Key Components of a Harassment Policy
Attorney L. Reed Bloodworth is the managing partner of Bloodworth Law, with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Winter Haven, Florida.
At Bloodworth Law, our team handles employment law services for clients across Florida and can work with you remotely, via Zoom video conference, or in the office with the appropriate safety measures taken to protect you as we help you with your legal needs.
What are the Key Components of a Harassment Policy?
Here’s a look at some of the key components of a harassment policy. Start by creating a clear harassment policy protection.
A harassment policy has to make it clear that harassment on the basis of any protected class or status is unlawful.
Most good harassment policies will include all the various protected classes. They include:
Race, national origin and color, which are related, but not the same thing.
It includes sex. And within the concept of sex is sexual orientation, as well as gender identity. And it also includes age and disability.
There are some other protected classes under some other laws, but those are the major classes.
Create a Clear Policy That Discrimination is Not Accepted
A harassment policy has to clearly describe that that sort of discrimination or harassment based on those characteristics is against company policy.
A good harassment policy will define what constitutes harassment and it will list examples.
So for example, continuous unwanted solicitation for dates, sexual advances, touching, that sort of thing, should be included within it.
Create a Clear Way to File a Complaint
A good harassment policy will also give the employee a clear way in which to file a harassment complaint. Sometimes even specifically naming the individual or individuals to whom a complaint of harassment can be addressed. But, it will also make it clear that there is no specific required way to make that complaint.
But, it will not, for example, say that the employee has to submit a complaint in writing to this person.
Instead, it will say, “Anyone can make a complaint of harassment. If you would like to make a complaint of harassment, you may contact this person to do so.”
Clear Policy for a Harassment Complaint
The policy will have an alternate way of making a complaint if that person or department is the reason the employee is complaining.
So, for example, if it says the company’s vice president is the person you should go to, then the policy should also have a provision in there that says what to do if the company’s vice president is the issue.
Umbrella Harassment Policy
There should be a harassment policy that is considered in the context of a larger discrimination or anti-discrimination policy. So, it won’t only prohibit harassment, it will also prevent discrimination.
The Best Harassment Policies are Stricter Than the Law
The best harassment policies are stricter than the law. In other words, there ought to be things that would not necessarily rise to the level of harassment under the law, but nonetheless would violate your company’s policy. It would be appropriate to make your company policy more strict than the law requires without saying why.
As an employer, you may have questions about how to protect your business from the challenges arising from harassment claims. Some questions to consider are:
—Have you updated your corporate handbook to include the latest employment laws?
—Have you reviewed your employee and contractor contracts and job descriptions? And,
—Do you regularly consult with an employment lawyer to ensure that the rules recently put forth by your human resources staff, comply with Florida employment laws?
The Employment Law Team at Bloodworth Law is ready to assist with these and any other issues you may face.
Reed Bloodworth is managing partner of Bloodworth Law. Talk with Reed and the Employment Law Team about how Bloodworth Law can help you, your employees and your business.Consider sharing this post