Summary of Responsibilities
Legal and moral responsibilities exist for both employers and employees regarding harassment. The following information supplies detailed information on the responsibilities of each.
- Employers are liable for employee safety from harassment. The company must take reasonable care to prevent and reasonable care to quickly stop harassment.
- Employers are strongly encouraged to create a clear and effective grievance process and communicate harassment policies with all employees. Many companies require annual harassment training and signed acknowledgement of company harassment policies.
- Employers should create an environment where employees feel comfortable talking about concerns or questions. Employees should feel confident that they will be heard and that personal matters will be kept confidential.
- Employers must promptly investigate and correct acts of harassment. If employees do not trust the company to properly address incidents, they may simply contact the EEOC or file a lawsuit.
- Employers must protect employees from retaliation if someone comes forward to report harassment. An employee that has no faith in a company's ability to protect them after filing a complaint will suffer in silence, leave the company, or worse.
- Employees are responsible for treating each other with respect. Whether the employee is entry-level or the CEO, male or female, everyone follows the same rules and no one is allowed to harass another person or group.
- Employees are responsible for listening and adhering to another employee's reasonable request to stop a behavior. By ceasing the unwanted behavior immediately there is no need for escalation or negative consequences.
- Employees are not allowed to retaliate or treat other employees poorly for reporting harassment no matter what the situation may be. If an employee disagrees with the accusation and has proof they can meet with the representative managing the investigation. Under no circumstances do they address the victim or alter the workplace environment in any way.
- Employees must also help protect their fellow employee. If someone witnesses or is aware of any harassment behavior they must report it and help the victim or victims. Keeping quiet makes the individual an accomplice to the act.
Employees and Employers both have equally important responsibilities in creating and keeping a safe, harassment-free workplace. Understanding process rules helps prevent harassment and helps correct incidents quickly and effectively.