zero-Tolerance Mentality: While it's important for your employees to be aware of your company’s position on sexual harassment in the workplace, it's even more important for people in leadership positions to model the behavior they expect from others.
  • Establishing Reporting Procedures: Don't limit to just managers or supervisors the people who employees can report problems to, since these could be the individuals who should be investigated. Other options include human resources, the CEO, the president or the company owner.
  • Following Up on Gossip: Investigate rumors that sexual harassment is occurring — even if no formal complaint is filed.
  • Explaining the Limitations of Confidentiality: Employees may want their complaint to be kept confidential, but HR staff needs to explain information will be kept confidential only to the extent possible. HR is bound by law to pursue allegations, such as sexual harassment, the details of which may become available to the public.
  • Consulting with an Attorney: The services of an attorney will help ensure the situation is being managed fairly and that the case is being properly documented.
  • Holding Individuals Accountable: Someone who is found to have committed sexual harassment must be held accountable for their actions. If not, employees will think that this behavior is tolerated.

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In this issue:

IRS Announces 401(k) Contribution Limits for 2021

Pandemic Puts Pressure on Workers

Have an HDHP? Fill in the Gaps With HI

How to Thwart Identity Theft in the Workplace

Taking #MeToo Allegations Seriously



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